MADHURI DIXIT NENE IS A WOMAN FOR ALL SEASONS, WRITES RAGHUVENDRA SINGH
To say I’m her biggest fanboy won’t be an exaggeration. To say the whole nation is still ga-ga over the dhak-dhak girl won’t be a hyperbole either. They say women mature with age like wine and that’s certainly true in Madhuri Dixit Nene’s case. She makes the mere act of pouring water in a glass feel like a ballet. You feel like a deer caught in the headlights of an approaching car when you interview her because everything about her is so mesmerising. You begin to understand why the late MF Hussain was so besotted by her. Her husband must be a man of iron will to remain unfazed despite living with a goddess. The indeﬁnable diva refuses to be slotted and is forever reinventing herself. Read on to know what rocks her world…
You’re growing younger each day…
(Laughs) Thank you for the compliment. Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. I just try to keep myself fit, lead a healthy lifestyle and I dance. I don’t look into the mirror every day and say kya dikhti hoon main! Nothing like that.
You seem to be enjoying a perfect life…
There is nothing like a perfect life. It’s what you make of it, right? I’m thankful for what I have. I don’t take anything for granted. There’s a lot of hard work behind everything I do. Nobody sees that. They just say ‘oh what a good life’. But we actors work, plan and devote our time, energies and emotions to the profession.
“I’ve had a great life, enjoyed a great profession. Many people are talented and they work hard too. But they just can’t make it. I was lucky I did”
Which aspect of your life do you enjoy more – an actress, a wife, a mother…?
Every role is important to me. I want to be the best mother in the world when I’m with my kids. I want them to be smart, to be able to dance, sing, play an instrument… be the best. When I’m with my mother, I want to look after her devotedly. When I’m with my husband, I want to make the most of our time together. On the set I want to give my best too.
How’s the experience of judging the dance show So You Think You Can Dance?
I have judged dance shows before. The difference here is that these are not celebrities; these are actual dancers with terrific talent. It’s the dancer’s journey and how he’s able to adopt different dancing styles. It’s stage vs street dancing. Stage dance includes the classical forms, American Broadway and others. Street dance implies hip-hop and other dance forms. The most versatile dancer is going to move forward.
What does your husband, Dr Sriram Nene, have to say when he witnesses the fan frenzy for you?
(Smiles) He also has a lot of love, affection and respect for me! Of course, it makes him proud. He says everyone loves you wherever we go. None has a bad word to say about you. He says the credit goes to you for spending these 30 years with such dignity.
“Ram and I are made of the same fabric… He’s adventurous while I’m reserved and cautious. We balance each other. There’s some craziness in him. There’s some craziness in me”
Your husband is a good-looking man. Don’t you feel insecure at times?
(Laughs) No, no… insecurity has never been part of my life even when I was in the industry. I’ve tremendous confidence in myself and in my relationship with my husband.
In times, when marriages are failing, what is the secret of your beautiful equation?
Everybody leads their own life. It’s hard to comment on someone else’s life. Each one enjoys a different equation with their partners. Ram and I, we both are secure people; we have a certain respect for life and people around us. We want to do the best for those around us. Somewhere we’re made of the same fabric, we’re on the same wavelength. Though our natures may be different. He’s adventurous while I’m reserved and cautious like don’t do this, don’t do that. We balance each other. There’s some craziness in him. There’s some craziness in me. We manage to work things out. We talk, we communicate, and we have the same goals for the kids.
What is the craziest thing you both have done together?
Ram has been an outdoor person. I’ve always been protected because I started working at 16. There were always people around me. When I went to the US, Ram encouraged me to do crazy things. I enjoyed scuba diving, mountain climbing. I tried skiing too but gave it up. I didn’t want to break my legs.
What have you learnt from him?
I learnt how to be independent. I’m so as a professional but I was always surrounded by people. I didn’t have a life. So with him I lead a life, where I could do things on my own. He’d say go to the market; don’t be scared, it doesn’t matter if a fan meets you. So I would take the car and go. In that sense, I became more adventurous, more independent than I used to be.
How’s your equation with the kids?
They are curious about a lot of things. Like my son wanted to know how actors got tears in their eyes on screen. I said that we put ‘glycerin’, which hurts the eyes and you start crying. He said, ‘No, that anybody can do. But how do you get tears in your eyes?’ I said sometimes I try to emote. Like I imagine what if someone I love died and
I immediately get tears in my eyes. The next day, we were at the table and with teary eyes he said, ‘I forgot to do my homework’. He had bade bade aansu in his eyes. When I scolded him, he started laughing. He’d experimented on himself and managed to cry. Nowadays kids are so intelligent! When they watch a movie, we talk about the story, the plot, the scenes… They watch a lot of YouTube. They evaluate different films and they have a point of view.
Do they have any favourite actors?
They are completely into superheroes films like Avengers, Captain America and others. They like the Hulk. They are more into Hollywood films. But they watch Hindi films also. Like the other day we were watching Welcome Back in the car. They laughed so much because it had subtitles and they could understand the jokes. They had loved Welcome as well for its slapstick comedy.
Are you a strict parent?
Yes, of course. I’ve told them, ‘I will tell you what is right and what is wrong. But the final choice has to be yours. And I trust you will make the right choice’. Children should know you trust them. That means a lot to them.
“There is nothing like a perfect life. It’s what you make of it… I don’t take anything for granted. There’s a lot of hard work behind everything I do. Nobody sees that. They just say ‘oh what a good life’. But we actors work, plan and devote our time, energies and emotions to the profession”