My roots are South Indian: Madhoo Shah
My roots are South Indian: Madhoo Shah – A free wheeling chat with Bollywood actress Madhoo Shah who is working in two Kannada films right now.
She is articulate, expressive and honest. There is something immensely likeable about Bollywood actress Madhoo Shah. The stylish lady, who is best remembered for her powerful performance in Mani Ratnam’s iconic film, Roja, is in Bengaluru working simultaneously on two Sandalwood films. In an exclusive interview with Bengaluru Chronicle, she chats with us amidst breaks, while shooting for a film at Kanteerava Stadium.
“I am working on two Kannada films Seetharama Kalyana and the one I am currently shooting for Premier Padmini. Both the movies are in their last leg and the producers are aiming to release the films during Diwali,” says the charming actress who is married to Mumbai-based industrialist, Anand Shah.
Madhoo, who is a Tamilian confesses that she cannot speak Kannada or any other south Indian language besides Tamil (her mother tongue). “I write the dialogues in English and rehearse the lines. I have done five-six Sandalwood movies. In fact, I have worked in all South Indian films be it Tamil, Telugu, Kannada or Malayalam. I am not a great linguist but I do understand the intonations,” she says adding, “After Tamil, I find it easier to speak Telugu followed by Kannada as their grammar is similar to Tamil. Malayalam is the hardest for me.”
Madhoo who is best remembered for her award winning performance in the iconic Mani Ratnam starrer, Roja, (she won the Tamil Nadu State Award for best actress) believes that roles have fallen into her lap rather effortlessly. Speaking about Roja she says, “I have never angled for any role. As an artiste I am most remembered for Roja so I value that movie and treat it as special. It has given me life long recognition. I think the reason why Roja continues to be popular for decades is because it is AR Rahman’s first film as a music director, Mani Ratnam’s first Hindi movie and Arvind Swamy’s debut film. All these factors have contributed to its popularity over the years,” she explains.
While Madhoo remains gratified for the recognition that Roja continues to bring her she insists that there are, “many movies where I thought I was good. Annaya in Kannada and Yodha (in Malayalam) are also special. In fact Yodha, has completed 25 years and is considered the Baahubali of those times. The Telugu movie Allari Payudi and even Hindi films like Yashwant and Pehchan have all contributed to my growth as an artiste,” she says.,
Speaking about what made her choose her current crop Kannada films, Madhoo opines, “For an artiste I speak for myself there is not one criteria, sometimes it’s a big production with great visibility and good publicity. If you are part of an ensemble cast like Seetharama Kalyana, its great. Sometimes the story and performance should be challenging as in the case of Premier Padmini, where you can grow as an artiste. Both films are diametrically opposite to each other,” says Madhoo.
The actress was last seen in Ranna in 2016 and the film that won her a nomination for a film award. She candidly states, “I realised that one of my desires has been to win a popular award. Even for Roja, while I got the State Award, the popular ones eluded me. Now I am working with the hope of winning an an award. This is my dream,” says the actress who has been married to Anand for 20 years and has two teenaged daughters Ameya (18) and Keya (16).
Speaking about her daughters, she admits, “My older daughter is interested in becoming an actress but she is also a bright student. In fact both my girls are good at their studies. So we are still evaluating the decision. At any rate, she will have to train for a couple of years, before she takes the plunge. Whatever her final decision, I will support her. My younger daughter is not so keen about films right now.”
At a time when marriages are falling apart, what is the mantra to make a relationship work? “There is no such thing as perfection, everything comes from a decision. I want to stay married. I am imperfect, so is he. Sometimes its great, and sometimes annoying. There are ups and downs, why just spouse, your kids, parents, and even siblings can get annoying but they don’t stop being your family. I have realised that the man I have married is the man I love. We don’t hurt each other and are good together. My marriage has never been so bad that I have to break way. In marriage, acceptance and tolerance is important,” she reveals.
Finally we ask her what makes Bengaluru special to her and Madhoo instantly responds, “My two besties Sharmila Khanna and Suman Ranganath live her. Sharmila took me for lunch to UB City and shows me around the city. Suman took me to a fun party. Essentially I am a South girl at heart. My roots are strongly South Indian. I love the local food, visiting the temples and meeting people in this city.”