“I Made Karisma Kapoor The Star She Is.”

This diva of the early ‘90s, in real life, is quite like what we know her on­screen — bub­bly, sim­ple, emo­tional, sen­si­tive and spon­ta­neous. As she says, ‘I do what I can do very well.’ Our very own K..K..Ki­ran, the cheer­ful and hap­pen­ing JUHI CHAWLA has al

Stardust (English) - - GET SNAPPY - KHUSH­BOO TI­WARI

You were re­cently hon­oured with the DadaSa­he­bPhalke Acade­myAwards for Chalkn Duster. Con­grats! How does it feel? I got it for two films. One was for Gu­laab Gang which was so dif­fer­ent from anything I had ever done be­fore. When it came on­screen, I was to­tally taken aback since it came out fan­tas­tic. I’m my own big­gest critic. I’m al­ways ready to see my­self on­screen and say, ‘Oh, that’s not right, that’s not good, this could have been bet­ter’. But when I saw Gu­laab Gang, my re­ac­tion was, ‘Wow! You did pretty well’. Chalk n Duster, I be­lieve is one of my re­ally good films. I put in all my en­ergy and at­ten­tion into it. I gen­uinely thought it was a very good sub­ject. The treat­ment was also very in­ter­est­ing, it grips you right from the word ‘Go’. It makes you smile, it re­ally touches your heart. It is one of the films that I’m truly proud of.

Are you happy with the kind of roles com­ing your way? Or do you ex­pect a cer­tain genre or role to be ap­proached for? I am very happy with the kind of roles and ev­ery­thing else com­ing my way. In fact, anything in my life that I pick up to­day, the kind of work I take is be­cause I like do­ing it. I did do a film called Gu­laab Gang about two years ago and I just had such a great time play­ing a neg­a­tive role. The re­sponse kind of sur­prised me. I was re­ally hop­ing to get more such neg­a­tive, juicy roles, which never hap­pened. I’m going to be work­ing soon in fun, cute, lov­able kind of roles that I was al­ways known for. Though I tried to swim against the tides and do some­thing new, it is just that I’m known to be a cer­tain kind of per­son that ex­udes some kind of fun stuff on­screen and I’m happy with that.

Do you be­lieve that ‘Juhi Chawla’ as an ac­tor has been ap­pre­ci­ated enough? Who am I and what ac­tress are we talk­ing about? As a per­son also, I think I have re­ceived more than I ever dreamt of. If I re­ally look back squarely at my­self, I would say I was an in­tel­li­gent, maybe at­trac­tive girl, but I was given some ex­tra or­di­nary chances in life. To­day, when I go any­where, all the Asians across the world know me. Most of the peo­ple tell me how they en­joyed and liked my work on­screen. I think it is such a big gift al­ready. What­ever work I’ve done, God’s been very kind and show­ered me with so much name, fame, adu­la­tion and love. I’m ex­tremely grate­ful and I to­tally ap­pre­ci­ate what has hap­pened to me.

You have done quite a lot of films with Shah Rukh Khan from Ra­juBanGaya Gen­tle­man, D arr, RamJaa ne, Du­pli­cate, Yes sB os sand more. And you also are a co-owner of KKR with him. There have al­ways been praises about your

friend­ship and con­jec­ture about your al­leged ri­valry. Has the equa­tion with SRK evolved over the years?

Shah Rukh has been a very good friend since we started our ca­reers al­most at the same time. We saw dizzy­ing heights of fame and name to­gether. Of course, he is still shin­ing very bright. We have cer­tainly been through big highs and lows, but he is and will al­ways be a good friend of mine. Al­though, now I don’t meet him that of­ten since he’s busy work­ing. How­ever, what binds us to­gether is our as­so­ci­a­tion with KKR. We now have Trin­bago Knight Riders of Caribbean Premier League, Capetown Knight Riders and the Global African League. Our as­so­ci­a­tion through an­other means is grow­ing or rather the Knight Rider fam­ily has grown.

Ini­tially,youw­eretheone whom Ra­jaHin­dus­tani and Dil ToPa­galHai was of­fered to. Do

you re­gret the de­ci­sion of not tak­ing them up?

