"What’s in a number?” is the response Urmila Matondkar gives when asked why she isn’t doing more films. “All these years, I’ve done films that appealed to me in terms of the characters I portrayed and the scope the roles offered to me without thinking about numbers. So why should it be any different now?”
It’s only two days before her forthcoming Bas Ek Pal releases, making this yet another seldom-explored subject, like Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Maara and Banaras. On Onir’s Bas Ek Pal she says, “I had seen My Brother Nikhil and loved it immensely,” says the Matondkar, adding, “I was impressed by the sensitive manner in which Onir dealt with the subject of AIDS. So much so that I was looking forward to working with him.”
Despite both of them being intent on working together, it took a while. In fact they were supposed to work together in Ashq for Pritish Nandy Communications “but somehow the script wasn’t working out well. And when I heard the story of Bas Ek Pal, I immediately agreed to do it.” On the story, she says, “It’s about one second that changes the lives of five protagonists of the film. When they meet some years later, they all look at it in retrospective and wonder what if they had made different decisions, how different life might have been.
|Urmila Matondkar's Bas Ek Pal releases day after.|
“It’s essentially a story of relationships, how circumstances make them complex and how characters deal with them.” Matondkar says she had a great time shooting for this film with co-stars Juhi Chawla, Sanjay Suri, Jimmy Sheirgill and Rehaan Engineer. “Sometimes you take time to get to know and get along with people, but here I hit it off with them all right away. I used to call Onir the Silent Dictator for the way he went about his job with an unsual calm confidence.”
After playing a civil engineer in Bas Ek Pal, Matondkar will be seen as an abduction victim in Vikram Bhatt’s Speed. The desi version of the Hollywood thriller Cellular, seems to have slowed down after co-star Zayed Khan met with an accident and then went on a world tour; then he suffered a foot injury and the film got delayed more. While they recently shot for a promotional music video for the film, won’t Speed look outdated due to the delays? “Not at all,” she replies instantly. “Most of the film has been shot quickly, in two-three major schedules. It’s very different from Cellular in terms of the parallel tracks it has and their relevance to the plot. It’s an edge of the seat thriller as you will see in a couple of months.”
Keeping in mind her diverse roles in recent films, one wonders why she consented to do the Mehbooba Mehbooba number in Ram Gopal Varma’s Sholay. “Who in her right mind would refuse to do a fantastic number like that?” she counters.
Wouldn’t she rather play Basanti instead of doing an item song, especially since she’s admitted to wanting to do a light comic role for a change? “Firstly, I don’t question the director’s vision,” she answers and continues, “Secondly, I’ve been wanting to do a fabulous dance track for quite some time now. Besides, it’s a Helen song, so expectations and comparisons are obviously going to be there. Of course I’m a bit anxious but at the same time, I’m also eagerly looking forward to it.”