Madhuri Dixit says it is golden era for women actors: ‘Better roles are being written for us’

Distance makes the heart grow fonder — the saying is particularly true for actor Madhuri Dixit whose second innings in the film industry have been extremely successful. Bollywood’s numero uno in the 90s, the actor has returned to acting and is doing more work than ever. She is making music, dancing her heart out from her, shining away with fabulous central roles in films and web content, and now she is has a slick dance video Tu Hai Mera to her name from her.

As Madhuri promotes her new single, she talked to indianexpress.com about her second innings in Bollywood, not doing vanilla mother roles that female actors are often saddled with, and her presence on social media.

At any point of your career, especially your second innings, did you ever wonder if you’ll be relevant or not, and if people accept you? Do you think earlier audiences were more forgiving than they are now?

Times have changed, and so have people. Everybody has access to everything. When I started, everything was new. Google and YouTube weren’t so big, or perhaps they weren’t even there at that time. But now, people have information about everything, they know more about fashion, what make-up is right and what doesn’t work, what goes well in what season, these shoes are good or not — today you have access to all that, so they can be critical of things you do. I remember how we used to use false eyelashes then and we used to keep them and reuse. Today we just use and throw them because they are so easily available.

I think people today know more than I knew at their age, they are so curious about everything. I joke about how you cannot tell fairy tales to kids because of you say things like, ‘there was a woman living on the moon’, my kids will tell me, ‘mom, there is no atmosphere on the moon! How can there be a woman living there, it can’t be!’ (chuckles). So let’s not go there. Thanks to social media, they can comment right away. But, if you choose to be on those platforms, and enjoy the praise, you should be open to criticism as well. You have to accept that part of the world too, and move on.

Post Fame Game, did you rediscover the actor in you and will we see you do more work now?

I don’t think I rediscovered myself. I think the writers are writing better scripts, better roles for women, where they know what to do with women. Pehle, if you wanted to make something women-centric, it would be the same old trope, where you’re either an avenging angel, or a victim. Today very good roles are being written for women, they are very strong characters. They aren’t perfect, they have their flaws, and that’s what makes these characters so good. People can relate to these characters and look up to them at the same time. This ws true for The Fame Game as well — she is a fabulous character, she is a mother, she is a wife, she is a daughter but she is also a little flawed. She is not perfect, but no one is her life is, so why should women’s roles be any different? She is not an angel… she is a woman, she is human. And that’s what is wonderful in the writing today and that’s why women are getting very very good roles. It is a golden era for women in films, or OTT or wherever they are.

Your Hai Mera seems like a tribute to your fans. You interact with your fans quite frequently on social media, but there was a time when actors didn’t share much of their personal lives with the public.

There was a time when everybody would say that you should be very mysterious, you should be someone who is not seeing much. People should only see you on screen. But now, people want to know everything about you. They want to know what you’re wearing or where you’re going. Finally it is up to you to decide how much you want to share.

It is like how content is being made on every platform, but it is up to the consumer how they want to consume it. It is exactly like that for me, to decide how much I want to be out there. People know my sensibilities, my fans know who I am. I don’t share every moment, every aspect of my life. But yes, I do share the important things. These moments can be anything, something that can inspire people, like jamming with my family. That’s also why we shared these things during the lockdown because there are so many things you can do together as a family. I love to do reels, it also feels like an extension of myself, who I am and what I do. So accessing and using social media is totally in your control, it is not out of my comfort zone.

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