‘I’ve always enjoyed taking risks’: Madhuri on new-age cinema and digital renaissance


Madhuri Dixit-Nene is ecstatic. Her latest film Total Dhamaal has crossed the Rs 100-crore mark and the actress has been applauded for her comic timing. Given that cinematic content is changing with the influx of digital media today, the dancing diva believes it has become all the more essential for artistes to stay relevant. From her take on the upsurge of OTT platforms to how movies are shifting gears, the actress discusses it all. Excerpts…
Do you think there are more opportunities for actors today in terms of visibility and content?
Yes, absolutely. Today, apart from acting in movies, I’m also doing reality shows like Dance Deewane on television. Dance is something that people associate me with, so that gives me an opportunity to still reach out to my fans. They can watch me even when I don’t have any releases lined up. That’s why it’s important to create opportunities for yourself, so that you can keep in touch with the audience.
You have taken calculated risks in your career by acting in the social drama Mrityudand (1997) or the thriller Pukar (2000). Has it become easier for actresses to do such films now?
There have to be people who are the first ones to do it, right? And I have always enjoyed taking risks. Even though Mrityudand wasn’t a huge hit, people still appreciated it because they felt I did a different kind of role. So, it didn’t take away anything, but, in fact, added something to my career. When another person sees that, he or she feels they can risk it too because the fear of losing anything just vanishes. As a result, you tend to set a trend where others can follow the path and explore themselves, too. It’s nice to see women take risks and do different kinds of roles.
Dedh Ishqiya (2014) had a subtext which most actresses would shy away from. So, has your approach towards work changed at all?
You are right. There was a more layered structure to my character in Dedh Ishqiya, which is a major reason I said yes to it. Maybe, not many heroines would have been comfortable with it but I was. So, I don’t think I’ve changed at all. I still want to do different things. Like I’m producing a movie 15th August, which will release on Netflix now.
So, we’re into the digital realm. I also have R&M Moving Pictures, a dance app called Dance with Madhuri and am on D2H. That’s something noble. I respect teachers. If you can help people get access to them, what can be better than that? Several girls have come up to me and told me that they learned kathak. I asked them, ‘Where are you learning from?’ That gave me the idea to make dance accessible. So, we have a lot of teachers online who train people. I like to be involved behind the scenes as well.
You’ve actually moved on with the times, getting used to the digital renaissance that has boomed in the last five-six years...
You always have to keep yourself relevant. With changing times, you have to change. Like Amitji (Amitabh Bachchan) is a great example. He’s always changed with times and it’s wonderful. That’s something that everybody should learn to keep up with what’s happening and the youngsters. My kids are 13 and 15, so, they keep me updated on what’s going on. Even where roles are concerned I don’t think people should be stuck up in their heads. They can’t think, ‘I can’t do this because what will people think if I do it’, You have to just get out there, take that risk and if it pays off, it allows other people to attempt it.
Will you be comfortable taking up a web show/film?
It has to be good and something really exciting for me to want to do it. But I feel the way we view movies is all going to change very soon. It will all be on our phones now.
How people are going to consume data is going to be different. You see that trend abroad where the big superhero films are releasing in theatres and then, there are the small independent films which are also coming up online. So, we are slowly heading there.

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