TV Review: Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla on 'Koffee With Karan'
I had a big cheesy grin plastered across my face throughout this week's episode of the much watched show Koffee With Karan. Why you ask? Well it was the first time two of my absolute favourite actresses came on screen together (albeit the small screen for now), after years of rumoured rivalry and slogging it out in the rat race.
My room as a teenager was adorned with posters of Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla (although I was always Team Juhi, and I remember the constant squabbles I used to have with people as to which one of them was better), and now here they were, all these years later after filmmakers tried, but in vain, to get them to appear on screen together. The late Yash Chopra nearly succeeded for Dil To Pagal Hai, but Juhi got cold feet and opted out at the last minute.
Juhi was up first and looked as elegant as ever, going on to speak very openly about how she sorely regretted letting success get to her head, by turning down some landmark films which went on to become blockbusters and made superstars out of not so successful actresses – for those that aren't in the know (I was back then, obviously!), Juhi was the first choice for Raja Hindustani, Dil To Pagal Hai, Jeet, Saajan Chale Sasural, Judaai and the list goes on, all of which effectively consolidated Karisma Kapoor and Urmila Matondkar's careers, while Juhi was left biting the dust. To be fair she acknowledged this fact, and I suspect this quote will go down as perhaps the most self aware comment made by an actress – "I was successful and success went to my head and I made some really bad decisions". A very refreshing and out there comment, and Juhi definitely went up a few notches in my head with her 'I don't give a damn I'm not going to be politically correct' attitude. I loved how she said that back in the day, she thought the world revolved around her, and she was in for a shock when things moved on without her – if that isn't bang on candour I'm not sure what is.
Besides her openness about her career, Juhi naturally also touched base on her infamous squabble with her favourite costar Aamir Khan (it happened on the sets of Indra Kumar's Ishq and the two didn't talk for nearly five years thereafter), and why she never worked with Salman Khan (apart from the latter's stray cameo in Deewana Mastana), and she never quite worked out why that was the case. Perhaps Salman who's always been known to be quite mercurial took it to heart that Juhi, who was a way bigger star than he was during the early 90s, turned down a few films opposite him, but it was never quite clear exactly what happened between them and Juhi didn't clarify it much either.
The chirpy actress, also denied that there was any real animosity between her and her then archrival Madhuri Dixit, but as Karan correctly pointed out, journos had a field day pitting the two against each other and reams had been written about who'd got one up on whom. Again for those of you that aren't in the know, Juhi very nearly came close to usurping Madhuri from the proverbial throne, but a series of disastrous career choices, left Juhi far behind, while Madhuri became virtually unstoppable for a short while after the blockbusting success of Hum Aapke Hai Koun.
Madhuri was up next and look stunning in an exquisite saree, and she was quizzed too about the cold war between the actresses, and unsurprisingly, La Dix took the diplomatic route and said they were always courteous and that their war was just 'media hype'. Again for those of you who grew up reading issues of Stardust and Filmfare (I did!), Madhuri was often referred to as being 'boringly diplomatic' – a stance she seem to have stuck to even today – quite in contrast to her outspoken on screen avatars over the years.
Karan rightly pointed out that Madhuri was always known as the sexy 'Dhak Dhak' girl, while Juhi (despite her glaringly in your face sexuality in Lootere and Darr), was always referred to as the sweet girl next door, a tag perhaps that ultimately led to her own undoing (career wise at least, Juhi never took risks like Madhuri did and stayed in the safe zone until much later).
The rapport between the actresses was warm and professional, not overtly friendly and fake, which I found rather refreshing. They didn't pretend to be bosom buddies and so why bother faking it for the cameras? A lesser known fact perhaps was that director Soumik Sen left the two in a room alone, prior to signing them for Gulaab Gang, and that's apparently when the two broke the ice. Interestingly, Juhi wasn't so apprehensive about being cast with Madhuri this time round (with age comes security and wisdom, I guess), but more hesitant about her dark character in the film, a part she initially refused, but signed on as an afterthought. Juhi's candid side came out again, when she openly admitted that she didn't want the attention to divert from her on to Madhuri (especially after working with Yash Chopra in Darr) and that's why she refused the film. Apparently, the film was called Ajanta before Dil To Pagal Hai, and I'm sure somewhere along the line it was called Tevar too – the title for an upcoming Arjun-Sonakshi starrer.
Karan probed the two divas on why neither of them married movie stars, and Juhi being as quick as ever, retorted how she couldn't handle being with someone who looked in the mirror more than she did (giggle), while Madhuri went on to add how Dr Nene was her hero, of course sidestepping the fact that she was head over heels in love with Sanjay Dutt, a doomed love story that made for much media fodder back in the day. It's a shame Karan didn't address it here either for that would have made quite a show, but we can but wish.
I also quite liked how the two yesteryear divas spoke about how the industry functioned in their days, how things were so disorganised and quite in contrast to today where social media, legal contracts, promotions and the whole shebang makes it all very corporate and business like – quite a departure from when they used to be on sets. In their time scriptwriters would be writing the scripts on set (!), and sometimes they'd not even charge their full fee for producers in need. The whole show was refreshing and rooted, and maybe today's stick thin wannabe actresses can take a page out of Juhi and Madhuri's pages and approach their careers with that same kind of carefree attitude and dignity that these two did.
The Rapid Fire round was a good giggle too – Juhi's questions were quick witted and had fire, while Madhuri's answers were half baked and quite nonchalant, but Madhuri's filmi knowledge was impeccable and she left Juhi far behind in the Koffee Quiz. Both actresses had a soft spot for Ranbir Kapoor and both rated Priyanka Chopra as the best actress. I did love the little spot when Ranbir Kapoor, Imran Khan, Sidharth Malhotra, Varun Dhawan and Arjun Kapoor spoke about their crushes on the two actresses, and I ESPECIALLY dug Ranveer Singh's OTT tribute to both of them (watch the show, Madhuri especially loved it clearly, and I did too, more so because Ranveer looked so ridiculous during the little skit but was such a sport about it overall!)
In case you hadn't noticed with this incessant essay, I LOVED this week's show. Madhuri was good (quiet, guarded and charming), but it was Juhi I totally fell in love with all over again. She giggled like no tomorrow, was well spoken, self deprecating and totally chilled out, and seems to have learnt from her mistakes. There is still a very apparent rivalry between the two (this was apparent between in Koffee Quiz and Rapid Fire rounds), but it's healthy and I much prefer that than the 'look at us we're so fake, we're totally going to behave like we've known each for years and pretend we can't live without each other' act that most actresses pull off.
All said and done, I for one will definitely be grabbing tickets to Gulaab Gang when it hits cinemas on 7 March 2014 – this week's episode left me feeling rather nostalgic and reminiscing of an era gone by.
Have you seen this week's Koffee With Karan? What did you think of it? Let us know below!
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