Juhi Chawla, the lady with million dollar smile was seen as menacing and wicked Sumitra Devi in Anubhav Sinha’s Gulaab Gang. The chirpy actress shared her experience on the occasion of World Television Premiere of Gulaab Gang on Zee Action on Saturday, 22nd August at 8 PM.
1. You are known for your bubbly avatar..then, what excited you to portray a negative character like Sumitra Devi in Gulaab Gang?
I was appalled when they came with the script! In 20 years of my career, I was only known for my bubbly, positive, sweet roles. I was apprehensive to play this kind of character who was completely evil from the first to last scene. So, I said refused the role at first! But I liked the spunk in Gulab Gang. Honestly speaking in retrospective, I realize that my performance was a photocopy of Soumik Sen’s (director) vision for the character. Each and every nuance of it has come from him. Later on, I started enjoying the role and when I saw myself on screen, I loved it.
2. You and Madhuri were contemporaries working together for the first time on Gulaab Gang, how was your experience?
Initially, I was quite apprehensive about how would we work together. But before we started shooting, Soumit called Madhuri and myself to the office. We sat and chatted for a couple of hours and for me, that really broke the ice. I told her that it’s really a good script and with us cast together for the first time, this film should go places J.
3. How was your experience working with director Soumik Sen?
Wonderful! After he saw the rushes, he gave me the best compliment by immediately sending me an SMS, saying ‘Tu hai meri villain’ with many smileys. Soumik totally changed my personality and took my performance to another level. I’m spoiled after this. I really had a great time shooting the film.
4. Your performance was widely appreciated by masses and critics as well, will we see you in more negative roles in the future?
I would love to do more negative roles. I am open to doing something unusual again but I am spoiled after the experience of Gulaab Gang. The next negative character has to be something fantastic and edgier than Sumitra Devi. Now I am doing a film based on teachers so I guess I am back to playing nice, decent, positive characters (sighs).
5. Does Juhi Chawla believe in the power of pink?
Sure I do. I believe in equality for women and women empowerment. When I look back at my career and my life and how much I have learnt. I feel blessed with what I have. I have stopped fighting with myself. There is an amazing power getting to know your inner self and learning how to use it and not fight with the world. If you know what makes you happy, your personality, interests and capabilities, just use them and everything else flows beautifully.
6. What do you think about the world television premiere of Gulaab Gang on Zee Action?
I think it’s fantastic! Finally the world will see and I am so happy! I want to tell people that just cancel everything for the evening and watch to see the film!
1. You are known for your high octane films, what inspired you to do Gulaab Gang?
Ans: Gulaab Gang is a story that Soumik narrated to me when we were in Varanasi working on another film. Honestly, what inspired me most was the fact that it is a commercial potboiler on the surface but touches upon some serious social matters that needs to be addressed. The icing on the cake was the casting coup that we could pull off with Madhuri and Juhi pitted against each other.
2. The two heavyweights of Indian cinema- Madhuri and Juhi – was a good casting, how difficult was it to convince either of them?
Ans: Not really. The first actor on board was Madhuri. It took us a while thinking about the antagonist before Mushtaq Shaikh came up with the idea of Juhi. Three meetings with her and we had an enviable cast in place. What I loved about Juhi’s attitude was that she was happy to be unabashedly bad.
3. It was joy to watch Juhi Chawla in a negative role, were there any apprehensions from her side?
Ans: She was certainly a little surprised about having been approached for a villain but there were no apprehensions. She knew that ‘badness’ of the villain will be the highlight of the film.
4. As a producer were you worried seeing Madhuri Dixit perform all her stunts?
Ans: No. Not at all. She was in absolutely safe hands of Parvez Bhai. Moreover she is a dancer and an athlete. These days precautions are so many that the only concern is the actor’s fitness and Madhuri’s fitness and flexibility is exemplary.
5. What do you think about the television premiere of Gulaab Gang on Zee Action on Saturday, 22nd August at 8PM?
Ans: I am so looking forward to it. These days TV Premiers are so well publicised that it feels like another release.
6. Does Anubhav Sinha believe in the power of pink?
Ans: I believe in the power of women. They are so much more than just pink now. They are the whole spectrum.