Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Bubbly and beautiful Mini Mathur talks about anchoring Indian Idol for the third time.
Q. How does it feel being the constant factor in Indian Idol while your co-anchor and judges have changed?
A. It felt wonderful to be asked back on the third season because that says I was appreciated by the viewers, the channel and the producers and that my contribution was valued. Also I am much too attached to the show and would have felt very odd watching someone else in my place.
Q. Hussain is your new co- anchor. So how is your rapport with him?
A. I have had no prior interaction with Hussain but everybody I know has only nice things to say about him. I look forward to working with him as its very important to vibe and work well together for a show like this.
Q. We have heard that Indian Idol has got bigger and better this time around. Are there any changes in the format or the look of the show?
A. Indian idol has a set format that does not change across seasons and countries. But yes, all efforts are being made to make it more interesting, with fresh ideas, a more informal feel to the reality part as the viewers are now completely comfortable with the process.
Q. Are there big surprises in store?
A. Well the media has already sniffed out the change in the judges and my co anchor. That's quite a surprise in itself, is it not?
Q. How are the auditions going? Any interesting incident, which you would like to share with us?
A. I have just returned from Jodhpur where we auditioned contestants in the magnificent sand dunes. There is a whole lot of bright talent out there. It was very trying physically as we have left no stone unturned to reach out to cities that we haven't been to before. Earlier seasons had just four locations whereas we are going to 10-11 cities this time. If the talent can't reach us, we will reach the talent. It's a great feeling!
Q. What do you usually look for in a contestant?
A. Voice quality, a thirst to make it big, personality, X factor and congeniality.
Q. Tell us something about the new judges- Alisha Chinai and Udit Narayan?
A. Well, I have only interacted with them while I was a VJ at MTV. I'll answer that one when I meet them again (smiles). I absolutely adored Farah Khan and Sonu Nigam and I will miss them on the show. However, both these judges are hugely successful and will add to the show immensely.
Q. Will Aman Verma be sorely missed too along with Farah and Sonu?
A. Like I said, I loved working with Farah. Her sense of humor and direct approach was very appealing to me. She never ever faked any reaction. She says everything from her heart. Sonu is by far the best singer in the country and he is a great mimic. Aman and I worked out our chemistry pretty well and there were no silly insecurities about each other. I hate watching one anchor trying to steal the show from the co host. It's very tacky. Luckily both of us knew our job and just did it.
Q. Tell us a little about your wardrobe this season.
A. I know my look in the earlier seasons was really appreciated. I had all sorts of people asking me where I had got a particular outfit from. It becomes very tough to match it every season. My stylist Rishika Hegde gets all my favorite designers to do clothes for me- Suneet Varma, Manish Malhotra, Amber and Shirrin, Tarun Tahiliani, Ogaan. This time I hope to be trendy, chic, contemporary yet Indian.
Q. Indian Idol 1 was more sucessful than its second season...How does the show plan to withstand the stiff competition this time around (from shows in other channels)?
A. Indian Idol is India's first reality show and will remain the original. I don't think any other show has matched the first season's popularity. As far as I am concerned, all others are way behind Idol. I am a loyalist.
Q. Were you always a music lover or have you turned one after Indian Idol?
A. Not many people know this but I myself used to sing and play the guitar till I was an MBA student. I was a part of a band till I was in college and would have loved to pursue vocal music. My immense love for music led me to MTV as well where I spent four years interacting with international musicians as well as the best in India. Indian Idol is like the perfect show for me as it combines all my experience, talent, competence and passion in one single show. I am a TV presenter who is fairly good at one on one interaction with people and loves music. I couldn't have asked for a better job.
Q. What about acting? Will we ever see you in a serial or a film?
A. You know there is not a single role on TV that entices me. Everybody is a clone of each other and nobody stands out. So no, you will never see me in a serial. I cannot work for a piece of regressive work 30 days in a month. I have a great life. I need a great project to get me out of my home. Films are not ruled out. I get a lot of offers from new filmmakers but I don't want to do insignificant roles. If something is worthy of my talent, I will do it. Till then I am very happy being a TV presenter. It's a specialized job, not a stepping stone to being an actor.
Q. You have been with your husband Kabir Khan while he was making and promoting Kabul Express. How was the whole experience like?
A. It is a hugely emotional experience for any wife to see her husband start the germ of an idea, struggle to put it together and finally debut with Yash Raj films. Kabul Express was a very tough film to make and it took a lot of courage and hard work to make a film in a war zone. I am very proud of him and will always be.
Q. Are you involved in your husband's production company?
A. At a creative level, yes. Me, Kabir and Rajan Kapoor who was the executive producer of Kabul Express and a friend, work together.
Q. Tell us about being a super mom -one who handles career and family with equal ease?
A. Its a question of prioritizing. I focus only on work when I am at work. I am a fulltime mom when I am at home. It works for me. That's why I don't jump at every project offered to me. I am very proud to be a working mom.
Q. How does your son Vivan react when he sees you on TV. Tell us about any special compliment that he has given you...
A. He thinks everybody's mom is on TV. He once said to me, "Mini Mathur, will you be my beautiful dancer?" (read dance partner).
Q. Your other projects and future plans?
A. No plans. Just have lots of dreams.