“Me? Mrs Gandhi? Hang on…” – Madhuri Dixit

At the moment Madhuri Dixit is more bothered with her son’s upset tummy than playing Mrs. Gandhi For the last two days we’ve been hearing about Madhuri playing Mrs Indira Gandhi in a 2-part bio-pic. But Madhuri has not given her consent as yet. Far from it. Speaking from her home in Colorado Madhuri says, “The thing is, Krishna Shah approached me for the role. He’s very keen that I do it. He came home, met me and showed me all the research that he had done. I was impressed by his preparation. But nothing has been finalised. We’re still in negotiation.” The ever-cautious actress was last seen in Yash Raj Films lukewarmly received Aaja Nachle. The director Krishna Shah’s enthusiasm is understandable. But so is Madhuri’s guardedness. Playing Mrs. Gandhi won’t be easy even for an actress of Madhuri Dixit’s stature. And we aren’t talking about the challenge of portraying the powerful personality. The challenge would be to get the Congress and Mrs. Sonia Gandhi’s approval. Jagmohan Mundhra tried making a film on Sonia Gandhi. His efforts were deadlocked by the ruling regime. Two years ago, N Chandra was to direct Manisha Koirala as Mrs. Indira Gandhi in a project entitled Indira Gandhi A Tryst With Destiny. It never happened. Krishna Shah had last directed the low-budget Hard Rock Zombies for the American market in 1985. His only feature-film in Hindi Shalimar in 1978 was a box-office bomb. Madhuri at this stage in her career when she is well-settled in life wouldn’t like to venture out into camera range unless she is absolutely sure of the project. Says Madhuri, “I still have to decide. Mrs. Gandhi is my idol. At school, I remember impersonating her for a fancy- dress competition. However many other factors besides the bigness of the character go into making of a movie. There’re many considerations to be gone through before I decide. Like I said, he (Krishna Shah) is keen. Everything has to fall into place.” She continues, “My decision would depend on where it would be shot (since the Madhuri can’t keep away from her sons for too long) and how long it’d take to shoot the film. Also who are the other actors in the project. The casting is very important. Because one would want large sections of the audience to see the film.” Tell Madhuri we are eager to see her back on screen and she rewards you with her trademark bubbling-brook laughter. “There are offers. It’s very sweet of people to want me back. But I can’t jump into anything.”

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