Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Neelima Azim who became famous for her vivacious portrayals in the 80s and the early 90s is making a grand comeback, in the Star show ‘Aek chabhi hai padoss mein’. And quite befitting her graceful image, the national level danseuse is playing a suave seductress in the weekly Star show. Naturally Shahid Kapur’s very talented mom is all excited about the meaty role and her latest avatar. “It’s a vivacious, rare, honest and exceptional role. It’s something similar to what I did as Shehnaaz years back. Devyani here has the same potential. She is young, fresh, warm and the most desirable woman around. I am donning a very contemporary look which goes with the attractive kind of a character that Devyani is. Everybody in the ‘mohalla’ (in ‘Aek Chabhi…) right now is excited to have her and by and by her relationships with every body would be explored,” she exclaims.
The actress is proud to dub this as her comeback. She enthuses, "One can call this a full fledged comeback for me. I was off acting for a while. I had a small kid to look after during those days. Shehnaaz gave me every thing that any actor could ask for. And I got wonderful films like ‘Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro’ and ‘Sadak’. But then after a point, I had started to feel burnt out and stagnant. It felt as if my graph was coming down. Even currently I am busy with other things in life but I thought it is the right time to start afresh. Instead of doing the same things over and over again, I believe in electrifying energetic performances which satisfies your soul, that keep the zing alive. Quality is more important that quantity."
During her time, she was categorized as one of the most natural performers around. So would she say that acting was always inherent in her? “(Smiles) I am very spontaneous as a person and the same element can be found in my dancing too. Everything just flows out. It’s like a painter who has a canvas. He sets out to create something and in the process can end up creating something else too. This is a kind of creative impulse which can be found in a lot of artistes,” she answers modestly
Neelima might be mother to a 20 something son but must say she still looks very much the sultry diva. So what’s the secret behind the youthful image of hers? “Its God’s blessing. But the fact that I am childlike helps. This is something which is very beautiful in every human being. If you feel young at heart, you stay like that. I was never a very health conscious person, though now one can say I am somewhat of that sort. Actually it’s the inside glow which makes me what I am,” she retorts.
She considers herself a big believer in God and destiny. “They say, man proposes and God disposes. At the age of 15, I became a solo ‘Kathak’ dancer. I was the foremost student in Birju Maharaj’s troupe. I had a thing for theatre and I even got offers for films like ‘Umrao Jaan’ and ‘Utsav’, which I refused, only to start acting almost five years later. One Shehnaaz changed a lot of things for me. My PR was zero. I had no plans whatsoever and even though I was staying in Delhi during those days, I had people coming to me there. So I consider myself very fortunate,” analyses the actress. With her kind of a positive outlook, no wonder the lady has weathered all the storms in her personal life bravely and with ease.
And what does she think of the changes in the industry? “Of course, there are many changes. There is a lot of experimentation as far as film making goes. And that’s really very good,” she quips.
Ask her about star son Shahid, who is doing every bit possible to make her proud and she gushes, “I can’t explain that feeling. It’s such a heartwarming sentiment. It’s really hard to put it in plain words. As for his films, I liked him in 'Ishq Vishq' which was a great launch for him. A first film is always very special. And like many others, I feel he was very good in 'Vivaah'. 'Fidaa' is another film where he was excellent. 'Fool and Final' might not have done well but I liked his stylish look and the action that he tried out. Immediately after I watch a film of his, we talk in detail and I always give him all the feedback that I have. He is his own person and he doesn’t need guidance, as such. But we do talk and a lot of things come out in those discussions."
It truly seems Shahid has inherited the youthful energy and of course his dancing prowess from his mom. And that's not all; there is another star in the making in the family. "My younger son is also a very good singer and he is in the learning process. God willing, things will fall in place," she reveals.
Are there chances of Shahid and his mommy dearest sharing screen space soon? "I can’t say anything about that but I hope something of that sort happens. In 'Ishq Vishq' I had a miniscule role. It will be really nice to do a full fledged role, a film where we appear as mother and son."
The good news is that there will be more of the veteran actress post 'Aek Chabhi...' She is getting many film offers. She says, “Yes, a lot of things are in the pipeline but I am not in the position to talk now as it’s too premature to do so.” All that might take some time, but the solace is in the fact that the Neelima Azim is back, and with her the spunk, the vivaciousness and the old world charm, something so evident in the golden days of Indian Television.