Yes, I was of­fered these films but it was at a time in my ca­reer when I was fly­ing very high. I just had Darr, Hum Hai Rahi

Pyaar Ke... all re­leased and maybe some more. All these films had re­ally made me look fab­u­lous and I thought... Well, I wasn’t think­ing ac­tu­ally! I was just fly­ing too high, my head was in the clouds and my feet were off the ground. I was mak­ing silly de­ci­sions and these were some of them. Later on when they be­came suc­cess­ful, of course I won­dered, ‘What did I do?’ But that re­al­iza­tion came much later and now I joke about it and I say, ‘You know what, I made Karisma Kapoor the star she is’. (laughs) These films went from me to her and then she did what she had to and it be­came very suc­cess­ful. I learnt that this is what they say about star­dom that when you’re suc­cess­ful, to keep at it, to keep work­ing, to be sen­si­ble at that time, that’s dif­fi­cult. I went through that phase. I was young and I was not be­ing sen­si­ble at that time.

Af­ter work­ing in Gu­laabGang with Mad­huri Dixit, are you com­fort­able with each other?

I was al­ways com­fort­able with Mad­huri Dixit. I was just not com­fort­able work­ing with her be­fore that, be­cause you just asked me about Dil Toh Pa­gal Hai, ini­tially I was be­ing of­fered the sec­ond role with Mad­huri Dixit which I didn’t take up then. But later on in Gu­laab Gang, I took the role be­cause we were do­ing to­tally dif­fer­ent char­ac­ters, oth­er­wise I’m to­tally com­fort­able. Now I guess af­ter Gu­laab Gang, work­ing with her on­screen would be eas­ier.

There are ac­tors in the in­dus­try who are re­mem­bered for the char­ac­ters they play, long af­ter the film has come and gone. But with you, apart from Ki­ran, you’ve been thought of as a bub­bly cheer­ful char­ac­ter. Do you re­gret do­ing any film or roles that could’ve added to the most ‘mem­o­rable’ role list?

With this one ques­tion you have negated so many of my lovely films. You for­got my film Aaina where I played Seema, Seema again in YessBoss, Rashmi in Qaya­mat Se Qaya­mat Tak,

Vy­jayanti in Hum Hain Raahi Pyaar Ke, you only re­mem­ber Shah Rukh’s, ‘K..K.K... Ki­ran’. And even my out­ra­geously funny film Ishq or so many other beau­ti­ful films that I did. I’ll say for the mo­ment that, it’s been 28-29 years in the in­dus­try, the fact that you’re still here in­ter­view­ing me, I’m still around, rel­e­vant and do­ing films, I think that in it­self is such a big bless­ing. Also, for a bub­bly, funny char­ac­ter, I was so happy do­ing that be­cause I found that when I was try­ing to en­act - be it a se­duc­tress or some­thing else, firstly, it was dif­fi­cult for me and sec­ondly, it used to un­nerve me. What came very eas­ily and what I en­joyed tremen­dously was be­ing cheeky, funny, putting a smile on my face as well as the view­ers’ face. And I loved it that! I was seen as the girl you could take home to your mom. I’m so glad that my char­ac­ters have stayed on in the minds of peo­ple. I take that as a huge com­pli­ment.

I was just fly­ing too high, my head was in the clouds and my feet were off the ground..”

You have cer­tainly evolved as an ac­tor, hu­man be­ing and a par­ent. Are you happy with where you cur­rently are?

So I read this thing on, ‘What is hap­pi­ness?’ Ba­si­cally, when, what you think, you say and what you do are in har­mony, then you’re happy. And if that is so, then I’m ab­so­lutely in bliss right now be­cause I do the work that I like, I get time to spend with my fam­ily and I also do so­cial work which makes me feel good. Anything that I don’t wish to do, I just po­litely de­cline. I’m the clos­est to be­ing me to­day, who I truly am. It gives me so much calm­ness in my head. It’s fab­u­lous!

There are re­ports that it was you who got Manoj Ba­j­payee re­placed with Rishi Kapoor in ChalknDuster… is this true? What’s your say on this?

