says the former Miss India as she talks to Nikita Wadhawan about her favourite role, friendship with king khan and much more
Although she did make her debut with Sultanat, it was Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak that made her an overnight sensation. With her charisma and her ‘girl-next-door’ image, Juhi Chawla became a phenomenon in India. While we all grew up watching Juhi, who made us cry in films like Pratibandhand and laugh out loud with films like Ishq (a personal favourite), it was her films after marriage that gave her extreme critical acclaim.
She was one of the first actresses of her generation to continue working even after tying the knot, but her choice of roles was what set her apart. She started working in small indie films like My Brother Nikhil which helped her create a niche for herself. And now Juhi is back as her new-favourite character – a politician, in the new web-series Test Case.
‘Test’ ing the waters
Test Case is has been lauded by many to be path breaking in terms of it format and treatment. The series is about the defence minister (played by Juhi) deciding to implement President Pranab Mukherjee’s statement that women should be enlisted in combat positions. While many A-list actors are watching the development of this format from the side-lines, Juhi says it was her director and the character’s power that drew her to do a web-series. “Nagesh Kukunoor was why I agreed to do this, as I have worked with him before in Teen Deewarein, and I think he is was wonderful director. His writing is very intelligent, so when I read the episode it did reflect that. Moreover when they told me that I have to play the minister of defence I was ready as that is a powerful position to play,” Juhisaid.
One more time
Albeit this is not the first time that Juhi will be playing a politician. In the movie Gulab Gang, Juhi played the antagonist politician opposite her once arch rival Madhuri Dixit Nene. “It’s like I have tasted blood. I really loved what I did in Gulab. I am very critical of my performances, but after watching the film even I was impressed. I really enjoyed the whole experience and I was happy to recreate it in a different way,” the actress revealed.
But for Juhi playing such characters comes as an instinct “I just go ahead with it. I try to understand what goes in the characters mind. In Test Case I understood that my character is a very intelligent woman as she was given the position of defence minister. Then I went into the depth of the character and consulted with Nagesh as to what does he want from me,” the Darr actress said.
With the advent of Netfilx and Amazon Prime, people have become addicted to web-series. Moreover with Indian production houses jumping into this foray, Juhi thinks that we still need to up the ante to compete in the global market. “As far as Indians making a web-series goes, we as Indian have many stories we can tell. The reach has no boundaries, at the same time content what is made there reaches us. So what you put out there should be very unique which can stand out. If you just make a subject that is modern and smart, people out there are doing that long before us. We need do something unique in India and present it in a fantastic way with good writing,” Juhi advises.
BFF’s with the Baadasha
It was right after Qayamat Se Qayamat when Juhi worked with Shah Rukh Khan, who was still trying to make his foothold in Bollywood. When Juhi saw him for the first time she dismissed him as too ugly to be a leading man. “I still laugh when I think about it because it was so true. He was thin, had his hair up to his eyebrows and had a fat nose. I never thought that he would be what he is today. I had just worked with Aamir Khan who is very cute, fair with light brown eyes and then I saw Shah Rukh and I was shocked. But it was great fun working with him, he is very hard working and dedicated to his work. When he gives his shot he is completely engrossed in it,” Juhi admitted.
Overtime their relationship has developed in a deep friendship. So has she seen some changes from a struggling actor to now a superstar? “He has become busier than ever. In some ways he has not changed at all. He is still very entertaining, very intelligent and a very warm person. Now I don’t work with him so much, we meet just for KKR. Before we were just thrown into a film together for few months. He is much bigger star today than when we started working together, something that others only dream of it. As a person he is still the same, when he meets my kids he hugs them and clicks selfies with them, and treat them like his own” the 49 year-old actress said.