By Subhash K. Jha, Indo-Asian News Service
Mumbai, Oct 8 (IANS) Rekha, one of the most versatile actresses in Bollywood, turns 51 Tuesday and says she has reached a stage where she can do justice to any role offered to her.
"For the past 10 years I've reached a stage where I could do justice to any role that came my way. It could be the role of a mother, sister-in-law, a negative or positive role. I've done it all with equal sincerity and passion," Rekha told IANS.
The actress says she is fortunate as people notice her in the minutest of roles.
"I'm blessed because people notice me even if I appear at a function for two minutes. My appearance in 'Krrish' too is rather brief.
"Today I think I'm at the best stage of my life and career. No matter what I do, people are responsive and, to my good fortune, appreciative."
Q: Javed Akhtar thinks you've touched new chords in your performing prowess in "Krrish"?
A: What can I say? I'm really honoured and touched. He had felt the same way about me in "Lajja". These days I'm lucky if I'm noticed for my roles. I just breeze in and breeze out on screen.
Q: Why do you say that?
A: That's how brief my appearances are both on and off screen. I'm blessed because people notice me even if I appear at a function for two minutes. My appearance in "Krrish" too is rather brief. Simiji (Garewal) saw the film and said she can't bear to see me as a grandmother.
Q: That thought is unacceptable to me also.
A: You forget that I'm an actor. For the past 10 years I've reached a stage where I could do justice to any role that came my way. It could be the role of a mother, sister-in-law or a negative or positive role. I've done it all with equal sincerity and passion. I was asked why I did a negative role in "Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi" or soft porn like Basu Bhattacharya's "Astha"? After "Astha" people had a lot to say about my role of a wife who moonlights as a prostitute. I don't have problems playing anything.
Q: Why this democratic attitude for an actress known to be super-selective?
A: I was never selective. Nor do I believe any longer that I'm the chosen one. Nowadays I believe I'm one of the chosen ones because there're so many others.
You know being a character actor isn't a blessing in India. Abroad even an actor like Al Pacino is treated like a character actor and given his rightful place.
Q: Aren't you over-modest at times.
A: No no ... too much importance has been given to my glamour, clothes ... Today I think I'm at the best stage of my life and career. No matter what I do, people are responsive and, to my good fortune, appreciative. And I say this with utmost humility and sincerity. There's nothing else I can do on this earth to earn a living except acting.
The fact is, and this will shock you, I don't say no to any offer except when I feel the producer or director's intentions aren't honest and he's just trying to fire the gun from my shoulders.
Q: I don't believe you!
A: Come on, the fact that I did "Bachke Rehna Re Baba" is proof of what I'm saying. I do anything that comes my way because I've the confidence and belief in myself and my fans. We share a symbiotic relationship. I also share a similar relationship of give-and-take with my directors. Even my family has been embarrassed by some of my films.
Q: So do you think you haven't been too fortunate with roles?
A: No. On the contrary, everything I've done has taken me higher. Everything that has happened in my life has been a blessing. I consider myself the most fortunate person I know. For me no film has been mediocre. It's been my baby - whether handicapped or sick, you don't reject your baby. I've nurtured them all.
Q: How did "Krrish" happen?
A: When Gudduji (Rakesh Roshan) called and said he's doing a sequel to "Koi...Mil Gaya", I immediately said yes. I was Hrithik Roshan's mother in the first one so I had to be his character's son's grandmother - as simple as that.
If I feel a film is right, then I don't question anything about it - not even the script, though I must confess its a very important aspect of a film.
Q: You seem to trust your own judgement completely?
A: I've used my instincts so well and so continuously, I trust it completely.
Q: You and Rakesh Roshan go back a long way.
A: Yes. We do! He reminded me of how I had agreed to do "Khubsoorat" with him and how grateful he was. I told him, 'I don't remember you in that film'. All I remember is how Hrishida pampered me on the sets.
Q: Okay make a true confession.
A: I love my profession. It's my first love, and that's a true confession. Everything else came later. My profession has been totally true to me as long as I've been true to it. Every time I falter in a performance - dialogue, shot or look - I've come out with one positive lesson or another.