Her ring tone is the endearing ‘My Heart is Beating’. South Indian legend Lakshmi blazed the screen with the Hindi film Julie where she played the simple Catholic girl who becomes an unwed mother. A remake of her own unconventional role from the Malayalam original – Chattakaari. Several decades and several awards later she looks back at her career with pride, humility and humour. Manju Ramanan chats up with the doyen of South Indian cinema.
Do you consider yourself a rebel in the era you started working?
I did films I liked and the characters that came my way including that of an unwed mother. While Chattakari was well appreciated, it had a very simple look while Julie wore make up.
Sridevi played my younger sister in the film. I was also offered Roti but the late Manmohan Desai’s only condition was that the actress be not married. The role was earlier offered to Dimple Kapadia who had shot some scenes but was married to Rajesh Khanna soon and had quit films. When the role came my way, I told the director that I promise you that I won’t get married during the making of the film or get pregnant (because I was already divorced and a mother of my first child) during the making of the film. Needless to say, I didn’t do the film. In 1986, Mr Desai visited the veteran actor Madhu in Cochin at the Volga Palace, where I was shooting too. We ran into each other and we ran into each other and shared a laugh at that memory.
More of this interview in the July edition of Filmfare Middle East.