Check out Dear Zindagi First Look Poster starring Shah Rukh Khan, Alia Bhatt and directed by Gauri Shinde.
Check out Dear Zindagi First Look Poster starring Shah Rukh Khan, Alia Bhatt and directed by Gauri Shinde.
Check out First Look of Dear Zindagi starring Shah Rukh Khan, Alia Bhatt and directed by Gauri Shinde.
I made a similar post last year LINK
1) Hrithik in Agneepath– Agneepath was a tough one to be remade and Karan Malhotra did good by having a fresh take towards it. The best thing about this movie was Hrithik as Vijay Deenanath Chauhan. Hrithik did really well by portraying a famous character in his own way and not trying to repeat anything Big B had done in the original. He excelled in the fight sequences, as well as in the emotional family scenes. The best thing about Hrithik’s performance was that since it was distinct and dedicated, it took all scope of comparison out of the frame. A very good performance.
2) Irrfan in Paan Singh Tomar-I found Paan Singh Tomar a really average film. I thought the direction was average and so was the cinematography and background score. However despite some noteworthy flaws, Paan Singh Tomar became a legendary film, due to a tour de force performance by Irrfan. He was the Paan Singh Tomar right from the first till the last frame. It was one of those once in career kind of performances. Fortunately, with an actor like Irrfan, we may be able to see many more of these.
3) Sujoy Ghosh for the original screenplay in Kahaani-Everyone like Vidya Balan in Kahaani, and so did I. She was fantastic; but what stood for me, and stayed with me for a long time was the screenplay of Kahaani. A rare edgy thriller from Bollywood that surpassed all other in its genre. Some argued that its climax was inspired from the Angelina Jolie film, but again, it was only that part that resembled that film, the real twist was the one that stumped everyone. This is THE bollywood thriller to be remembered.
4) Some Comedy bits in Chaar Din Ki Chandni -CCKC was your one more comedy film, however there were some genuinely hilarious scenes, involving, Tushaar Kapoor, Mukul Dev, Sushant Singh and Chandrachur Singh. I couldn’t help myself laughing non-stop during those scenes. I wouldn’t recommend the film but would recommend some scenes from it.
5)The simplicity of Vicky Donor-To be honest, I found Vicky donor, a decent to good film with some light moments. However, what I really appreciate about VD is its simplicity and how it said a lot without saying it put loudly or repetitively. Everyone from Ayushman to Bebe to Anu Kapoor to Yamini and to the director Shootjit Sarkar kept it very simple and extremely down to earth. That’s where Vicky Donor found its connection with the audience.
6) The Rathore in Rowdy Rathore-Akshay Kumar played a double role in RR. While many would have like the Rowdy comedian , I preferred the Rathore. In fact, Akshay’s role as Vikram rathore is what he has been missing in the last 10 years or so- an out and out action role of a tough guy.
7) Aditi Rao’s looks in London, Paris, New York– The film was poorly inspired from Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, with hardly any memorable moments, except Aditi Rao’s looks in the film. She looked better than any actress in the past year. Her french look was the most delightful part of the film and she carried it off with elan. Very beautiful actress. Looking forward to seeing more of her films.
8) Zeishan Quadri, Akhilesh,Sachin Ladia,Anurag Kashyap for the screenplay of GOW-2 – I hated GOW-1 for what it was. GOW-2 however, was “kick ass” in its truest meaning. A screenplay so crisp and so inviting for a mind orgasm that you cant get enough of it. I know the performances by Nawaaz and the gang were superlative but it was the narrative and the lines and the language that made GOW-2 what it was. Hats off to the writers.
8) Ranbir in Barfi-What was it about Barfi that made a relatively small , in a way offbeat film to achieve the success. Well the reasons could be many but the one that holds the most significance is “Ranbir Kapoor”. A ton of scenes from this movie was copied inspired from a ton of movies and even knowing all that I couldn’t hate Barfi and the reason- again Ranbir Kapoor. A performance so honest and splendid that I can sit for 3 hours and watch a movie where the lead character is a deaf mute again. Ranbir Kapoor deserves a big applause for doing something different and doing it the way it should be – honestly.
