Madhuri Dixit Nene is not just a name but someone who has defined every bit of the Hindi cinema with her body of work and existence. One does not have to be entirely in sync with Bollywood, to be enchanted by her. Just a little mesmerising smile, and the eyes filled with thousand emotions all at once, how can you save yourself from that trap? And why do you even want to save yourself?
It takes a special bone to be a Madhuri Dixit in an Industry that has heavily stereotyped women since forever. She entered the industry at the age of 16 with a film called Abodh. Soon, she was discovered as a dancing star, all thanks to Saroj Khan and her complex moves in Ek Do Teen. And we all know what happens when an actor is labelled a dancer; it takes years to break the notion, which generally is ‘she can only dance’.
Well, we are talking about Madhuri Dixit, who has, like a boss, managed to prove she can do the best of both worlds. Even after a sabbatical and a comeback, she proved that the territory is hers, and there can never be another Madhuri Dixit Nene. So while we all time and again are taken by storm with her dancing talent, and the power of hypnotising with those eyes, today as she celebrates her 54th Birthday, let’s look back at some characters that prove there can never be another Madhuri.
“Log to hume Dev dasi bhi bulate hai.” Chandramukhi was not just in love with a man, but his existence. He didn’t give her the authority to touch, but she still loved his aura, his presence, the fact that he is watching her while she sings and dances. Madhuri Dixit as Chandramukhi in Sanjzzay Leela Bhansali’s Devdas showed the love and helplessness of not getting it through her mystical eyes, and trapped us all.
BEGUM PARA (DEDH ISHQIYA)
A word to define Begum Para is mystery. Delicate, graceful and teasingly arrogant Begum Para was the desire for every men that came her way. But what did she desire? Did they ever try to consider. Finding her own ways in this Man’s world by using the grace of her feminity, Para ruled out them all. Madhuri Dixit blew life in the character and the last frame with Huma Qureshi’s Munira are divine.
A character too ahead of its time. A woman who is out there to claim her space as an artist, but the men around her look at her as a trophy to achieve. She questions the very society and a mythological epic about her place in the society, why does hardship always comes to her share due to her gender. Watch out for the Ramleela scene and what it leads too, that us the present we are living in, Madhuri Dixit showcased it back in Lajja.
With Madhu, the actor had the task to shed her girl-next-door image and become this woman with an aim. It is about a man trying to con her and she not falling in the trap. Dil, also starring Aamir Khan was a critically acclaimed film that brought Madhuri Dixit a Best Actress Filmfare award too.
It wasn’t the time highly commercial actors were expected to venture into parallel cinema. More than that being in the same frame Shabana Azmi is was in itself the biggest challenge for any person on earth. Mrityudand directed by Prakash Jha is about women who suffer consequences because they raise their voices. Ketki deserves more appreciation than she got in Madhuri Dixit’s filmography.