Think of Madhuri Dixit and a carousel of images from her various hit films and songs flip through your mind. ‘Ek do teen’ from Tezaab, ‘Dhak dhak karne laga’ from Beta, ‘Choli ke peeche kya hai’ from Khalnayak, ‘Didi tera devar deewana’ from Hum Aapke Hain Koun? and ‘Dola re’ from Devdas, among others.
The 54-year-old actress and dancer, who was introduced in the Hindi film Abodh (1984) when she was just 17, is all set for her OTT debut.
In the Netflix series The Fame Game, Dixit plays superstar Anamika Anand, whose sudden disappearance sends the country and her family into a frenzy. The bespoke series is a showcase for Dixit’s talents including dance, music and acting. Created by Sri Rao, the drama also stars Manav Kaul, Sanjay Kapoor, Muskkaan Jaferi, Lakshvir Saran and Rajshri Deshpande.
In this interview, Dixit speaks about the show, the other side of celebrity and how much of Madhuri Dixit is Anamika Anand and vice versa.
Given the storyline, use of your songs and film clips, there is bound to be speculation on where reality and fiction intersect in the show.
I think Sri Rao used those reference points because the film starts with Anamika Anand being this huge star, and because in real life I am a huge star, those references provide a platform to show what a big star she already is. As she walks down the red carpet into a premiere surrounded by cameras and flashbulbs, it sets a context.
Were you able to influence the script based on your experiences as a superstar in the limelight?
The thing was that the script was already written. We just read and loved it.
Maybe while shooting we tweaked it a little such as her relationship with her children and how she wouldn’t be that distant, she would be loveable, but there will still be something missing. But we didn't feel the need to change anything.
The Fame Game spotlights the darker side of celebrity. Have you been fearful or worried about that?
Being a celebrity is not a straightforward thing. But we try to be in the best part of the ring. I try to remain down to Earth, to keep our kids down to Earth, to teach them the right values. We try to give them the ethics of hard work and the importance of respecting others. The fact is that fame is fickle and you should be able to look beyond that and be a better person always.
In the show you see the complexities of children growing up in the shadow of a famous parent. What would you say to your children if they wanted to enter the world of entertainment?
I would say fine, be in films, but be prepared to work really hard. I would also tell them that they need to have a good head on their shoulders because there are so many highs and lows that to thrive and survive, you have to learn to deal with all of that.
How do you deal with media frenzy and invasion of privacy, especially with the proliferation of phone cameras?
At times it can get irritating but when it comes to the photographers, or paparazzi, that’s their job, their bread and butter. So sometimes you have to take a pause and say I’ll give them a picture. Yes, it can get intrusive and get into your private space, especially when there is something important or even sad happening and people are shoving cameras in your face. But now we are used to it and take it in our stride. It's become a way of life.
What are your views on the future of cinema?
The way entertainment is going, it is increasingly going to be up to the audience how they want to consume content. Do they want to go to the theatres to see a movie, or do they want to watch something on OTT, TV or on their phones? There is... so much to consume that it will be the individual’s choice.