After watching the trailer of Gulaab Gang, many complimented that Juhi Chawla easily stole Madhuri Dixit’s thunder with her clenching teeth and ruthless avatar of a politician. Madhuri though got into a Dabangg mode, Juhi was easily the more visibly shrewd, antagonistic character who keep alive the audiences’ interest in an otherwise mundane show of a female hero! Koimoi brings to you an extensive interview with Juhi speaking about her tryst with negative role, her pairing with Madhuri Dixit and the nobleness attached to the theme of Gulaab Gang.
How did the cute, pleasant and extremely bubbly Juhi Chawla accept such a vicious role? What kind of preparation went into looking so thunderous?
When Soumik came with the story to me, I thought he has lost it. Why would I do such a role? If I play such a character people will laugh at me. I have never seen myself the way I have been portrayed in this film. My character is manipulative, mean but mostly it look interesting and different to me. It is all credit to the director because of the way he has written the scenes. If you have heard the dialogues, there is an interesting repartee. The way Soumik has made me play the character is great.
How do you think will audiences react to your negative role?
It took 3-4 weeks to decide if I wanted to do this film at all. But finally I just took it up. The script has only two main charterers. And the hero’s role is reserved for Madhuri. The punchline eventually belongs to her. It is her domain to defeat the villain. But it is afterall the villain who gives spice to the story and that is why I have taken on the role. I took a step back and saw the film holistically and it seemed like a bombastic film which got me very excited.
How will you deal with the fact that audiences will busy themselves in watching two popular actresses compete with each other?
That’s good for the film (laughs) ‘Koi Madhuri Ko Dekhne Aa Jayega, Koi Mujhe Dekhne Aa Jayega Par Sab Ayengey Toh Sahi.’
Did the onscreen rivalry between you and her affect you bitterly?
I was very clear about this when I was deciding on the film. I had to understand that the hero gets an upper hand in the film. She is afterall representing goodness. My character will finally have to suffer a beating in the end. My entire motive was on making the film damn good.
Since you are playing a politician in the film, what kind of preparation did you put into the role? Did you meet anyone for it?
Well, I did not meet any specific politician while playing the role in the film. But I was expected to impersonate their body language, how they behave, what’s their power about, how they are always trailed by gunmen walking behind them and so on. When I did the scenes, it was tougher. Politicians have this demeanor where they are half focusing on one thing and half plotting about something else. To get that perfectly was difficult. But I thoroughly enjoyed doing it all. Soumik guided me well through this. Just observing him while he was narrating the script helped me gauge the persona of my character better.
Usually two similarly successful actresses have never managed to work together before. How did you manage it with Madhuri finally?
Well, very different films have come before where there is usually a love triangle with two heroines and one hero. But I can’t think of a commercial film depending on two heroines solely. May be this is a cue for people to remember us. Such scripts which can accommodate two lead heroines, without a hero are rare.
Describe your first experience with Madhuri.
The first schedule was mine and Madhuri’s. I met her in Soumik’s office before the film’s shoot began. We started chatting up about our respective reasons to do the film, about our different points of view on the story. We spoke for nearly half an hour and the good part is I could talk to her with ease. I felt so much better after that after knowing her a little more personally. That meeting helped us break the ice and next day when I met her at shoot, it was all cool. It would have been a different thing altogether had we not met that day.
How close is the film to Sampat Pal’s life?
No it is only the outline of the idea of Gulaab Gang that we borrowed from her. It is a gang of women who wear pink sarees, only that much is inspired from her. But the incidents that form the narrative of this story, I don’t think it has any similarity with her life instances.
Do you think women centric movies fall flat in front of other dramas?
The producer, writer, director all have held their conviction on this film. They have stayed true to what they have written and given us the same in unadulterated value. They have not given a romantic angle, or forced a male lead in the story just for the sake of it which is great.
And, what is the cause ‘Gulaab Gang’ is focusing on ?
What Madhuri’s character is preaching in this film is education for girls. Most atrocities against women and the reason for them being in the weaker stems from their illiteracy.