For Madhuri Dixit, ‘The Fame Sport’ Feels Acquainted, if Not the Medium
The Bollywood actress Madhuri Dixit is thought for a lot of issues: She has appeared in over 75 motion pictures, her profession within the Hindi movie trade has spanned greater than three many years, and she or he is a professionally skilled Kathak dancer. (She was even a muse of the Indian painter M.F. Husain.)
However for the director and screenwriter Sri Rao, Dixit was greater than a Bollywood megastar. Rao grew up in a small city in Pennsylvania with mother and father who as soon as known as India house, and Bollywood grew to become a hyperlink between the cultures that outlined him. Years later, Dixit’s outsize celeb impressed Rao to create “The Fame Sport,” Dixit’s first common function in a serious streaming collection.
“It’s onerous for me to adequately describe her to people who aren’t accustomed to who she is, as a result of we don’t have a comparable analogy in America,” Rao stated about Dixit in a current cellphone interview. “I attempt to say she’s like Julia Roberts and Madonna and Meryl Streep all rolled into one, as a result of her degree of stardom is up to now past something that we all know of within the West.”
“The Fame Sport,” which hit Netflix final month, follows the story of Anamika Anand, a Bollywood star with related qualities to Dixit’s. Each have fame that has persevered through the years, and each are recognized for being unimaginable actors and dancers. Within the present, Anand’s life seems to be filled with stardom and glamour, however when she immediately goes lacking, the facade rapidly begins to crumble. The present has been praised by critics and has appeared in Netflix’s Prime 10 most-watched listing in additional than 10 international locations, together with India, Pakistan and Australia.
Dixit, whom The New York Instances described because the “reigning queen of Bombay’s film industry” in 2002 and a “Bollywood goddess” in 2007, has usually tried to keep away from labels herself. Across the flip of the millennium, she left India for over a decade, selecting to start out a household in america. For many of that point, she additionally stored the movie trade at arm’s size. In 2011, she got here again to India together with her husband and two kids — and again to the flicks. However for followers, the phrase “comeback” might by no means stick; her picture again house was nonetheless so ubiquitous, it was as if she had by no means left.
In an interview final month, Dixit mentioned the pervasive nature of stardom and the adjustments Bollywood has undergone throughout her profession. These are edited excerpts from the dialog.
What was it like doing a collection as an alternative of movie?
Whenever you do a collection, you get lots of time to develop not solely your individual character but additionally the characters round you. They’ve their very own little tales, and all of the relationships come by fantastically as a result of each character is developed. I feel it turns into a extra fascinating watch.
How a lot do you and Anamika have in frequent, and the way did your experiences affect the way you portrayed her?
On the floor, Anamika and I are very related within the sense that we’re massive stars, and she or he’s additionally had lots of expertise in a discipline I’ve labored in for therefore lengthy. I’ve a household and children, and I’m a spouse, daughter, a mom, all these roles. However her experiences are very completely different from mine as a result of I used to be very sheltered. I had a mother who was very caring and really protecting, and Anamika’s mom is extra domineering. I really like taking part in her as a result of her journey is so completely different from mine.
This is without doubt one of the solely streaming collection that has centered on the underbelly of Bollywood. How reasonable did that portrayal really feel to you?
Anamika continues to be caught in that period the place all the things was dumped on you mainly, like: “You must do that. You must look a specific manner. You must behave a specific manner.” And I feel with me, I had just a little extra freedom to decide on what I needed to do. I bought alternatives to work with superb administrators and scripts that had been very, very ahead for that point.
Anamika is caught in that world the place it’s very patriarchal. Now she’s attempting to create that house for herself and she or he is struggling not solely with that, but additionally together with her household points and all the things. So her journey has been completely different, however within the present there are lots of feedback on the trade which might be very actual.
How has the trade modified since your earliest days?
I used to be fortunate to get roles the place the girl was the middle of all the things, though after I began off, it was a really male-dominated trade. The one females on set was me, my hairdresser and whoever was taking part in the feminine characters within the film. Now after I stroll right into a set, I see ladies in every single place in each division, whether or not it’s the [director of photography], or it’s a make-up artist. Right this moment you see ladies behind the digicam, ladies administrators, and there’s lots of energy ladies have now.
What has made Hindi cinema, and possibly India at giant, extra open to being by, for and about women?
I feel society has modified on the whole. I keep in mind once we used to speak a couple of female-centric movie, it was both somebody who’s a sufferer and who rises up ultimately, or somebody who has been wronged and goes to avenge her modesty. However right now, ladies are seen and perceived otherwise. Their characters are somebody who helped to launch the rocket to Mars, somebody who was a great mathematician, somebody who’s a terrific sportswoman. Ladies are taking part in completely different roles [in society], and the writers are writing roles to that impact. Ladies getting into writing or directing has additionally modified lots. The pondering is altering slowly.
What do you suppose will draw international viewers and the South Asian diaspora to this present, particularly as somebody who lived in america for a few years?
The present brings a recent have a look at Bollywood and saying that though there’s glitz and glamour, there’s nonetheless on the core, the household values. For the diaspora overseas, they love Bollywood, and we now have proven them that every one the goodness is there. However fame is all the time like a double-edged sword.
Your stardom has persevered by the many years, a lot because it has for Anamika. What’s your secret?
I imply, there’s no secret; it’s not a fame sport. I feel it’s simply the truth that I take my work very severely. I do my roles sincerely, to the most effective of my capacity, and I’ve by no means shirked from working onerous. Additionally, all my followers who’ve stood by me by thick and skinny, and my household has all the time supported me and that’s additionally essential. I simply love what I do, and I’m very obsessed with it. I’m a really constructive particular person, and I’m able to develop. I’m able to study. I’m inquisitive about all the things. So I feel all that helps.
There are allusions to moments out of your precise profession within the collection, like your signature dance transfer from the tune “Channe Ke Khet Mein” within the movie “Anjaam.” Do you will have a favourite reference from the present?
It’s fascinating it’s best to ask me that as a result of [the comedian] Lilly Singh put a video on Instagram [of herself watching a scene] after I was on-screen getting a child to do the transfer. [Singh] bought up and simply began dancing. I feel that’s the sort of euphoria and nostalgia and all the things we’re on the lookout for. Individuals ought to simply go on the market and watch it and revel in themselves and consider what they like about Bollywood or what they’ve appreciated. That sort of response is admittedly, heartening, it’s enjoyable, and it’s great to look at.