9) Sridevi in English Vinglish-Ram Gopal Verma said he wants to touch Gauri shinde’s feet for making English vinglish- and I can understand why. Sridevi returned the big screen and how? No shor sharaba, no big lines, no loud melodrama and yet, Sri wins your heart every time she smiles in the movie. It was such a great experience the audience almost swooning over a yester year actress delievering a knock out performance in one of the better films of the year. I know it’s a cliché but I’ll say it anyways- I can’t imagine anyone else playing Shashi and making English Vinglish what it became other than Sridevi.
10) Aamir In Talaash– Yes Zoya Akhtar and Reemi Kagti kind of disappointed with the climax of the film. Yes it did not live upto the hype it created and yes, it wasn’t as good as we all wanted it to be yet Talaash did give us one of the best performances of the year given that we had some pretty good ones this year. Aamir Khan’s portrayal of Surjan Shekhawat, the stressed , emotionally devastated and the restless, insomniac cop was a great performance indeed. Not for a second did Aamir waiver off from the character and one could see the pain and trauma of such a character on Aamir’s face. A great subtle performance, which helped Talaash more than anything else.
11) Chulbul Salman Pandey In Dabangg2– Yes I know, even a lot of Fans were disappointed and that kind of was expected as people were expecting the story of the “Dabangg” to go forward while actually, it regressed to a point that there was no story per say. However, dispite that major flaw, Dabangg worked for me providing non-stop entertainment without a single dull moment and all of this because of one and one person only- Chulbul Pandey aka Salman Khan. Salman lived the character of the notorious Robinhood Pandey (now also known as Kung fu Pandey) in each frame of the movie. It was almost as if I was watching a documentary of a UP cop called Chulbul Pandey. Hats off to Salman for making this character unforgettable.
12) The story, screenplay, Paresh and intention of Oh My God– Undoubtedly the best movie of the year and arguably the most important movie of Indian Cinema in the last decade or so. OMG Oh My god’s plot is very simple- Something that a lot of Indians discuss over a coffee table , probably everyday among friends- Unfortunately, most of us make sure, that such conversations stay limited to the coffee table, or the Office Desk or the college Cafeteria. The makers and writers of OMG, did the bravest of things by bringing such voices to the big screen and in their original unadulterated form. The honesty and rawness of OMG is what it makes so damn important and its treatment makes it a must watch. Having said that, the gigantic brave task could not have been accomplished without a brave leader and Paresh Rawal does just that. He delivers a knock out performance and more importantly says each line in the movie in the most believable way possible. You can see that Kanji believes in his words very strongly and that there are very strong reasons behind it. OMG and Paresh Rawal are the undoubtedly the best thing about Bollywood this year.
What I thought was okay to good but could have been better
1) PST- I found Paan Singh Tomar a very average film. It was the performance of Irrfan that stands out but apart from that, it required a tighter screenplay and much better camera work. Something that PST needed badly was a great background score and I think that would have made a whole lot of difference. Tigmanshu Dhulia is an efficient director and he’s proven it many times in the Past but as far as PST is concerned, he could have been better.
2) TEZZ – Won’t say much about it. It was just an okay film which didn’t bore me. Had the writers done their job a tad better, it would have been much better a film.
3) ETT– Watching the first half of ETT, it seemed, Salman Khan has finally moved on from the senseless genre and his performance was really likable. But all the good work of ETT in the first half, was simply ruined by a stupid, idiotic storyline and a rushed mindless second half. It was almost the director/producers said–chalo bht ho gayi story, now let’s bank on salman’s stardom. huh!!
4)Raaz 3– I am a sucker for Horror films and make sure I check them out- good or bad. Raaz 3 was a typical Vikram Bhatt horror flick and it did manage to create some chills and thrills. although, better visuals and sound could have made this much much better. I liked Vikram’s Haunted 3D a lot and hence was a bit disappointed by this. Nonetheless, watchable for viewers of this genre.
5) Priyanka Chopra in Barfi– I heard a lot of praises of Priyanka for her role in Barfi. I would say no doubt she did a good job but she couldn’t make it memorable the way Ranbir did. She was subtle at some times and quite dramatic at other times. It was like she needed more rehearsal and more information about the character she was portraying. A good effort nonetheless, although it could have been a great one.
6) The climax of Talaash-I would’t have criticized Reema Kagti and Zoya Akhtar had there not been a Sixth Sense or the others or Stirs of Echoes. But since all those movies exist, I expected something more original from them and what they presented was admirable yet unsatisfying. The climax of Talaash was a big disappointment for me and something that almost ruined a fairly engaging film.
