MADHURI DIXIT: THE LIGHT FANTASTIC TOE!

By Suhel Johar

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When it comes to action and movement, Madhuri Dixit is no lumbering Gajagamini. She has come a long way since her debut in 1984 with the almost forgotten Rajshri Productions' film 'Abodh'. It was only after Subhash Ghai signed her to do a cameo in 'Karma' that other big time filmmakers started taking note of her. The role in 'Karma' was a dance sequence that ultimately did not find a place in the final cut. Then came 'Tezaab', and Madhuri had everybody dancing to the tune of the 'Ek Do Teen' number.

The jig continued with "Tamma Tamma' and "Hum To Aajkal Hai' in the films 'Thanedaar' and 'Sailaab', respectively. Similarly, she had the audience gyrating with her when she sang 'Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai' in 'Khalnayak' and 'Didi Tera Devar Diwana' in 'Hum Aapke Hain Koun'.

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All this time she kept evolving as an actress and proving her histrionic talent in film after film. In a career spanning 15 years, she has acted in over 70 movies. 'Lajja', 'Devdas', 'Yeh Raaste Hain Pyaar Ke' and 'Hum Aapke Hain Sanam' are still in the making, and her career is far from over. She has always seemed to enjoy her work and tried to excel in whatever she was required to do. To her credit are films like 'Tezaab', 'Beta', 'Dayavan', 'Dil', 'Hum Aapke Hain Koun', 'Parinda', 'Pukar', 'Prem Granth', 'Sangeet', 'Prahaar' , 'Raja' , 'Ram Lakhan', 'Saajan', 'Mrityudand'and 'Dil To Pagal Hai'.

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The three films that she has enjoyed working in the most are 'Tezaab', 'Sangeet' and 'Beta' while the three roles done by other actresses that she would have liked to do are Nargis' role in 'Mother India', Madhubala's role in 'Mughal-e-Azam' and Meenakshi Seshadhri's role in 'Damini'. Madhuri justfies her choice: 'Tezaab' is a favourite film of mine for various factors. It was my first real success and it brought me recognition not only as a good actress but as a good dancer too. Though 'Sangeet' didn't do too well, making the film was very satisfying. It was a very emotional film with different shades, as I played a young girl and an elderly woman. It was also a very good experience to work with K.Vishwanath. It was one of my most complete roles and a great challenge. 'Beta' was another good experience. I enjoyed working with Anil Kapoor and Aroona Irani on the film. The cat and mouse game I played with Aroona Irani was very interesting. It was not as if the bahu walked out and took revenge but it was like a game of chess. Though an out-and-out commercial film, it also conveyed a message."

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"Nargis' role in Mother India was a once in a lifetime one and it had many facets: she evolved from a young woman to a mother of grown-up sons. It was a very well etched role that one can identify with even today. The turbulence she faces seems so real. The intensity of her performance is remarkable." Madhubala's role in Mughal-e-Azam is another favorite of mine. She was the most beautiful woman of the Indian screen, and the film, one of the best. If you see the film at face value, it is just a love story; but the way it was handled was so beautiful and realistic, it touched you. The sad ending made it even more poignant and worth watching. Meenakshi Seshadhri's role in 'Damini' was of a strong woman who believes completely in right and wrong and stands steadfast for what she believes in. Such an idealistic woman character is rare, yet there was a touch of humor to it also. The role had lots of shades and I would have loved to play it."

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