‘Madhuri a good actress, she’s a far better human being’
The first film that I did with her was Pukar. It was a pleasant experience. Not only is Madhuri a good actress, she’s a far better human being. She is willing to do as many takes till the director is happy. Uske chehre pe zara si bhi shikan nahin aati thi (There would be no grimace on her face). That was the best part.
The moment Madhuri would walk on set, the whole unit would beam with happiness. Whichever of my contemporary directors I have spoken to has said the same thing about Madhuri. Indra Kumar and I used to fight for her dates.
As an actress, she would grasp things quickly and well. It was such a superb experience working with her in Pukar, that I wanted to make every film with her. So, while casting for Lajja, I didn’t think anyone else could have done the role that Madhuri played, better than her.
‘She was gutsy enough to play the role in Lajja’
We had become good friends while filming for Pukaar and she had high regard for me as a director. So, when I went to meet her with Lajja’s offer, she immediately came on board. There was a scene in the film where the character played by Madhuri refuses to give an agnipareeksha. It’s a rare kind of a scene. People would think twice before doing such a scene today. But Madhuri was gutsy enough to play that role and gave everything to that scene.
Madhuri is a very intelligent actress. She would give her inputs when we used to discuss scenes. Mehnat hum log bhi karte hain lekin actors uss mehnat ko rang dete hain. I have a firm belief that Madhuri’s talent has still not been fully utilized by the film industry.
‘She shot in the freezing cold of Alaska without complaint’
We were shooting the song Kismat Se Tum Humko Mile from Pukar in Alaska. The concept was that Anil Kapoor would wander in the snowy exteriors. He is directionless and then he sees a woman jiska pallu hawa mein udd raha hai (a woman whose saree is fluttering in the wind). But it was freezing cold and there was no wind. What did we do? I thought we could create wind by using the helicopter’s wings. So, we flew a helicopter above Madhuri. It was difficult to shoot for her in a chiffon sari. But she did it because it was a beautiful shot. There were no shenanigans; only a blue sari and minimal makeup. It is one of my favorite songs.
‘She never let personal stress interfere with work’
On another film, we were shooting in Ooty. The production incharge came to me and asked me if we can wrap up by 2:30 pm because Madhuri might have to leave by the evening. I told him I will try. During lunchtime, I got to know that there was a raid at Madhuri’s father’s house and he was tense about it. Madhuri’s mother was with us at the shoot. Despite this tension, Madhuri was shooting for a comedy scene. She didn’t let the director know that she was under stress and had to reach Mumbai. And the flight to Mumbai was supposed to be boarded from Bangalore. If I had packed up by 3 or 4 pm, she would have gone from Ooty to Bangalore, and then she would catch the night flight to Mumbai. If the shoot got delayed, she would have missed the night flight and would have had to wait till morning. Despite these odds, she didn’t let the director know that there was stress in her personal life.
‘Her goodness reflects in her smile’
The goodness of Madhuri’s nature reflects in her smile. When she smiles, aisa lagta hai ke room mein one kilowatt ki light jal gayi hai (it feels like the room got filled with a 1 kilowatt light). God has blessed her with that. Her goodness comes as that light. When she took a break after her marriage, everyone wished her the best. And when she came back to act, the industry received her with open arms.
I have never heard a single complaint from any producer or co-actor or technician about Madhuri. She is professional and good with people; she has no tantrums. Whenever we were on sets, she would laugh out loud at my trivia and jokes. Aur humein bhi usey hasana achha lagta tha (We used to love to make her laugh).