Receding quietly, gracefully and then returning with furious vigour. That has been the recurring pattern in actress Madhoo’s life. It appears to have begun in the late 80s, when she was unceremoniously dropped from the acting school she had enrolled in. The reason was that she couldn’t speak Hindi properly, was a bit too plump, her teeth needed braces and her hair, a cut. Stung by the blow, Madhoo transformed herself almost overnight into a diva with super hits like ‘Roja’ and ‘Phool Aur Kaante’.
And in the 90s, she mesmerized both Hindi and South Indian audiences with films like Yeshwant, Roja, Kadhalan, Diljale and Pehchaan, to name a few.
Then she quit; just as quickly as she had risen. Simply because she wasn’t getting the meaningful roles that she was looking for. And now, after a long hiatus, the enigmatic beauty is all set to cast her spell once again with Rajshri Productions’ ‘Love You… Mr. Kalakaar’, directed by S. Manasvi, starring Tusshar Kapoor and Amrita Rao. The South Indian stunner, who also happens to be dream girl Hema Malini’s niece, plays Amrita Rao’s aunt in the unique love story directed by debutant S. Manasvi. The decade long break from Bollywood, however, does seem to have made a difference.
For, while earlier, there was a relentless determination to prove herself, Madhoo’s current stint began with some apprehensions. “I used to wonder if I’d be able to tune in with the new generation of actors and perform flawlessly before the camera. After all, I had been away for quite a long time,” she says. Fortunately, it was Hema Malini herself who gave her the opportunity to test herself. “Hema offered me a role in her film ‘Tell Me O Khuda’. And although it was all in the family, it did give me the opportunity to start working again,” Madhoo acknowledges.
The offer for the role in ‘Love You… Mr. Kalakaar’ from Sooraj Barjatya got her immensely excited. However, along with the elation, all the fears and apprehensions also came right back. “I was so happy to know that someone like Soorajji was offering me the film. And at the same time, I thought this would be my first strictly professional assignment after my break. Will I be able to do justice to my role? Will I be comfortable with the other actors? But all these fears vanished on the first day itself,” Madhoo reveals. “I must say, everyone – Soorajji, Manasvi, Amrita, Tusshar and Ram (Kapoor) made me feel as if I always belonged here. And I really appreciate the immense respect they gave me throughout the time we worked together. This is something I will cherish the most,” Madhoo says emotionally. Besides the respect, what the formidable actress also got were some memorable moments while performing. Like the one where she actually got startled and cried when Ram Kapoor, her co-star in the scene, had to scream his lines angrily at her. And as for her performance, Ram has the last word: “When I apologized for surprising her like this and making her really cry, she said it was okay; the camera would now get her genuine reaction. That was when I realised that here was an actor who was so deeply involved with her work. And after that, every scene between us looked perfectly natural.”