For years one of Bollywood’s biggest stars, Indian actress Madhuri Dixit has become accustomed to being adored by fans for her performances in dazzling musicals, romantic comedies and family dramas.
But as the pandemic shut down the world and the mutual acceptance that usually happens between celebrities and their fans waned, Dixit says she realized just how one-sided those relationships often were.
“That’s why I made this album called Movie Star because it tells you the backstory of a movie star,” Dixit says via video link from his home in Mumbai, which is also home to the Hindi film. industry known as Bollywood.
“For me, the fans are a big part of that, because without the fans you are nothing,” she says. “And I’ve always found that with fans it’s always a one-way street with fans telling you how much they love you and how much they adore you.
“I thought it was time for me to say how I feel, and that’s why the song was written with the fans in mind and my feelings for them,” says Dixit.
Her new single “Tu Hai Mera,” which Dixit explains means “You’re Mine,” was released as a musical in May as a thank you to the millions of fans who have followed her on-screen career for decades.
It comes just months after the Netflix series The Game of Fame became a hit on the streaming network and brought it to viewers outside the world of Indian cinema around the world.
The album is yet to be released, although the earlier single “Candle”, written in honor of the pandemic’s frontline workers as the world’s “candles of hope”, was released during the pandemic and reached 1 billion views in its first two. weeks.
“The last two years have not been very good for everyone,” Dixit says, going on to explain how the new song came to be. “I thought that since we’re kind of coming out of it now and we’re showing up, that would be a great way to tell them that I missed them all these two years, that I couldn’t meet them or connect with them. .
“Too high measure” and “I love you guys” is what I wanted to say.
From films to music
Since her Bollywood debut in 1984, Dixit has consistently been one of the biggest stars in Indian cinema. She has won six Filmfare Awards, roughly the equivalent of an Academy Award.
Several of her films held box office records in the years they were released, and in some years Dixit was the highest paid actress in Bollywood.
However, despite the fact that her acting and dancing on the screen has long been recognized, so far she has never released an album with her own music.
“In Bollywood movies, we sing, we act, we dance, we do whatever,” says Dixit, 55. “Of course we don’t sing with our own voices, but I did sing a little for Hindi films.”
According to her, her mother was a classical Hindustani vocalist and Dixit was trained in the classical style of Indian dance known as kathak.
“I thought as an artist I was exploring my dancing, my acting, but I also wanted to explore my music,” says Dixit. “Because it was such an integral part.”
However, she acknowledges some uncertainty about how her music will be received.
“You expose yourself to different reactions,” says Dixit. “You have to do something that continues to inspire people.
“I sang because I love music,” she says. “Why should I think that I shouldn’t do it because people don’t expect it? I’m an actress. Is that all I have to do?
“You have to explore your talents and everyone should. I think it inspires others to do the same.”
Netflix and Slava
In Game of Fame, Dixit plays Anamika Anand, a Bollywood star with characteristics similar to Dixit’s own.
Indian-American show creator Shri Rao worked more in Hollywood than Bollywood, but he was well aware of Dixit’s career when he approached her for the role, she says.
“He came to me with this thread, which tells the story of a very, very famous actress who suddenly disappears one day and no one knows what happened,” says Dixit. “And all the skeletons start falling out of the closet.
“When everyone thought or perceived her life as perfect, with perfect children and a perfect husband, then one by one everything starts to go wrong, and people realize: “Oh my God, life was not what it seemed.”
Part of its appeal to her was due to how serious issues were mixed with the story’s gripping mystery.
“We talked about sexuality, we talked about mental illness, we talked about ageism and sexism in the (film) industry,” says Dixit. “All these emotions were very correctly placed, they came from a place of responsibility and sincerity.
“It got my attention and I thought, ‘Yeah, this is what everyone goes through,’” she says. “All artists go through this in their lives and I would love to work on this project.”
She walked away from the experience of creating a streaming series inspired by the format’s ability to tell stories based on the lives of strong female characters in depth and detail.
“There are so many amazing shows coming out that are aimed at women,” says Dixit. “Which do not put women in stereotypical roles. These are different people. They are imperfect, they are strong, they are people.
“I think[streaming]has given women a lot of roles and characters that they can play at any age,” she says. “I think it’s a great time for women in film.”
Future and Past
Dixit’s most recent project is Maja Ma, a dramedy set to hit Amazon Prime Video later this year. In the meantime, many of her previous projects are available, and she gave some tips on how to explore them.
“There are a lot of funny movies on Netflix,” says Dixit. “There are some on Hotstar (Indian streamer); is on prime. And they could go to IMDB and see what other movies I’ve been in.
“But I can choose multiple names like “Hum Aapke Hain Koun..!” which is one of the biggest hits of all time,” she says. “There is Devdas, which also premiered in Cannes. There is Pukar, there is Raja, Beta, Dil. All these films and more.”
The Glory Game reached the top 10 on Netflix in 15 or more countries around the world, says Dixit, which is unheard of for a Hindi television series.
“He was in the top 10 in America, he was in the top 10 in Australia, and it was amazing,” she says. “I think it was received very well because it was, as I said, from a place of reality. In addition, his secret attracted people to this world.”
Dixit says he hopes to do shows like this in the future, or maybe get back to it first.
“I mean, we could get a second season,” she says, smiling broadly at the thought.