Madhuri Dixit: More than just a dancing queen
In an industry where the battle for the numero uno position is nothing short of a blood sport, Madhuri Dixit has been something of a phenomenon. The nubile youngster with a distinct mix of vulnerability and sex appeal broke out with ‘Ek Do Teen’ in 1988, graduating to become a seasoned performer over the years. While Bollywood is still grappling with pay parity, Madhuri’s face ensured seats were filled in theaters, ensuring there was no Post 1.
She lit up the screen with her performance and that dazzling smile. “I don’t see Madhuri in any actress today,” said the late choreographer Saroj Khan, who was helped make Madhuri what it is today, one day had said. Anyone who has watched the sparkling magic of ‘Dhak Dhak’ girl on the big screen would agree.
For Gen Z and Gen Alpha, Madhuri might just be a judge on a dance reality show who makes it hard to look away when she says “Perrfecctt.” To some, she’s a diva who’s mastered her social media game by creating Instagram reels that range from dance videos to the latest trends that are often found all over social media. And, for some who have watched His songs, no one dances better than Madhuri Dixit. Of course, how can you not be a fan of his playfulness in “Didi Tera Devar Deewana”, his sultry performance in “Humko Aaj Kal Hai”, his teasing Ranbir Kapoor in “Ghagra”, or his matching steps with Prabhudheva in “ Que sera sera”
However, what these generations have been missing is Madhuri, the actor.
In a career spanning more than three decades, Madhuri appeared in more than 75 films, but we still can’t forget the 1988 film Tezaab, which gave us a glimpse of what Madhuri was capable of – and perhaps – to be that only she could do it. She may have been cast as a damsel in distress, but she managed to bring a mix of strength and vulnerability to Mohini. It turned into a full-fledged symphony.
Tezaab manager N Chandra acknowledged that Madhuri had a spark from the moment he first met her. Recalling the filming of the film, he told The Times of India in an earlier interview, “Madhuri worked extremely hard during the making of the film. She had all the qualities of a superstar. She is a very resilient and strong-willed woman.
After Tezaab, Madhuri gave us Ram Lakhan (1989) where she once again owned the screen with those aching eyes of a lover waiting for her lover. In Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Masterful Gangster Drama Parinda (1989), Madhuri held on despite how little she was able to do. It was the movie where the actor did a death scene for the first time. With the 1991 romantic drama Saajan, also starring Salman Khan and Sanjay Dutt, Madhuri quickly became a national crush. His chemistry with Dutt and Khan was to die for. It’s impossible to imagine anyone else stepping into the role of Nisha in the 1994 blockbuster Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! That’s the beauty of his performance.
After delivering numerous hits, Madhuri moved away from commercial cinema for more content-driven plays. She ventured into parallel cinema with Prakash Jha’s Mrityudand. Although she was cast opposite Shabhana Azmi, an actress par excellence, Madhuri gave a compelling performance as a woman who chooses to fight her own battles. Then came Lajja (2001) by Rajkumar Santoshi, where she tried out for the role of Janaki, a character ahead of her time. To understand his acting finesse, watch the Ramleela scene from the film.
Mere words cannot justify the brilliance of Madhuri’s craft, but her performances certainly do. Watch her in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Devdas as Chandramukhi and you can feel the pain of ek tarfaa ishq just looking her in the eye. Could anyone else have done it the same way? In Dedh Ishqiya, Madhuri made an exemplary Begum Para which was delicate, elegant yet arrogant. Every frame that captured her exuded elegance and beauty. Most recently in his first web series The fame gameshe displayed perfection at the T.
In an interview, Madhuri said of herself, “I take my job very seriously. I do my roles sincerely, to the best of my abilities. I love what I do and I’m very passionate about it. We would say that this passion and sincerity is reflected in all of his work. Even after spending more than three decades in Bollywood, she reminds us that whatever it is, she still has it all. She is an ensemble beauty with glamour, brains, charisma, incredible dancing skills and powerful performances. And she will rightfully go on to be one of Bollywood’s ultimate divas.
Happy 55th birthday, diva! Keep entertaining us for many more years, Madhuri Dixit.