Madhoo: Today, actresses don't have to hide their age or need to look a certain way | Hindi Movie News - Times of India

Madhoo: Today, actresses don't have to hide their age or need to look a certain way

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Madhoo: Today, actresses don't have to hide their age or need to look a certain way

Madhoo
Madhoo
Popular as the 'Roja' (1992) girl, after a great run in the movie industry (Bollywood and south films) for nearly a decade, actress Madhoo quit films for marriage in the 1990s. However, after two daughters and a happy married life, in retrospect, she feels it was a mistake to have left behind a full-fledged acting career. In an exclusive interview, the actress opens up about reuniting with her Roja co-actor, Arvind Swamy, the changes in the film industry and why ‘nepotism’ is not a bad word. Excerpts...
You have reunited with your 'Roja' co-actor Arvind Swamy for the Jayalalithaa biopic 'Thalaivi' after nearly 30 years. Did that make you nostalgic?
Arvind Swamy is playing MGR and I am playing his first wife, Janaki Amma’s role in Thalaivi. I joked with him about how he was a newcomer when Mani Ratnam cast him in Roja. He was not keen to do films then, but Mani Ratnam, who was his friend, convinced him. And we all know how the film fared at the box office; it’s history. Now, he is a professional actor, who has done more than 20-30 films. He suits the role of MGR’s character so well. I may have done 60 films in the past, but I still get the jitters when I am on a film set. I was at ease when I came to know that I was working with Arvind. People will hopefully like our chemistry as much as they did in Roja.


You have done several films in the South film industry and in Bollywood before and after 'Roja', but people still remember you as the 'Roja' girl... Before Roja, I did many films in the South with stars like Mammootty, Mohanlal, Ravi Chandran and Hindi films with stars like Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn, Mithun Chakraborty, Govinda and Suniel Shetty, but 'Roja' put me in the big league and brought me fame and adulation. However, every time I started promoting a new film, people would tell me how they loved me in 'Roja'. I’d get slightly irritated when my other films got ignored. On the other hand, I am happy that people remember me for Roja. There were so many good actresses who did good work around that time, but no one remembers them today. Moreover, I can’t complain much because I worked for 10 years and gave it up all to get married. I was adamant to just settle down and not pursue films further, even though my family and husband were supportive. Now, when I look at it in retrospect, I feel it was a mistake because I missed doing films.

Actors like your first Bollywood hero Ajay Devgn, are doing interesting roles today. Even actresses, across age groups, have a variety of roles to choose from. Do you feel that today you have so many more opportunities presented in front of you?

There were many restrictions for actresses in the past. Now with so many alternative platforms and even films being made for different audiences, an actress does not have to hide her age. She is also under no pressure to look a certain way. Even if she puts on a bit of weight, you will find her doing interesting roles. Today, top leading actresses like Deepika Padukone or Anushka Sharma do not have to choose between marriage and career. Actors are finding themselves in a good, liberating space. Look at my co-actor Ajay Devgn, he is doing such content-rich films. He is doing roles that suit his age in films like 'De De Pyaar De'. I am also a mother of two daughters, so I am okay playing one in a film.


Your daughters have expressed a desire to be in films…


madhoodaughters

Yes, both my daughters Keiaa and Ameya had expressed their wish to be part of the film business, but currently they are busy with their exams. They returned from London during the lockdown. I will surely support them if they want to become actors.


‘Nepotism’ and ‘favouritism’ have been the two buzzwords in the past few months in Bollywood. What do you have to say about them?

People talk from their experience and my experience is different. I got cast in my films on merit. I remember being told by my secretary to show my face at certain filmmakers’ parties for five minutes as that would get me a chance to be in their films. And I refused to be part of parties, because I believed that filmmakers would cast me if they liked my work. However, I don’t see a problem when a person likes you and wants to work with you. The film does well, and you begin an association, I don’t see that as camp politics. Nepotism is not a bad word; sabotage is! Tomorrow, even if my best friend’s daughter or son wants to join films, I will help them out. What is wrong in that? What is not right is when you try to take away someone else’s work or ruin their career.


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