‘I do whatever makes me happy’: Madhuri Dixit Nene on Bucket List and more – It’s another frenetic day in the life of Madhuri Dixit-Nene. The actress, who will be making her Marathi film debut with Bucket List, is busy with the film’s promotions. I wait patiently as she faces the camera for TV channels. There’s no doubting her star power as people on the sets watch her spellbound. She flashes her famous million-dollar smile as we sit down to talk about Bucket List, her long innings in Hindi cinema and working with the newer lot of actors…
Was doing a Marathi movie always at the back of your mind, or was this one of the ‘If it has to happen, it will happen’ situations?
Yes, it was more like, ‘When it has to happen, it will happen’. I believe that if something is in your destiny, you will do it. When I was offered the film, I loved the subject immediately. I was open to doing a Marathi film, but it wasn’t that I was consciously planning on doing one. I read the synopsis, asked the makers to develop it further and narrate the script to me. They took around six to seven weeks to do so, following which I asked them for a few tweaks.
You found your character — Madhura Sane — relatable?
Yes, I loved the script because it’s so relatable. Every woman goes through these things. She plays so many roles in her life that she forgets herself. She loses her individuality because of all the responsibilities. In the film, one incident changes everything. She finds herself again. And that changes the perception of the people around her. It’s a self-awakening kind of a movie, but the story is told in a simple manner. Bucket List is a happy film.
Marathi films tend to have a more intimate setting as the productions are smaller. So, how was that experience?
It’s comforting. Since I’ve grown up in a Maharashtrian family, it was a comfortable set-up. Everyone pampered me.
They used to get me food all the time. Vandana tai (co-star Vandana Gupte), especially, would get me modaks and puran polis. She was feeding me continuously, so I had to go on a Keto diet after the shoot (laughs). But there was so much love and affection from everyone that it was wonderful.
Would you consider completing someone else’s bucket list in real life?
Yes, why not? If it’s something that I can manage to do, I will try my best. Aren’t we always completing our kids’ bucket lists (laughs). ‘Can we do this?’ “Can we go there?’… the list is endless.
You transitioned from being an actress to a wife and a mother. And now you are back as an actress pretty successfully. What’s your secret?
I think it’s just happiness. I do whatever makes me happy. I started doing films because it had singing, dancing, everything that I enjoyed. When I met the right person, I married him because it made me happy. Then I had kids, which was something I was looking forward to. I always wanted to have children, I wanted to have 12 actually, but when you are a professional you get into that zone late. When I wanted to come back, I did that, but I took enough time off to be with my sons. Even tomorrow, if I feel the need to take some time off, I will do it because that would give me satisfaction.
Success or talent, what matters more for longevity in the industry?
You need to have both — discipline and talent. You also have to be professional. You can’t disrespect other people’s time. That’s how I’ve always looked at it.
After Bucket List, you have Total Dhamaal and Kalank lined up. That’s three films back-to-back. What’s this phase like for you?
It’s a busy, busy phase (laughs). I am doing the promotions for Bucket List, then I am shooting for Total Dhamaal and Kalaank. Right now, I’m super busy, but I’m happy (laughs).
Are you satisfied with the kind of scripts that are being offered to you?
Definitely. The kind of scripts that I have heard in the last six months have been amazing. But I can’t really complain because, in my career, I have got very good roles to play. From Tezaab to Dil, Beta, Hum Aapke Hain Koun..!, to Raja or even Mrityudand. I was lucky that I got the right kind of roles and played these varied characters.
From the time you started off to now, there has been a rise in the ratio of women present on the sets. Do you notice the difference?
Oh yes, absolutely. It’s so heartening to see that. There are women everywhere now. There’s a woman camera person on the sets of Total Dhamaal. I am so enthused by it. When I walk on the sets and see so many women around, I feel so proud.
You are working with the younger lot of actors now — Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt…
It’s wonderful working with them. I did one scene with Alia and one with Varun. It’s great to see their enthusiasm for their work. Alia is a wonderful actress. I really admire her work. It’ll be great working with all of them.