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Years have passed by but the charm refuses to die down! Even today, Urmila Matondkar would give the current generation of leading ladies a run for the money. What's heartening is that despite all the success, the 'Rangeela' girl hasn't forgotten her roots and believes she's what she is because of all the love and adulation from her fans.
Over to Urmila-
'I Have Always Believed In Doing Something Which One Hasn't Done Before'
Q. How does it feel to be back on the big screen after a really long time with 'Bewafa Beauty'?
A. I don't think I was away from the screen for very long. Trust me, no actor really thinks of all these things. To answer the question nevertheless, it's been smashing! To begin with, when I heard the song, I was completely excited because I have never heard or thought of something like this in the Indian lyrical side of cinema. That's why I thought that it would be something very different and exciting to do.
I have always believed in doing something which one hasn't done before. Having done so many kind of songs already, the director Abhinay Deo was very clear that he didn't want just another dancing number. He wanted lots of 'ada' and 'expressions' which was quite prevalent in the cinema in old times. The song had to convey what the characters felt. It wasn't just a flat-out dance number, which is what most of them sometimes turn out to be. That was something which really got me hooked and I am glad I did this song because it got some 3 million views in the first 24 hours without any grand launch event, promotions or hullabaloo. It's a beautiful feeling.
'Coming From A Non-Film Background, My Tremendous Journey Wouldn't Have Been Possible Without My Fans'
Q. You recently joined Instagram and often interact with your fans on that social platform. How has this experience been?
A. I am one of the only actors who has come on Instagram so late in life. Firstly I am a very technically-challenged person and secondly I used to wonder what I would put up on the page. I was then partly told by my husband and a couple of friends. Honestly, I never let go a chance to thank all my fans for being with me through my journey. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't have been able to make it in the industry.
Coming from a non-film background, this tremendous journey wouldn't have been possible without the constant support of my fans. That's one of the reasons why I joined social media. If you look at it, my whole life isn't revolving around it but it's great fun to share some of the moments with them because of whom, you are what you are in the first place. I am having a great time on it and I really want to thank all the social media enthusiasts.
'I Don't Understand The Concept Of 'Comeback'
Q. Now that you have made a comeback with this song, would you be considering to do any full-fledged roles in films as well?
A. First of all, I am not trying to make any comeback or go back (laugh). I have never understood this concept and most actors don't. The song just came to me and I thought of it as 'fun and exciting'. I think I am the best when I am dancing. Coming to the projects, I am open to it but not wanting to make a 'comeback' or any thing like that. I don't plan my life so much. I take it as it comes and do it to my best ability; be it any part of my life.
Q. How has the response for this song so far been?
A. It's been superb. I was just telling someone that today when someone think about heavy-duty choreography or a song that communicates dance and culture, Chamma Chamma comes to their mind. I will be really happy if tomorrow when they talk about expressions and performance, this song would be the hope. That was the thought when we were making it and that's pretty much the response we are getting. I have done these glossy and big-scale dance numbers. But 'Bewafa Beauty' is like a dingy bar song with a gritty outlook. My look is more massy and sultry. It's something which I haven't done in the past. We were aiming to do something different and I am glad that it has hit the bull's eye.
Q. However, the track has also been receiving some negative response from few corners. How would you react to that?
A. First of all, the whole song hasn't come out. Whatever has been show just has movie inserts in it. There's a lot that's happening. Since this isn't the whole song, that's why such reactions from people. I have been associated with big budget, high-scale and glossy dancing numbers. But this is a completely different take. The song cannot be something different from the grittiness of the film. Some people may wonder why she isn't dancing so much or why there's no lavish sets like how usually movies show. God knows, where these kind of lavish night clubs exist! (laughs). The whole thing was to have a different approach here.
'I Don't Really Miss Acting But Yes, It's Great To Be In Front Of The Camera'
Q. Did you missed being on-screen for so many years?
A. Yes and No. There are a lot of other things which I haven't done in so many years and am busy doing it now. I don't really miss acting. But yes, it's great to be in front of the camera'.
