She has made a mark in the industry not only with her acting prowess, but also with her dancing skills. In the three decades she has spent in Bollywood, Madhuri Dixit Nene has proved that an actor’s career doesn’t always have to slow down post-marriage. The mother of two is currently judging a dance-based TV reality show. Here, Madhuri talks about her sons, Arin and Raayan, her plans to venture into film-making, and more.
Marriage and motherhood are often considered obstacles for Bollywood actresses. How difficult is it to make a comeback really?
We (Bollywood) have had actresses like Meena Kumari and Sharmila Tagore who did so many movies after getting married. Even I did Devdas (2002) after getting married, and finished shooting for Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam (2002) too. So, being married has nothing to do with your career. Also, the word comeback is very subjective. When a male actor doesn’t do films for two-three years, nobody cares. But if a woman returns after taking a break for two years, it’s treated as a comeback.
Are your kids aware of your stardom?
Yes, they are, because kids in their school come up to them and tell them that they are lucky to be Madhuri Dixit’s children. But they take me lightly, because at home, I am just like any other mother. Whenever I say I can’t do something, they tease me, and say, “Come on mum, you are a superstar. You can do everything (laughs).”
Among all the films that you’ve done so far, which role is closest to your heart?
I think whenever you do a movie, even though you are playing a character, you have to put a little bit of yourself into it too. So, for instance, Lajja (2001) and Gulaab Gang (2013) revolved around issues I strongly feel about. But, if you ask me about the characters that I relate to the most or those that are closest to my heart, they would be Nisha from Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! (1994) and Pooja from Dil To Pagal Hai (1997).
You met the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton, when they visited India recently. How was the experience?
It was a brief meeting, but a great one. They are really down to earth. Prince William said that Bollywood is so popular across the world, and has a lot of followers in Britain too. He also said that there should be a collaboration between British films and Bollywood. They are a lovely couple.
Does film-making interest you?
Yes, it does. But I haven’t thought of venturing into it as of now. I will do something in that field in the future for sure.
You have done films across genres. What are the kinds of roles that you are yet to explore?
I would love to do an entertaining movie, which has a nice and breezy character.
You are a trained Kathak dancer. What does dancing mean to you?
If acting is my first love, dancing is my passion. It’s like breathing for me. I have been dancing since the age of three. So, it’s an integral part of me. It’s something very spiritual. As a student of Kathak, I had learnt abhinaya (dancing with expressions), and that really helped me improve my skills as an actor as well.
How is your online dance academy coming along?
It’s doing really well. It reaches out to people in over six countries now; 50% of my audience is from outside India. I was surprised to hear that a lot of dancers who auditioned for So You Think You Can Dance had actually learnt dancing online. It feels great that a dance aspirant can learn even from the Internet. So, while my academy is doing great in the bigger cities in India, we also want to expand to the smaller ones, where proper Internet access is an issue currently.
Do you have any aspirations that are yet to be fulfilled ?
We cannot be content with what we have. The idea to open my dance academy came up because I wanted to do something for people who aspired to be dancers. I am glad that I have been able to give students access to the best dance gurus through my initiative. It was my dream to spread the happiness of dancing. I just want to take that further, and get more and more people to learn the beautiful art form.