And now the last part- what I did not like in 2012
1)The Shamelessness of Abbas Mastan- Players
Abbas Mastan didn’t just copy The Italian job, they copied it so blindly and shamelessly that the outcome was even more pathetic than the already mediocre movie. The whole story, the steal job was exactly the same. The most surprising part was they even used the same goddamn mini coopers that were used in the Edward Nortan starrer. It was almost like; did they even work on the screenplay, apart from adding stupid songs?
2)Sanjay dutt’s joke of a performance in Agneepath
Sanjay Dutt’s performance of Kaancha cheena in the new age Agneepath was a disaster. Kaancha Cheena was not about muscles (or flab in this case). He was about meanness . Sanjay Dutt looked fat and the bald look just added to the buffoonery. The only place where this worked was while he was bashing Hrithik in the climax.His dialog delivery was his career worst. It was almost like the directory had forcefully pulled Sanjay out of an all you can eat buffet and asked him to act.
3)The insult of a story by Shakun Batra for Ek Mai aur Ek tu
Shakun Batra- The protégé of Karan “Ha ha “ Johar came up with a story so sick and regressive that even Kjo’s KKHH started to look substantial in some sense. He basically asked the nerds out there to get used and manipulated by hot chicks and wait for that time to come.- In other words, wait for a drunk party and you may get laid, until then just hold her purse.
4) The mismanagement of himself by Madhavan (Jodi breakers)–
Madhavan looked his career worst, careless and shabby in Jodi Breakers. He was fat (not that fat is a problem, but you should carry it off), uncomfortable and stuffed in those suits. Even his acting was so rushed that, made the brilliant actor look so outright mediocre.
5) Madhur Bhandarkar’s dishonesty in Heroine
Madhur Bhandarkar wrote his career worst screenplay for Heroine. A screenplay so hollow and narrow, that even David Dhawan seemed considerate in front of it. Heroine was written as if he just wanted one actress to cry and look awfully depressed all the time. No rhyme or reason for her behaving that way- just cry, cry and cry more. The movie’s screenplay deviated from the main topic of the film and just became about one particular case. Opportunity wasted.
6) The Chopras bringing out the worse in them and in Bollywood
Jab tak hai Jaan proved to be the most pathetic movie of last 10 years or so. A screenplay so absurd, it could have only come out of Aditya chopra’s writing. A movie just harping on love love, jesus jesus , memory memory and lust lust. Unexpected pathetic moments, unrequired awfully long length and a stupid narrative. Nothing about this movie seemed right. It was a new low for Bollywood and it came from the biggest moviemakers in Bollywood.
7) Anurag Kashyap’s bore saga of Gangs Of Wasseypur -1
I had huge expectations from the writer of Satya coming up with his own version of Desi Gangs and their lives and boy, I was disappointed and how!! GOW-1 may be exactly what Kashyap wanted to show, but for me it became a sad tale of the lusts of Wasseypur. The first part did not have anything to offer except a painfully long story created around continuing moments of Sardar Khan drooling over his wives and mistresses. There was nothing remember or appreciate as far as story or direction is concerned. It never took off as a Gang story and rather just remained a lust story for maximum of its duration. Excellent performances just a ridiculously bad story. Sheer Disappointment.
Last but not the least; I have to salute S.S. Rajamouli for writing a superb innovative script and having the talent to brilliantly execute it. Even though it was not technically Bollywood, but I would still like to give it credit as I feel language was not really the factor here. It was a universal script and a must watch film for all. Eega was brilliant.
Part 2 of the Interview below
English Vinglish collected a poor 2 crore nett on day one as per early estimates. The collections at some multiplexes did improve in the evening and the film has good reports as far as multiplex audience is concerned but it remains to be seen how much the film can jump over the weekend.
Saturday is the all important day for the film as it must have a huge jump to have any chance at the box office. A 25-30% jump is a norm on Saturday for such films aimed at multiplexes but English Vinglish will have to show a much bigger jump as starting point is low. It will have to show better growth than last week’s release OMG! Oh My God though does not have a weekday holiday advantage like that film.
The film collected 45-50 lakhs nett in Delhi/UP, 20 lakhs nett in East Punjab and around 10 lakhs nett in Rajasthan.