Q. How did you keep yourself occupied all this while?
A. There are so many things that I have loved doing. I believe in giving my best in whatever I do at that point. There's been a lot of traveling. I did a course in yoga. I did scuba-diving and learnt a little bit of Spanish. The next thing on my wish-list is try to learnt guitar. There's lot that life has to offer which we just don't know most of the times.
'Anybody Else In My Shoes Would Have Thought Of Doing 100 Rangeelas First & Then Planned To Act'
Q. With the kind of films in your acting career, do you feel you were an actress way ahead of your time?
A. Absolutely. I think anybody else in my shoes would have thought of doing 100 Rangeelas first and then planned to 'act'. That was not what I had time for. I just wanted to explore and try and do as much as possible. I am glad I give it my best. Whatever role or character I chose, whether the film was a huge hit or not, they were not cut out to be like for say, a full-fledged Kaun. It was a different kind of cinema which was made 20 or more years ago. Obviously, you would not expect it to become a 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai' of that time. So, it had that kind of success. But, as you talk about it today, it was a film of its own kind. Even today, very few would dare to do.
There are very few actors who actually dared and I happened to do that. I was in this industry for the love of acting and not for the name, fame and money it gives you. Though it feels great to have lot of money and fame, the love and adulation gives you the biggest and ultimate high in your life, but that wasn't the base reason. So, therefore it was great experimenting and the whole ride was fun.
Q. But the experimentation also came with its own set of risks...
A. Yes. I remember once a producer came up to me and asked me how could I do a film like 'Kaun'. Till the time I saw it, I never thought of it like that. I really thought we underestimate the intelligence of the audience. Why would people think of it in any other way? It's just you playing a character.
Q. What's your thought on the current crop of actresses in Bollywood?
A. I think all of them are doing fabulous and I am not being politically correct here. Deepika Padukone is fantastic and like an all-rounder. She really had a remarkable rise in her career. Alia Bhatt is doing fantastically well in her genre. Kangana Ranaut is rocking it in whatever she comes with. You just see the characters what these actresses play. So, each one of them is putting in their best and doing fantastic work.
'I Am A Very 'Bhukkad Artist'
Q. Any recent role which you would have loved to do?
A. I don't think like that. I am a very 'bhukkad' artist but I believe in doing my work well. When I see others perform, I don't feel or say that I should have done that work. While watching them, I am just enjoying the experience like a movie buff. I love cinema for what it is. I just watch it and enjoy the whole experience.
Q. How has the industry changed since you started acting?
A. I think it's become much more professional now. That's the good part. Actors are wasting lesser time and directing their time more into work.
Q. Promotions for films have become aggressive in recent times. Does that bother you as an actor?
A. For me, promotions are great because it's my way of connecting with people, fans I haven't been able to connect with before or am already connected to. Promotions are not pain when you are talking about good work. Touchwood, in that sense it has never been a pain for me because I am not repeating myself every-time and saying, 'It's different'. In my case, people ask me how it's different.
'Sridevi Was An Actor Par Excellence'
Q. You worked with Sridevi in Judaai Any fond memories you would like to recall about the late actress?
A. She was an actor par excellence. There's nothing which she hasn't managed to do. It's too tragic to talk about the whole episode which was all too sudden. Till that afternoon, I couldn't believe and thought of it as a rude joke or something. It's just very tragic.
Q. These days, there's a trend of old songs being recreated. Would you be okay if some other actress recreates your iconic songs today?
A. I don't think about it so much. Fans can always share their views in the comment section of that recreated video though. (laughs)
Q. Do you think Hindi cinema has evolved over a period of time?
A. Even then, good cinema was being made. It's just that now there are better options and the market has become bigger. There is more acceptance and so the whole experience has become nicer.
Q. Unfortunately, Irrfan Khan who stars in Blackmail is not keeping well. Are you in touch with him?
A. I have never even met him to say a 'Hello' which is sad. It is very sad to even hear about his illness as well. He's a fighter. He will come all out of it as a winner and be rocking back again for all of us.