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FACE TO FACE

‘I am very moody’

RANJAN DAS GUPTA

With a silver jubilee in films behind her, Dimple Kapadia talks about her forthcoming ventures.


I am a competent actress yet to deliver her best.

Photo: Sandeep Saxena

Still beautiful: Dimple walks the ramp at the Lakme Fashion Week earlier this year.

“Though I am selective, I need to survive. So I have to accept a character, which is good enough if not the best. There are no more script writers like K.A. Abbas, Nabendu Ghosh and Abrar Alvi today. So it is pointless to expect a film like ‘Dharti Ke Lal’, ‘Parineeta’ or ‘Saheb Bibi Gulam’ today,” admits Dimple Kapadia. The beautiful auburn-haired actress was recently in Kolkata for an art auction, which was kept a secret to avoid unnecessary crowds.

Dimple completes 25 years in films this year; an illustrious career that has seen the growth and development of an instinctive actress; the first to move from box-office oriented films to parallel cinema. Her analysis: “I am not a trained performer or highly gifted like Shabana Azmi or Smita Patil. Neither am I anywhere near Suchitra Sen, Meena Kumari, Waheeda Rehman or Sadhana in histrionics. I am a competent actress yet to deliver her best.”

All in the family

In a few months Dimple will act with son-in-law, Akshay Kumar in “Patiala House” to be directed by Nikhil Advani of “Chandni Chowk To China Gate” fame. The film also stars Rishi Kapoor. Dimple smiles, “I play a Sikh woman married to Rishi Kapoor. We are Indians living in London. Akshay plays our son. The film is about generation conflicts and has a strong story based in contemporary reality and emotions. I love to work with the present crop of directors like Farhan Akhtar, Ram Gopal Verma and Vishal Bharadwaj who are intelligent, hard working and ready to experiment with new subjects.

She remembers refusing the role of the seductress in “Khatron Ke Khiladi”, which went to Rekha. Dimple explains, “Akshay is my son and I couldn’t dream of performing a seductive character opposite him. It’s a tragedy that, like Dharmendra and Sunny Deol, his physical attributes have been more exploited in films. He has a vulnerable quality that, if properly highlighted, will show how good and confident an actor he can be.”

Dimple is full of praise for her favourite co-star Rishi Kapoor. She says excitedly, “Rishi has the spontaneity of Raj Kapoor, the rhythm of Shammi Kapoor and the romantic élan of Shashi Kapoor. He is easy to work with and very cooperative.” Other favourite co-stars include Kamal Hassan, Sunny Deol, Amitabh Bachhan and Naseeruddin Shah.

In her silver jubilee year, Dimple has two other films up her sleeve. They are “Pyar Mein Kabhi” and “Tum Milo To Sahi”. “In the former, a triangular love story, I work with Mithun Chakraborty and Rati Agnihotri. The latter has me with Nana Patekar. Both the films offer me mature, sensible characters, which are not larger than life. I don’t say they are classics but good films definitely.”

Versatile roles

Her innocent looks mingled with a childish restlessness in “Bobby”, her steps to Oh Maria in “Saagar” and her sobbing and breaking down, “Nikhil don’t go” in “Drishti” are ample proof of her maturity and versatility. Haunting in “Lekin”, she won the national award for “Rudaali”. In recent times, Dimple proved her prowess in films like “Dil Chahta Hai”, “Being Cyrus” and “Benaras: A Mystic Love Story”. Yet, many say she has lost her interest in acting. Critics also point out that her unpredictable nature and moods have distanced many well wishers. She sighs, “I am moody by nature. But I have never consciously hurt anyone.” She feels she is at her best when deglamourised. “I feel awkward with heavy makeup, very westernised get ups and prefer Indian costumes,” she confesses.

The beautiful actress laughs when people say she is unfit for Hollywood films. “After seeing ‘Drishti’ at a special screening in California, Steven Spielberg appreciated my eyes. A close associate told me that Martin Sconcese is interested in working with me.” Both Amitabh Bachhan and Govind Nihalani feel she is the most suitable actress for English cinema. She proved them right with “Leela” and “Being Cyrus”. Her English is confident and has a rare touch of lyricism.

Not so memorable

Her tryst with Bengali cinema was, however, not memorable. She laments, “Mrinalda signed me for ‘Antareen’ but never allowed me to deliver my dialogues in Bengali. I felt frustrated when my dialogues were dubbed by Anushua Chatterjee. The only Bengali director I want to work with is Sandip Ray.”

Dimple rates Aamir Khan, Akshay Khanna and Abhishek Bachhan as the bright actors of present times. Her favourite actresses are Tabu and Rani Mukherjee. Asked if she has any regrets, she smiles. “I am misunderstood. I crave for characters like Joan of Arc and Charulata but I doubt I will get one in this life. Stalwarts like Satyajit Ray, Chetan Anand and Guru Dutt who can experiment with classics are no more.”

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