Note – The 2 crore approx figure is for Hindi version and the film has also released in Telugu and Tamil although with limited prints.
Cast: Sridevi, Adil Hussain, Mehdi Nebbou, Sujatha Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan
Director: Gauri Shinde
Returning to the screen after a hiatus of 15 years in first-time director Gauri Shinde’s charming comedy English Vinglish, Sridevi hits all the right notes.
Five minutes into the film, and she’s already found her way into your heart as Shashi, the uncomplaining Maharashtrian housewife who quietly puts up with the playful but insensitive jibes her husband and kids take at her, for her inability to speak proper English. It’s such a terrific performance in fact, that it makes you overlook the rather trite notion that a caring wife and mother, who runs a small but successful catering business from home, must speak fluent English in order to regain her sense of self-worth.
Shinde, who has revealed that the film’s premise is inspired by a slice of her own mother’s life, constructs some moving scenes that are not hard to relate to. Shashi’s school-going daughter cringes in embarrassment at a PTA meeting when her mother asks a teacher if he could speak to her in Hindi because her English is weak. When another parent engages her mother in a conversation, she nervously steers her mum away.
There’s little that’s blazingly original here; much of it feels formulaic and predictable, in fact. Yet Shinde knows there’s comfort to be found in the familiar, and she mines feel-good moments in been-there-seen-that territory.
Things come to a head when Shashi reluctantly travels alone to New York to help with preparations for her niece’s wedding. Humiliated while struggling to order a coffee and sandwich at a Manhattan café, she impulsively enrolls for a four-week English speaking course at a language school. From this point on, the film resembles an episode of the popular BBC sitcom Mind Your Language, whose laughs are derived from a motley bunch of foreigners wrestling with English. Typically, the class comprises a Mexican nanny, a Pakistani cab driver, a Chinese hairstylist, a South Indian software engineer, an angry black kid, and a dishy French chef named Laurent (Mehdi Nebbou) who’s instantly attracted to Shashi.
In these classroom scenes, Shinde uses her characters to deliver a message about Indo-Pak camaraderie, and even against homophobia. Yet these seem like mere tokenisms against the more natural, tender scenes between Shashi and Laurent. Like those moments when the two are conversing in their respective languages, and yet manage to convey what they’re feeling to each other – it’s these interludes that make English Vinglish so watchable.
This is the story of how Shashi gets her groove back, and Shinde nails it by casting Sridevi in the central role. The actress is effortlessly charming as the neglected protagonist who discovers herself when she’s allowed to fly. She infuses the part with the right portions of vulnerability, restraint, and quiet strength, delivering a performance that is nothing short of perfect.
Even if it treads a safe path, English Vinglish achieves believability through its supporting cast of mostly unfamiliar faces, including Mehdi Nebbou as Shashi’s sensitive French admirer, and Adil Hussain as her inattentive husband. Sujatha Kumar as Shashi’s older sister oozes warmth, and both kids playing Shashi’s children are spot-on. There’s also a delightful cameo by Amitabh Bachchan, who steals the scene he’s in with his impeccable comic timing.
Making an assured debut with a light, frothy film that still has something important to say, Gauri Shinde delivers one the year’s most pleasing films, and Amit Trivedi lends some of his best compositions to the soundtrack. I’m going with three-and-a-half out of five for English Vinglish. It’s warm and fuzzy, and leaves you with a big smile on your face.
More Reviews below
ENGLISH VINGLISH is special. Sridevi, who ruled the marquee in the 1980s and 1990s, belting out hit after hit, returns to the silver screen after a hiatus. The film won rave reviews at a recently concluded film festival, with the critics referring to the actress as Meryl Streep of India. That, in my opinion, is the ultimate honor for any actress.
Let me set the prevalent doubts to rest. ENGLISH VINGLISH is not a rehash of the immensely popular TV show ZABAAN SAMBHAALKE or its British version MIND YOUR LANGUAGE. It’s as dissimilar as oranges and apples are.
