Here to tickle your bones

Here to tickle your bones

The paparazzi would term her looks as ‘gorgeous’, and they would not be wrong. What’s more, Dimple Kapadia is so chilled-out, witty and yet ardent that you wonder if you are interviewing a heroine who started off 40 years ago with Bobby. Talk about being young at heart!

She is mock-horrified by the intense promotions of her new film What The Fish!, a comedy that has released this week. “I will die if I have to do more of these promotions!” she grumbles. “It’s like everyone is promoting the movie on the roads with a thela (cart) — “Picture lag gayi hai, aake dekh lo! (My film had released. Please come and watch it!)” she intones in a high-pitched vendor’s voice.

She goes on, “In our time, there was nothing like this. Only magazines approached me for Bobby. I, as an audience, would never watch a movie I did not want to, and no amount of marketing would convince me!”

Admitting that today’s stars are not just good at their work but also at business, she has another grouse to express. “C’mon, yaar!” she complains cheerfully. “I am not the only one in the cast. There are many talented actors with equal or longer roles. I am just the maasi (aunt) in the film. This is like Razia phas gayi gundon mein.” (No translations, please!)

Dimple Kapadia declares that her credo for acting in films has never changed. “I do some films for money and some for creative satisfaction. But if you ask me my dream role, it is that for which I will be paid two crore!” she laughs. Dismissive of her serious roles (in Rudaali, Lekin, Dhristi, Aitbaar, Kaash, Dil Chahta Hai etc), some of which even won her national and other prestigious awards, she says that doing them was easy. “Roles in movies like What The Fish! are difficult because comedy is tough. I always wanted to do comedy.”

Dimple’s yen for comic movies stems from two reasons: one, she enjoys watching comedies and feels that even her son-in-law Akshay Kumar is best at them, and two, she thinks that she is a mad hatter herself offscreen! 

And while she admires today’s movies wherein “stories are written around characters of all ages, and we get to see different cinema along with the run-of-the-mill,” she simply states that after working with Raj Kapoor in her debut film Bobby, she cannot compare any director, however great he may be, with her mentor. “Rajji was a director in the truest sense, guiding me, a 16-year-old then, completely. I just had to imitate him! Forty years down, Bobby and everything about it is so strong that I am still what I am primarily because of that film!” She adds, “But let me tell you that today’s young filmmakers are fantastic!” 

Does she regret not continuing work after Bobby because of her marriage? Shaking her head, she declares, “I have lived a full life. When I returned to movies almost a decade after Bobby, I proved everyone in the film world wrong! I was a mother of two kids and yet reached the top. Well, almost the top: Sridevi used a hunter to keep me away from the top slot!” A naughty guffaw breaks out.

The only small regret was not working with Rajesh Khanna, apart from the late director Manmohan Desai, in one of the two films she had signed but quit — Khanna’s home production Roti. “The film shaped up well, as did Mumtaz’s role that I was to do. Yes, I worked with my husband in his ill-fated Jai Shiv Shankar, but I think we had made a nice film going by the standards of those times. And working with him was such a joy! When I made suggestions about his make-up or attire, he would say, ‘Accha, ab tum mujhe sikhaaogi?’ (Oh, so from now you will teach me how to present myself!).” Dimple also enjoyed working with Rishi Kapoor (Saagar, Pyaar Mein Twist and Patiala House), Kamal Haasan and Boman Irani in Cocktail and Being Cyrus. “And Saif Ali Khan is such a delight!” she says.

When we point out that she made a good team with Vinod Khanna (Insaaf, Lekin, Leela etc) and then also worked romantically with Akshaye Khanna in Dil Chahta Hai, a mischievous glint surfaces in her eyes. “You know what? I like the son more, and we are great friends. People do not have a high opinion of him, but he is really a nice guy and is such a great actor!”

A cliché — but which are her favourite roles apart from her debut? “I have none!” she declares. “I always have problems with my own performances!” Point out to her that we personally loved her intense and vulnerable turns in Aitbaar and Kaash, and she grins naughtily, “But that was because the roles were similar to my inherent nature!”Life passes easily for her today. “My passion is singing and understanding Sanskrit shlokas. I love painting and am crazy about all my grandchildren. Besides that, right now, I watch every episode of Bigg Boss. I love Salman Khan!”

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