Didn’t become an overnight sensation: Madhoo Shah on 30 years of Phool Aur Kaante
The year was 1991. Phool Aur Kaante released and gave Bollywood a female newcomer, Madhoo Shah. She tells us that the film happened to her without having to audition for it. “They had another girl signed up initially. When Kuku Kohli (director) reached out to me, the film was already halfway through. I was in the house playing carom board with my brother when the phone rang. The next thing I knew I had already accepted the film. There was no preparation involved,” she shares.
While the film may have set the ticket counters ringing upon its release, the 52-year-old actor feels that it didn’t make her “an overnight sensation”. “I was appreciated but I don’t think I became a super success. Yes, I was put in the A-listers bracket but my reputation as a good actor was built gradually,” she recalls.
Shah reveals not being “completely happy” with herself after watching Phool Aur Kaante and to hide from the media, she hid at her friend’s place. “I was very critical about myself. Phool Aur Kaante was the first of its kind. It had a lot of action and I was unsure about it. I thought the critics were going to have a field day with me. I didn’t want to be seen. I didn’t want to read the news or meet anybody,” she says.
What followed three days after its release changed everything for Shah: “At the traffic signal, people recognised me. That’s when I knew that the film hit its mark.”
Talking about the music of the film, she says, “Phool Aur Kaante didn’t become hits because of the story but because of the music too. Wherever I go even today, they play Maine Pyaar Tumhi Se Kiya Hai or Dheere Dheere Pyaar Ko Badhana Hai. They make me sing these songs too. I’m not a good singer but I had to learn a few lines so that I can sing for people (laughs).”
A year later, she starred in Roja which won her wide critical acclaim. Looking back at the past 30 years, Shah says, “I’m very happy with the things that came my way. I define success as a progressive improvement. I’m so blessed to have this life. I’m grateful even for the days I haven’t worked during my 15-year gap because they’ve also contributed to who I’m today,” she ends.