First-time director Gauri Shinde [she has enough ad films to her credit] chooses a subject — a woman incapable to converse in English and hence looked upon as an embarrassment by her own people — to send across a message. The larger message is that any individual can triumph over any uncertainty, surmount all apprehensions and redeem the self-esteem, if he/she makes an earnest endeavor to overcome it. Also, the woman [a neglected housewife/a mother of two in the movie] yearns for respect. But respect can only be earned and the woman does so in the most uncomplicated, yet remarkable way. She makes a quiet resolve to learn the language and does so without relying upon anyone else. What really makes the movie stand out, besides a lot of factors contributing to its strengths, is the manner with which the director picks up an issue [which many would consider ordinary] and makes a movie that chokes you with sentiments.
Also, one needs to applaud the endeavor because films like PAAN SINGH TOMAR, KAHAANI, VICKY DONOR, GOW 1 and 2, BARFI!, also last week’s OMG – OH MY GOD! and now ENGLISH VINGLISH, hi-concept films all, take the unconventional route, yet enlighten and entertain, both. Sure, masala movies are great fun, but a film like ENGLISH VINGLISH breaks the monotony, shatters the unwritten rules of the game and scores brownie points. Cinema is rapidly changing and one can connect with viewers across the globe even without making the usual mainstream Hindi movie. ENGLISH VINGLISH proves it!
ENGLISH VINGLISH is the story of a woman who struggles with English and is made to feel insecure by her family and society at large. The film depicts the touching and transformational journey of a housewife, Shashi [Sridevi]. Circumstances make her resolute to prevail over this lack of confidence, master the language, teach the world a lesson or two on the way to becoming a self-assured and confident woman.
If Sridevi is the driving force on screen, it’s Gauri Shinde who stands out with a near-perfect film in her very first attempt. The concept is oven fresh and the handling of a number of sensitive and dramatic moments is noteworthy.
Gauri smartly integrates the songs in the narrative, although, I genuinely feel, the film would’ve excelled even without songs. The songs [Amit Trivedi], though situational, are soft and soothing. Cinematography [Laxman Utekar] captures the vibrant colors with dexterity.
ENGLISH VINGLISH is unimaginable without Sridevi. Correspondingly, I don’t think Sridevi could’ve got a more cohesive script to return to movies. This is unlike what the actress has done in the past. Think of Sridevi and you recall films like HIMMATWALA, CHAALBAAZ, NAGINA, MR. INDIA, CHANDNI, LAMHE, KHUDA GAWAH, LAADLA and JUDAAI. But the supremely talented actress also has non-glam roles like the one in SADMA to her credit. She returns to the big screen in a role that’s sans the frills, spectacle and theatrics and yet wins hearts. She’s stellar, in terrific form, immersing herself in this character, playing her age… so much so that after a point you forget you’re watching someone who has immortalized so many characters. What you carry home, and in your heart, is Shashi, a woman who is snubbed by her children and husband on various occasions for her lack of English-language skills, but overpowers her apprehensions and insecurities and emerges triumphant eventually.
Priya Anand, who has several South Indian language films to her credit, is excellent as Sridevi’s niece, the only person who understands her well, besides her lovable mother-in-law [Sulbha Deshpande]. Another actor to watch out for is Adil Hussain, who enacts the role of Sridevi’s husband, who often taunts her with the remark that she [Sridevi], his wife, was born to make laddoos. He’s natural to the core, addressing a role without going overboard. Sujata Kumar, as Sridevi’s elder sister, is splendid.
French actor Mehdi Nebbou is just right. Even when he’s speaking in French, the expression that he conveys says it all and that is the hallmark of a fine actor. However, when he speaks in French, subtitles in English were essential for the viewer to decipher or decode and would have adjoined considerable value to those extremely significant sequences. Amitabh Bachchan is simply fantastic in a cameo. Wish there was more of this legendary actor! Navika Kotia, enacting the role of the daughter, is first-rate, but it is the child actor, Shivansh Kotia, Sridevi’s son, who is endearing and steals your heart with his adorable antics. Sulbha Deshpande is admirable.
Sridevi’s classmates, each of them, pitch in neat performances. Right from the taxi driver from Pakistan to a South Indian guy to a Mexican nanny and of course, the English teacher, everyone stands out in their respective parts.
On the whole, ENGLISH VINGLISH is a remarkable motion picture. It’s amusing, emotional, heartrending and also insightful. An inspiring film with an overwhelming message. A must-watch for every parent, every child. Strongly recommended!
