Actress Madhubala was a star name in the 1990s across languages. She has got a crucial role in 'Prema Desam', which hits the cinemas soon. Starring Thrigun (aka Arun Adith) and Megha Akash in lead roles, the film is gearing up for a theatrical release soon.
In this interview, Madhubala talks about her role in the movie. She also reflects on her long career.
I have played onscreen mother roles of late. And all those roles were important. In 'Prema Desam', the director wrote my character keeping me in mind. I am a very fun mother in the movie, like how I am in real life. Even the nature of the relationship between the hero and heroine has been done very well. I befriend the heroine before my son in the movie befriends her.
Thrigun is a fabulous actor. The first scenes that I shot were with him. I had questions about my role, and my body language for the first 2-3 days. When I saw Thrigun perform, I realized he is so natural. I knew that I have to be natural too. I am from the 1990s and therefore, I am a dramatic, emotional actor. I am asked to tone it down. Thrigun's measured performance was revelatory.
Megha Akash is sweet and cute. You need someone like her for a love story that is soft. The music, composed by Mani Sharma, is brilliant. I love dance and music. That's a reason why I am even more fond of 'Prema Desam'.
Telugu is closer to Hindi. The working style of the directors, too, is similar in Tollywood and Bollywood. Among the languages I don't know, I find Telugu easier to perform in.
Because of revenues from OTT and TV, the production values have gone up because film producers now have more avenues of revenue. Earlier, small-budget films were really small in scale. Today, they are not small.
The film industry has always been competitive. Even when I was a young heroine, there were ten other heroines. And now, when I am playing a mother, there are ten other artists who are ready to play a mother.
I am doing a movie in Bollywood. I am doing a ZEE5 web series, whose shoot is completed. It's in post-production. 'Game On' is among the upcoming movies. I am paired up with Aditya Menon in it.
I am Hema Malini ji's niece. I, Hema ji and Eesha Deol want to work together on a show. I am not motivated to work unless the character is meaty. It has to be a pivotal one.
I am a funny person with a sense of humour. Not many movies have explored that side of me. 'Prema Desam' does that. I am doing a web show that tells the story of three women on travel. I am getting to showcase my comic timing in it. I want to play an out-and-out comic role.
I have never exclusively focused on any language. I scattered my energies across industries. That's why I don't have too many films in any particular language. Even now, I am not rushing. I am open to doing films across languages. Pan-India movies are originating mostly from Telugu. I am also doing negative roles (in movies like 'Deja Vu'). I have got a wide range these days.
If I have to rate my films in terms of their popularity, here is the order: 'Roja', 'Gentleman', 'Allari Priyudu', 'Yodha' (Malayalam), 'Annayya' (Kannada), and 'Phul Aur Kante' (Hindi). The movie that I personally cherish a lot despite their not-so-huge popularity is the one I did with Govinda in Hindi where I got to do comedy. I did slapstick comedy in another movie with Akshay Kumar.
The likes of Rakul Preet and Tamannaah Bhatia come from Mumbai and are doing so well in Telugu. They have also learned Telugu. I am a Tamilian yet I am not so fluent in Telugu. However, when I am doing a Hindi film, they see me as a Hindi actress. When I am doing a South Indian film, they see me as a South Indian. I don't look so North Indian. I don't look so South Indian. On the other hand, despite Tamannaah and Rakul knowing Telugu, they are not seen as Telugu women.
I am being a greedy artist these days. When you are a character artist, your options multiply. However, there is no opportunity to dance and shine in the songs. In the Indian context, songs have the maximum reach. I am missing that. In 'Prema Desam', for a change, I have got to do some dancing.