Renuka Shahane talks to Nikita Wadhawan about her reunion with Madhuri Dixit after 23 years, her new avatars and more…
Her warm and infectious laughter is something that leaves you smiling as well. Actress Renuka Shahane, most of us remember her as Salman Khan’s sister-in-law, Pooja, from the movie ‘Hum Aapke Hai Koun’, is now turning new leaf in her career with more experimental roles. She will be playing a don for her comeback on television with ‘Khichdi’ and will be seen a very new avatar in ‘3 Storeys’. She will also be reuniting with her favourite on-screen younger sister, Madhuri Dixit (Nene) in a Marathi film. Talking about how this transpired after 23 years, Renuka shares, “When I heard the script I didn’t know that Madhuri was already on board. When I agreed to be part of it is when they told me that Madhuri is already on board and I was overjoyed.” Excerpts from the interview:
What prompted you to be a part of Khichdi?
First, I am a huge fan of ‘Khichdi’, second, I was looking for roles that were different or looking out for people who I always wanted to work with. Aatish (Kapadia) and JD (Majethia) have been my friends for many years, but I have never worked with them. Third, when they asked me to be a part of the show for only one episode I was very happy as I can’t take up any long running roles as my son will be giving his 10th board exams in March.
You have not been seen a lot in the comic space, so what made you change your mind?
One does want to experiment as an actor and very few roles are of a kind where you can do things that are totally different. Moreover, I love to see comedy. It is just that I have not had the opportunity to work in many comic films or series as I would have liked. So, since it was a comedy I was very enthusiastic about it. I don’t like to be a part of comedies that are very misogynistic.
Who is your favourite character on the show?
(Pauses and laughs) That is very difficult as all of them are par excellence. But if I had to, I will choose Praful and Hansa. I had a very difficult time shooting because it is so difficult to keep a straight face as the situations and the characters are very unique and funny.
Their last series, Sarabhai vs Sarabhai did not match up to people’s expectations. Do you think they will be able to do a better job with ‘Khichdi’?
I think don’t think they will fall short. As an audience, I would love to see them in any medium and there is a certain innocence that people will relate to it even today. Moreover, Sarabhai was on the web, and ‘Khichdi’ will be on your TV screens, so the audience of both the mediums is very different. I don’t think we can make a fair comparison.
You will also be coming up in a very different avatar in your next movie ‘3 Storeys’. Is this a conscious choice to change your perception with the audience?
It is not a conscious decision, but actors are actually bound by what they are supposed to do. We can’t go beyond by what is offered to us, I was very pleased that they cast me in a role that doesn’t scream Renuka Shahane. For me, to be refreshed as an actor, I need something that I am happy to do and this film was a mind blowing.
Why make such a choice now, why not few years back?
My children were too young and I had withdrawn from the scene. It has worked for me in terms of my family life. Moreover, now it is good time to be part of films even as a character actor, the scope is very wide. This was not the case few years back and now I am at a point, after my son’s exams, when I want to return and work will be available for me.
You will also be reuniting with Madhuri Dixit Nene after 23 years in an untitled Marathi film…
Yes, we were all very excited that she will be doing a Marathi film after so many years. It is lovely and beautiful subject, also working with Madhuri is such a pleasure. I have a small role in the film and yet very important role, we have a very unique relationship in the film. But sharing screen space with her after 23 years was just the same, I didn’t feel anything different.
Will we see the same sisterly love again?
No, it is not sisterly love, but there is love there (laughs).
How was the energy on the sets?
It was surreal for everyone on the sets to see Madhuri and then to have both of us on the same scene was a fan moment for everyone around. While Madhuri and I did remember few people that we have lost from ‘Hum Aapke Hain Koun’ like Reemaji (Lagoo), Laxmikant Berde and Ajit Vachani. We also reminisced about the fact that there were so many Marathi actors in Hum… that we could make a small Marathi film on the side as well. We also talked about our son’s, the personalities of our kids and our husbands. We were just like any other mom, the first thing we talk about is our kids.
Any plans of reuniting with Salman Khan anytime soon? Have you been in touch with him since Hum…?
No, I haven’t. No one has offered me any film with him yet, but I would love to work with him, hopefully soon.