More Dialogue Promos below
Q. Fifteen years is a long coffee break. Was English Vinglish a planned move?
A Not at all. It’s not as if I sat down and made up my mind about making a comeback. Boneyji (Kapoor) and Balki are friends and Balki told him about the two scripts he wanted me to check out. I loved Balki’s Cheeni Kum as well as Paa and so agreed to go through them. One film was with Amitji (Amitabh Bachchan) for the Hindi version and Rajni in Tamil but it didn’t happen as Rajni fell ill. It’s a very interesting subject. Though English Vinglish just happened, it’s something I would have taken up at any given time.
Q. Which films did you enjoy doing more — Hindi ones or those down South?
A I have always enjoyed my work no matter which language I worked in. But Tamil films gave me more challenging roles. But today Tamil films wouldn’t be a priority as they would entail leaving my children in Mumbai and staying away from them. It wouldn’t work.
Q. The audience goes to see a Sridevi film not only because you’re one of our most beautiful and versatile actresses but also because of your dance moves. Is there another Kaate nahin katte in the offing?
A (Laughs) I don’t think that will ever happen again. It turned out to be special at that point of time. Today I think my children will kick me out of the house if I even attempted something similar. Besides, I don’t think I’d be comfortable doing such a dance today. No way. It wasn’t vulgar but I don’t think it would suit my personality today.
Q. Would you have opted for a comeback behind the camera?
A That’s not my cup of tea at all. I was asked this earlier too and my answer remains the same. It’s not easy to direct a film. It entails tremendous responsibilities. But I do sit in at the scripting stage and now so does Jhanvi.
Q. When you stopped working, was it a relief that you no longer had to rush to the studio and apply make-up?
A Nothing like that. Because I enjoyed my work. It was a different life. Playing different characters was a challenge. For me, films were a job. Something like a regular 9-5 routine. My mom had set a rule that come what may, I should stop working at 6 pm. It was like a school bell and on the dot I would run and sit in my car. But I enjoyed my work, otherwise it would have been sheer torture. But then the last 15 years have been another beautiful journey. It was a pleasure watching my daughters grow up. I believe every woman must experience this else your life isn’t complete.
Q. You didn’t miss the limelight?
A Not one bit.
Q. When did you take up painting?
A That’s something I’ve always been interested in. Even when I was an extremely busy actress I indulged in it as a hobby. Whenever I returned from shooting I would sit and draw but I didn’t take it seriously. Then I completely forgot about it till my children started going to school and needed help with their art classes. I would help them and the teachers even called me to help them with their art section. Jhanvi one day told me the teachers said I was very good. With encouragement, I slowly started picking up my hobby again. One of my paintings, called Thoughts, was auctioned at Christie’s for charity and fetched $ 50,000.
Q. Any plans to hold an exhibition?
A Where’s the time? You need a minimum of 35-40 paintings for an exhibition. Subhash Awchat, a family friend, keeps asking me to paint more and says he’ll organise everything but I’ve never taken seriously. We travel a lot. Painting is not something you can do a couple of hours a day. You need to devote your full attention and time to it.
Q. Is it true Salman Khan has gifted you one of his paintings?
A (Laughs) Not just one, lots. I’ve kept them in my other home. They’re all beautiful and I cherish them. I too gifted him one of my paintings when he was released from Jaipur jail. We form a mutual admiration society. When he was shooting for Wanted, he used to paint with the children.
Q. You started out at the age of three. Did you resent that?
A I believe that to gain something you have to lose something. I’m grateful to God and my fans for whatever I am today. True, I lost out on childhood, school and college but I gained something much more in whatever little I have achieved. I want Janu (Jhanvi) to experience normal life. There’s no urgency for her to start working.
Q. Lamhe didn’t work at the box-office.
A A lot of people loved the film but I always had doubts. It was too bold a subject two decades ago and even today — the daughter falling in love with the man who loved her mother. Of course, the film was very well made and the music was good. I used to have arguments with Yashji (Chopra) during the making of the film but he was firm. Ultimately the director is the master on the set.
Q. On what basis did you choose a film?
A The character and the director are all that mattered as I am totally a director’s actress. My main concern was that I should be comfortable working with the director. Who the hero was never mattered to me. Of course the hero is important to the film and gives it weight.
Q. Is it tiresome to have to look your best all the time?
A Why just celebrities, I think everyone should always look their best. You feel good and who doesn’t like receiving compliments?
