How has your Bollywood journey been since the time you shifted back to India? It’s been wonderful. I am fortunate that there are so many people who are ready to associate with me because they’ve seen my career. People have seen the integrity and quality in my work. I’ve never really compromised on anything. I like the fact that they have confidence in me and want to associate with me.
Over the decades in Bollywood, you have remained unbeatable as far as dancing is concerned. Do you believe yourself to be the Dancing Queen? I never really thought about it as a sport, for me it’s a passion. And it will remain so through my life.
How easy or difficult has it been for you to make your stand in Bollywood after your comeback? It’s funny, heroes never get asked this question after doing just one film in four years. You don’t call it their comeback, so why call it a comeback for women? Women are selectively targeted to say ‘Oh, she is coming back’, even if it’s only like a year or two. I believe, once an actor, always an actor. Agreed. But there are other concerns too. What is your take on the remuneration disparity between heroes and heroines? It’s everywhere; it’s not only in our industry. The change will come, but it will be gradual and slow. But I love the fact that there was a time when the only women I saw on sets, apart from me, were hair dressers, or co-stars or costume designers. There were no other women on the sets. Today, when I walk in, there are women everywhere. Their role play has increased. It’s wonderful to see how women have progressed in our industry. I’m not only talking about actors, I’m talking about women who work behind the scenes.
How do you straddle work and motherhood? I think you really have to be organised. You have to be at an event sometime, and sometimes, you have to be at your child’s school. I make a calendar and organise my dates.
Your film GulaabGang spoke about women empowerment and strength. How necessary it is to highlight such issues? It is necessary to highlight such issues because they are present in our lives. But I don’t think it’s necessary to highlight them in movies. Movies are entertainment, you can’t be hammering people when they are in the theatres. Not that such movies should not be made, but one should do something about it in reality. Like I’m doing with UNICEF, to advocate child rights. I did a campaign Boys Don’t Cry which was against women abuse. Women and children are my concerns, and something I would want to stand-up for.
You must have noticed a lot of changes in the industry, have they been good or bad? Definitely it has changed for the good. It’s much more organised. When we worked, it was haphazard, there was no discipline. But today, you get scripts in your hand, you even know what you’re going to wear in each scene.
How does it feel to associate with a renowned jewellery brand like PN Gadgil, for who you launched the collection - Timeless by Madhuri Dixit? What is your involvement? PN Gadgil and I have been associated for the last three years, I’ve been their brand ambassador. Something like this was in the pipeline for quite some time, but nothing materialised. Then one day, we came up with this brand, Timeless by Madhuri Dixit, because diamonds are timeless.