It's the most awaited comeback in Bollywood and the wait is going to end soon. Her film Aaja Nachle, hits the cinemas worldwide on Friday and she is all set to melt the hearts of millions with her million dollar smile. In this exclusive interview, Devansh Patel speaks to the Indian Film Industry's heartbeat or shall I say...’Dhak Dhak’ - Madhuri Dixit.
1988 film Tezaab's Ek Do Teen song brought you in the limelight and gave Bollywood it's biggest star. What is Aaja Nachle going to do next?
I don't know. I think people will have to tell me what the film is going to do. All I can say is that I've had fun working in this movie and it's been great. The kind of response I got from the people, the way they accepted me after five years all goes to show that I am back to where I belong, in Bollywood. How emotional are you feeling today while talking about Aaja Nachle?
It's a bit emotional but yet exciting for me. There are butterflies in my stomach right now. You wonder how will people react to the film, what's going to happen next, will I be able to deliver the goods, etc. But so far the reaction has been good. People have loved the promos and we have kept our fingers crossed.
When Aditya Chopra approached you with the script, did you instantly agree to do the film or was he in for a shock of his life?
When Aditya came to meet me, he was very keen that he wanted only me to do this film as he had specially scripted the film with me in mind. So I told him that do people still want to see me again because it's almost five years that I have been out of the industry. Then when I read the script I thought that I could draw some parallels to my life. Aaja Nachle is a fun film with music and dance. It's very realistic and contemporary too.
Does that mean that the film has an underlined message?
Yes, it does have. The new cultures from the West are always going to come in and there are going to be lot of influences on our own culture. But in spite of that, we should not forget our identity and tradition. You can invite new cultures but try and nourish your own, is what the message of the film is.
How was your journey from Denver to India and describe your first day in front of the camera after five years.
My journey was a long one. It took me 22 hours to reach India and then it took another two hours to get to Shamli, the make believe town where we have shot the film. It's been a wonderful journey. When I met the whole cast and crew, I stood in front of the camera to decide whether I should quit or not? But once the camera rolled, everything else just melted away.
Was it difficult to work with new comers like Kunal Kapoor, Konkana Sen Sharma, Ranvir Shorey and Vinay?
You know the funny thing is that it wasn't difficult at all. They are so sweet, they are so likeable, they are so bright and at the end of the day they are such good actors that it's been fun working with them. Even though Kunal Kapoor and a few others are not so experienced, they are so professional that you start wondering if you are actually working with the new bunch of actors. Even Ranvir and Vinay are so natural and have immense talent. There was a lot of life and energy in all the scenes we have performed together.
You came, you acted and then you had to part. I mean, how was your last day of the shoot?
Don't remind me of that! We all got so emotional. I was fortunate to be a part of such a big family that it was difficult to leave the cast and the crew. We all nearly had tears in our eyes but thankfully no one cried.
So what is the secret behind your gorgeous figure and your energetic dance moves even after being a mother of two?
It is just my love for dancing and keeping myself fit which I think is so important in today's time. In fact, my kids love dancing too and you will always find them shaking a leg or two at home.
Any memorable incident during the shoot of the film?
We had this scene where they were suppose to use the projector and I see something on screen and it's a sad scene where I had to cry because my guru (teacher) is dying. The crew then brought these little old projector reels that had Charlie Chaplin on it. I think I must be the only person in the world who has cried while watching Charlie Chaplin on screen so that's a memorable scene that sticks out in my mind because I had to just ignore the fact that it's Charlie Chaplin and not watch it and yet I was looking at the projector and crying away.
Do you miss working with your yesteryear co-stars like Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor, Shah Rukh Khan, etc?
Yes, I do miss working with them but who knows, one day I might be signing a film opposite them if the script demands it. We will have to wait and watch.
How different is it working with your producer Yash Raj Films after a decade?
Yash Raj Films have always been very organized but now I would say they are super organized, they are like ten steps ahead of what they used to be and it's always a delight to work with them again. It's also funny that I always wanted to work with my director of Aaja Nachle, Anil Mehta, before but in a different capacity. I wanted him as a cameraman for one of my projects and it didn't happen at that time so I think God had different plans then in his mind and now here I am working with him. It's been a wonderful experience. Yashji has always kept their standards high in filmmaking which will never change.
Can you tell us something about the character you play in this film?
The character I play is called Diya. She is extremely strong and is very independent. She actually elopes from her village with someone she falls in love with and tries to make a life for herself in New York where she realizes that the person she ran away with is not the same; somewhere she realizes that this not what she had come for. She is a choreographer and a mother who makes a life for herself in the unknown country. But when she has to come back to her village to see her dying guru, she faces too many problems. People don't like her anymore and think that she has brought with her the Western influence. How Diya tries to save something that is very close to her heart, something that she believes in and how she stands by it and how she see's the whole mission through is what the movie is all about.
What was it like working with Anil Mehta?
It's been wonderful, I used to always think I am the only patient person in the world and that I am very mellow but when I worked with Anil Mehta I realized there is another person who is much more patient than I am, much calmer then I am and that has helped me a lot because he's always been very patient even if we were shooting in the sun or the worst weather. He has been a pillar to all actors. He knows exactly what he wants, what the shot is going to be and never hesitated in letting ourselves experiment.
How do you prioritize your personal and professional life together?
I have my priorities set right. My kids are my first concern. Even when I was working I made sure they were comfortable so I didn't have to worry about anything once I go on the sets. Yashji was very sweet. He made a play area in case they come on sets so that they can go and play while I am shooting. Their grandparents were there too. My mother in-law came in for sometime. My husband came twice to be with the kids for a good 10-15 days. I had all this support around me and it became possible for me to shoot without any tension on my head. I think my kids enjoyed themselves getting pampered, meeting my cousins who have kids of their age; they were socializing, watching movies and having fun. Its been a great learning experience for my kids as they have opened up and learnt different languages too.
Any parting message for your fans?
Here's wishing all my fans a very Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year. Thank you for all your lovely letters. It's very touching and keep watching my films as we make them with a lot of heart and sweat. I love you all.