This has been my first season of watching jhalak. i had only heard about the show but never really got around to watching it. This year the promos started when i was watching other programs on Colours and - i thought why not? It's a great show with no drama or politics involved. No endless panning on faces and dramatic background scores. So its pure entertainment with healthy competition.
But the real reason why i watch it and am talking about it is Madhuri Dixit! Even though i wasn’t really fond of her during her heydays, i think watching her now brings back the old-world charm of Bollywood! Probably because no one’s come even close to her in some ways in the decades after she left the industry.
First of all, i now think she deserved to be the Superstar that she was then. In fact she was the last female superstar of Bollywood (after Sridevi). And there’s definitely been no one after her with that trademark 440 watt smile! After her, there are no specific names that come to mind that solely stuck to the no.1 position in the leading lady category. From Kareena, Preity, Rani, Kajol, Aishwarya to the more recent Anushka, Katrina, Sonam and Sonakshi - not one can compare to her unconquered status in the 90’s. In fact, all these ladies share the space so non-exclusively that the term No.1 position is no longer talked about. Because no one has qualified for it in a long time.
i also find that watching Madhuri now brings back the old world charm of the 90’s. Well, it’s not like she looks like a fossil now, but lets face it she belongs to the pre-item number and zero-figure days! That was a time when people shone by the dint of their hard-work. There were no tools of technology to cover their flaws and make them look or sound better. Success came from the quality of work one did and not automatically by flaunting a 6-pack chiseled body (men) or a zero-size figure (women). In fact, even though she didn’t shed as many clothes as heroines do today, we did not miss glimpses of her midriff (that became fashionable later). And the focus stayed on her acting skills making her an indelible presence from Bollywood of the era in our minds.
One thing that touches a chord with me is the way she’s elegantly dressed every time. Now, some might say that a woman who has 2 kids and is her age has to wear layers to cover her not so perfect areas. That’s not the point. I’ve seldom seen heroines walk into shows in normal-person clothes. It’s mostly teeny-weeny pieces with unnecessary skin show which they feel makes a statement about how bold they are! Thanks to the recent anarkali series that people have started dressing up more decently. So, Madhuri dressing up the way she does actually upholds the simpler times that she comes form. You are in costumes only on the movie sets otherwise, dress up normally!
The same argument about her being old and married could apply to the way she greets most guests on the show. It is generally a handshake or sometimes a cursory hug. i don’t say that hugging anyone you meet along your professional career is wrong. In fact that is the trend today. i can’t count the number of time a particular woman choreographer hugged the contestants for their commendable performances on a dance show. But I haven’t found Madhuri say “I want to give you a hug for this performance” even once except for Darsheel who’s a kid. So that’s tehzeeb for you which today’s actresses definitely lack!
She is also a true master of her craft! She’s not someone who’s reached the zenith of dancing because she can follow her choreographer’s steps through rigorous practice. She has that craft on a professional level. And yet she is so down to earth that when asked to demonstrate any of her steps, she’s always game.
So, for me, Madhuri is the magic of an era goneby. I don’t think we are going to see that grace, elegance, humility and truth in actresses of today’s times - as a person and as a professional.