Are you try­ing to get me into trou­ble ask­ing me all these funny ques­tions that I got some­body re­placed. Can I re­ally do that? No! All I’d say is what­ever hap­pened and what­ever hap­pens in life is finally what’s meant to be and Chintu ji just did a fab­u­lous job. He added so much soul and spirit to the cli­max of Chalk n Duster. That too it was Sha­bana ji who re­quested Chintu ji to do this, to which he agreed.

How con­fi­dent are you work­ing with the new gen lead­ing ladies? You think shar­ing the same screen could pos­si­bly take away spot­light from you?

Of course, I’m not in com­pe­ti­tion with them! Why would I be un­com­fort­able? I know that they will do their role which I used to do in the ‘90s and early 2000, it is their time now. I do what I can do very well. I al­ways have a place of my­self in the film. I

Some­times I want to kick my­self for not hav­ing that smart an­swer at the right mo­ment.”

ab­so­lutely know and ac­cept it and I’m very happy with that. I wouldn’t want to be danc­ing around and ro­manc­ing any hero now. I’m ex­tremely com­fort­able work­ing with a lot of girls if they are with me.

You had once said on stage that you’re the only hero­ine of that time who Sal­man hasn’t shared a screen with, on which Bhai replied that you were the one who turned down a film with him and now you can play his mother. How is your re­la­tion­ship with Sal­man?

Some­times I want to kick my­self for not hav­ing... that smart an­swer at the right mo­ment. This was at the shoot­ing of Bigg Boss where Sal­man is the host. I just ran­domly asked him, ‘Why haven’t we worked to­gether?’ and I don’t know what strange an­swer he gave. When in my life have I not agreed to do a film with Sal­man? This must have been re­ally early in my ca­reer and he said that, ‘Now you can play the mother’, I should’ve just said, ‘Yes and you could’ve played the fa­ther’, but some­where I was so busy try­ing to think some­thing at that mo­ment. For­get what’s hap­pened in the past! Maybe in the fu­ture, let’s see if there can be a role for me.

Why haven’t you acted in more films af­ter ChalkNDuster? I did a lit­tle cameo in a web­series for Nagesh Kukunoor which is ex­tremely well-writ­ten and then I did a lovely guest ap­pear­ance in a chil­dren’s film in Kan­nada which is called Very Good 10/10. Mean­while, there’s noth­ing in­ter­est­ing that came my way and now it has, but I would wait for the pro­duc­tion team to make the an­nounce­ment. When in my life have I not agreed to do a film with Sal­man?” You’ve gone be­yond act­ing, and now you have your fin­gers in dif­fer­ent pies, can you tell us a bit about your work and so­cial en­deav­ours? The prob­lem is, I can’t tell you a lit­tle, I can tell you a lot. A lit­tle doesn’t do it jus­tice. Be­cause the is­sues I have picked up are colos­sal, they af­fect ev­ery liv­ing cell on the planet. The chem­i­cals that leech out when plas­tic comes in con­tact with heat, wind and wa­ter are toxic caus­ing haz­ardous dis­eases. Af­ter re­search­ing a lot, I felt there are im­por­tant things like these which are not taught to us, nor are we teach­ing our chil­dren about this. Then I be­gan to dig deeper, and what I heard about plas­tic made my jaw drop dis­be­lief and alarm! That is why I have ac­tively been work­ing to­wards cre­at­ing aware­ness on plas­tic pol­lu­tion. In the past few years, I have started do­ing or­ganic farm­ing, this is in the lit­tle farms that I have out­side of Mum­bai. Once you have chil­dren, you start think­ing about their health and what you feed­ing them. It’s very dis­turb­ing that we have chem­i­cals in our food. I’m plant­ing a lot of trees, about 70-80 more trees this year.

What’s the worst critic re­view you’ve ever heard about your­self?

One thing that I take pride in my­self is that no mat­ter which film, my work is al­ways good be­cause I give the same at­ten­tion to ev­ery film. Of course for big­ger films, I’ll work a lit­tle harder, but for me, my work is wor­ship. My worst critic re­view I think was when some­body had writ­ten, ‘Juhi is good as usual’, and I felt, ‘What? Why can’t you just open your heart and say ‘She was good’, what does good as usual mean? That’s what comes to my mind!

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