Madhuri Dixit has had a long day. She’s been giving interviews on behalf of the beauty brand that she endorses. “You’re the last one,” she says, as we settle down. We look for signs of impatience or tiredness. There aren’t any. She looks straight at you while she talks, gives you her full attention. She is happy to talk about beauty and fitness, and the product (Olay Regenerist Wrinkle Revolution Complex) that she is launching, but her guard goes up as soon as you talk about her career. Her answers are measured and movie-star diplomatic, but she can be wry. Especially when you throw at her Bollywood’s buzzword du jour — comebacks.
Between films, TV and family, what’s your priority at present?
My first priority continues to be my family. But like millions of professional women all over the world, I manage to balance work and personal life. Luckily, I have the fortune of selecting the work that I want to do. It’s not a cakewalk, though.
How big a factor is age for an actress in Bollywood? And how important is it to look young?
A big deal is made of it in our industry. But age is just a number, whereas it’s your ability that makes you who you are, which will still exist whether you’re 20, 40, 60...there’s no expiry date for it.
How do you keep fit?
My exercise comes through dance. I practise Kathak for an hour every day. That’s how I burn calories. I also eat five balanced meals, but I have a cheat day once a week, when I allow myself chocolate and mithai.
After moving back from the USA, are your kids more aware of their mother’s star status?
Yes, the other kids in school talk about it. The other day, they came home and asked me, ‘Mom, are you really famous?’
You’ve been away from Bollywood for five years. Now that you’ve signed a couple of films, are you keen on making a hit comeback, like some of your contemporaries?
No, that’s not something bothers me. Everyone works according to their own plan. Besides, how many comebacks should I make? I did a of work after marriage. I did Devdas in 2002. I took a break after having kids, but then I did Aaja Nachle (2007). Now I’m doing Jhalak (the dance competition show, Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa season five). So I’m doing things at own pace. I’ve signed Dedh Ishqiya and Gulab Gang, but they’ll happen when they happen.