Motherhood has made a world of difference to Madhuri Dixit. From being a polite but reserved almost aloof entity on her sets, Madhuri has become ultra-gregarious.
"Children do that to you," she laughs. "My sons have made me a fun person. Besides that, all the experiences that you go through in life make you mature enough to realise life doesn't have to be taken seriously all the time. My sons keep me on my toes."
Madhuri's kids have been with her throughout the shooting of her comeback film Aaja Nachle. "I made sure I shot the film during their holidays. I couldn't possibly leave them behind in the US. I wouldn't be able to concentrate on my work. But this way I was very relaxed. And if I didn't have the support of my children, my husband , my mom and my other set of parents, that is my in-laws I wouldn't have done it . They came down to India twice during the shooting. And my mom was with me throughout. My husband Ram was down in Mumbai twice because he missed the kids and the kids missed him."
Madhuri now has her fingers crossed. "Aaja Nachle has spoilt me. Yashraj treated me with such care. Now what I do next will depend a lot on what's offered to me and where we shoot. It could be in Mumbai. Or maybe they could shoot it in the US. But the script has to be something special."
Madhuri may do one film a year. "Maybe even less. But I wonder if the experience would be as pleasurable! And if my kids have kept me relaxed, the entire crew of Aaja Nachle has been an inspiration and delight. They're so young and bright and raring to go. Such wonderful actors and people! I'm so lucky I got to work with them."
Madhuri is delighted by the current crop of actors and technicians in Hindi cinema. "There's such a wide variety of films being made right now . And such wonderful actors! What a delightful performance Vinay Pathak has given in Bheja Fry. It wasn't slapstick and it was still funny."
Madhuri would love to do a comedy. "I had done some comedy in Raja. Comedy is fun, and tough. …I try to see as many films as possible. But there are more films being made than I can watch. And now we cannot complain about the quality either. Look at my director Anil Mehta . He has wonderful eye for detail. Having been a cinematographer with so many directors he knows exactly what he wants and how to get it from every artiste. I had my fingers crossed and my heart in my mouth when I started shooting for Aaja Nachle. Anything could've gone wrong. But touchwood, it was all smooth sailing."
She's all praise for Yashraj. "They were thoroughly professional even when I worked with them ten years ago in Dil To Pagal Hai. Now they're even more organised. Everything runs so smoothly like a well-oiled machine. I've the highest regards for Mr Yash Chopra and also Mr Sooraj Barjatya."
Tell her Sooraj is still looking for another Madhuri after Hum Aapne Hain Kaun, and she quips, "He doesn't have to look for another. I'm right here. Hum Aapke Hain Koun was certainly a landmark. So was Abodh , my first film and it was with the Barjatyas. Then there was N Chandra's Tezaab and yes, Ram Lakhan…If Mr Subhash Ghai hadn't signed me for Ram Lakhan I'd have gone back to my studies . Bapu's Prem Pratiggya showed me in a different light. Indra Kumar's Beta and Dil were also very special. Then there was Pukar and of course Devdas…But yeah, I guess Hum Aapke Hain Koun was really special . Suddenly after the film I was no longer an aloof star. I became a part of everyone's household. I suddenly had old women hugging me and pinching my cheeks. ….and then there was Hum Aapke Hain Sanam which was big hit in Bihar…I guess I've been lucky. And I guess I was always very professional. I always got the right opportunity at the right time."
And now home and career, in that order, are her priority. "Let's see what it means. Aaja Nachle is done. Now I'm going back home to the US."