Q. What’s the secret of your slim figure?
A Be positive, as Anilji keeps saying in No Entry, ‘Be positive’. Diet definitely makes a difference. I keep fried foods away from my life, in fact away from my house. Drink lots of water. And exercise, be it yoga or any exercise you prefer. You have to be health conscious. Whatever you may do, the most important is inner peace and happiness. That reflects on your face. I enjoy every moment of taking my children out or shopping together or going on a family holiday. We go to malls on weekdays when they aren’t too crowded.
Q. Does the thought of ageing scare you?
A Not at all. It might when you’re young yet look old.
Q. Would you indulge in artificial methods to look young?
A I don’t believe in them because they aren’t permanent. It’s a temporary remedy and very noticeable. After undergoing treatment the only facial expression you can give is a startled one. It’s not worth putting your face and body through it. And I’m 100 per cent sure they must have side effects. Nothing like being natural. Make your life systematic rather than look for short cuts.
Q. Do you go vegetable shopping?
A I used to when the children were small. I used to be finicky that the servant wouldn’t get proper fish or fresh vegetables. So I insisted on choosing them myself but my husband and friends told me to stop saying they couldn’t see me doing such things. I don’t understand what the big deal is. I enjoyed shopping.
Q. Would you like to do TV again? We haven’t seen you since Malini Iyer (2004).
A I don’t think so. I didn’t enjoy myself. My children were very young at the time and the schedules were too hectic. I don’t like being away from my family.
Q. Do you ever get lonely?
A No because I’m never alone. I like to have my people with me. Even when we were shooting in New York for three months, my niece was with me. Boneyji came to drop me and stayed for a week and when it was time to return he brought the children to pick me up. Someone is always with me; I’m not used to being alone.
Q. Are you a better wife or mother?
A I’m a great mother and a devoted wife. And I’d like to add that Boneyji is the best father, husband, son and brother ever.
Q. How dependent are you on Boney?
A I’m not the only one who’s dependent; he’s equally dependent on me. We are companions. It’s good that we still want to be with each other after 16 years of marriage.
Q. Is your relationship with your daughters similar to what you shared with your mother?
A With my mother there was a lot of respect. I never had the guts to tell my mother whatever I wanted. In fact, all my heroes would be scared of my mother. This generation is different. Jahnvi treats me like a friend and confides in me. She’s a normal teenager and very interested in fashion.
Q. Is Jhanvi inclined towards films?
A It’s too early, she’s just 15. I’ve never asked her mainly because I don’t want to divert her mind or put ideas in her head. Both my daughters are good at studies and Boneyji and I would like them to have a strong foundation before they decide what they want to do. Jhanvi is in the 9th, which is a crucial year and Khushi is in the 6th. Actually, which child isn’t interested in films? When Janu (Jhanvi) was five years old, she told Boneyji, “Papa I want to be an actress.” Boneyji said, “Beta, I want you to be a doctor” and she promptly piped up with, “Okay Papa you make a film and I’ll play a doctor in it.”
Q. Your mother’s illness was a traumatic time for you. Did Boney and you get close during that phase?
A Not only did he travel with us but he was with us in New York for three months. We took her there for the best treatment but everything went wrong. I still remember, once when my mother and I were travelling in a car with Boneyji and his friend, she pointed at Boneyji and said, “He’s such a nice man. If you ever do another film with him, you will not ask for a single penny.” Boneyji and I didn’t get close during those three months. I realised how supportive and caring he had been and our relationship grew over 10 years.
Q. At one point there was friction between your younger sister Latha and you. Have you patched up?
A That was a long time ago and we’ve been close again for years. Boneyji and I are the only family she has from her side and she’s very fond of my daughters. This evening we leave for Chennai to take part in the celebrations for her mother-in-law’s 60th wedding anniversary and her 80th birthday.
Q. You’ve changed over the years, you appear more confident, in control now.
A I don’t know if I’ve changed. Earlier I used to refrain from commenting perhaps because I didn’t want to hurt people. Not that I want to hurt anyone now. Perhaps I was holding back because I’d been misguided a couple of times and so chose not to say anything. As a person I think I’m still the same.
Q. An entirely new generation that has so far only watched your films on TV will be your new audience.
A True. Everything depends on the audience, whether or not they want to see more of me. And their reaction will decide if I sign any more films.