Celebrity Interview: Urmila Matondkar ...

By Subhash K. Jha, Indo-Asian News Service

imageMumbai, Aug 28 (IANS) Dancing on screen super hit item number "Mehbooba..." from "Sholay" is going to be a challenge, says Urmila Matondkar, who pays a tribute to yesteryear dancing queen Helen in the remake of the 1970s blockbuster.

"It's going to be exciting. 'Mehbooba...' is a song that I've danced to at parties and at discotheques. To do it on screen would be a challenging and groovy experience," said Urmila.

She is contented with her films this year and looking forward to her forthcoming films - "Bas Ek Pal" and "Speed". However, rumours about her relationship with director Ram Gopal Varma upset her.

"I think it's high time a part of the media stop rushing for news where there's none. At least a certain breed of makers and stars who have a mutual respect and who do productive work together should be exempted from gossipy scrutiny."

Excerpts:

Q: There was a rumour that you will feature in Karan Johar's "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna"?

A: Who wouldn't want to be in Karan's film? He's a very dear friend and he is such a warm soul, everyone thinks he's their best friend. I also happen to be one of his dear friends. He is such a wonderful warm and humble human being.

Q: You are paying a tribute to Helen by doing her "Mehbooba..." item for Ram Gopal Varma's "Sholay".

A: It's going to be exciting. "Mehbooba..." is a song that I've danced to at parties and at discotheques. To do it on screen would be a challenging and groovy experience. Just sharing screen space with Mr. Bachchan would be exciting.

Tributes such as this one, especially if you've been a movie buff all your life, are worthwhile. I remember I had a done a tribute to all the R.D. Burman tunes at a Sahara event and I was the only actress who was actually singing along the songs on stage, and dancing like the original actresses.

I'm the happiest when I'm dancing. In fact I'm a happy person by nature, something that a lot of people cannot digest. At this stage in my career, all the world cannot be a stage. I've to be very choosy in what I do.

Q: So what makes you a happy person?

A: I don't know. But journalists like to see unhappy situations in stars' lives. Sorry, I can't oblige.

Q: Another year gone by. What do you feel about it?

A: It was an interesting year. It started with "Naina", which took a thumping opening. That surprised people. "Naina" had no star except me.

But because of the bomb blasts in Delhi the same week "Jo Bole So Nihaal" and "Naina" got affected. People were too shaken up to come to the theatre. Then I had "Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara" where I had people from all walks of life coming forward to praise me. I stuck my neck out to do this film.

As Shabana-ji said, it takes guts to do something where you're constantly pushing the envelope. When I read the script I knew it was Anupam's film, not mine. But I was impressed by the Gandhian theme and its relevance today. I learnt a lot from Anupam and director Jahnu Barua.

Q: How does the coming year look to you?

A: Equally fulfilling. There's Harry Baweja-Vikram Bhatt's thriller. It's been titled "Speed". There's Onirban's "Bas Ek Pal". I'm with Sanjay Suri, Juhi Chawla and Rehaan Engineer. I like working with actors I haven't worked with before.

I'll also be doing a film with Ram Gopal Varma with a new director Taufeeq. All I can tell you is that it is a very intense subject. And I'm definitely doing it.

Q: It's amazing how you haven't allowed your professional relationship with Varma to suffer in spite of all the unsavoury speculation.

A: I really think it's really time for all of us to take a mature view of working relationships in the film industry. Just because two individuals work closely and well it doesn't mean their rapport should be subject to constant scrutiny.

Likewise, actors should not allow unsavoury talk to colour their professionalism. I've said innumerable times if there's something worth doing together with Varma I've no problems doing it. We've done some brilliant work together in the past. And I've no intentions of lowering the bars for our collaboration.

And those who keep harping on why I'm not working with Varma, let me remind them even when they were harping on us not working together we did "Ek Hasina Thi". It got me many best-actress nominations and did well enough at the box office although it was a song-less unconventional thriller.

I think it's high time a part of the media stop rushing for news where there's none. At least a certain breed of makers and stars, who have a mutual respect and who do productive work together, should be exempted from gossipy scrutiny.

I don't want to trivialise our collaboration by constantly defending it. But our next movie will definitely be a step forward for the two of us. He is a fine filmmaker. It would be stupid on my part to stop working with him just because of all the nonsense that's written. I treat all the idle gossip as a professional hazard.

Q: So what's the most precious gift you've received in life?

A: The love that I got from my loved ones is way beyond anything I can describe. I don't think my life would be worth living without their love.

Q: What about the one love that we're all waiting to see in your life?

A: I'm waiting for it too. That will have to wait for the time being. Getting married is a little far off right now. How about falling in love first?

Q: How about marriage first love later?

A: For me that seems a little far-fetched. I never made plans for my career. I can't make any plans for marriage. When it will happen, it will happen. I've always lived my life with fierce honesty. I guess that quality will be seen in my choice for a soulmate also.

Right now I'm comfortable in my space. I never peer anxiously at what others are doing. I think that's for losers.