Urmila Matondkar returns to the silver screen after 10 years, where she was last seen opposite Himesh Reshammiya in ‘Karzzzz’. Urmila Matondkar has always been considered a phenomenal dancer who has reinvented herself time and again be it in films like ‘Rangeela’ or ‘Kaun’ or ‘Judaai’ or ‘Ek Hasina Thi’. Apart from being an acclaimed actress, she’s been known for some foot tapping song numbers where her moves and expressions have been the ‘talk of the town’. ‘Chamma Chamma’ from ‘China Gate’ is one sensation that featured her. Taking this legacy forward, she now features in a special song in the upcoming film ‘Blackmail’ that features Irrfan Khan, Kirti Kulhari and Arunodhay Singh.
Celebrating her song, she chatted with us and here’s what she had to say:
Q. How does it feel making a comeback with an item song ‘Bewafa Beauty’? How was it shooting for the song?
Urmila Matondkar: It’s only when such questions are asked you’re made to realize you’ve been away. An actor doesn’t think like that. Doing the song has been a smashing experience. When I heard the song, it gave an insight on the lyrical side of cinema. It was different and exciting to do something like that. I’ve always believed in doing something someone hasn’t done before. I’ve done so many types of songs before. Abhinay (Deo), the director was very clear of not wanting to have just another item dance number, he wanted a lot of expressions and ‘ada’ which would reflect the old kind of cinema. The song had to convey what the characters felt. It wasn’t just a flat out dance number, which most of them turn out to be. That’s something we stuck to and I’m glad because when I did it and there was no grand launch event or publicity around it and we got 3 Million views in 24 hours and that turned out to be a beautiful thing.
Q. It’s not been so long since you’ve joined the social media. How has that experience been?
Urmila Matondkar: I’m one of the only actors who has come so late on Instagram in life. I’m extremely technically challenged and always used to feel what is that I would like to put. I stole memories from my husband or my friends and they wondered what I do. I never let a chance to thank my fans for being with me through my journey because without them I couldn’t have made it in because coming from a non-filmy background to have such a tremendous journey, it was all because of the constant support of my fans. That’s why the whole social media thing has happened. If you look at it, my whole life is revolving around it and it’s great fun to share who you are. I’ve been having a great time. It’s been amazing and I want to thank all the social media enthusiasts.
Q. After having made a comeback in a song, would you be considering full fledged roles to do as well?
Urmila Matondkar: First of all, I’m not trying to make a comeback or go back. I’ve never understood the concept and most actors don’t either. The song just came to me and it excited me. I think I’m the best one at dancing. So it’s something I had great fun doing. Coming to the projects, I’m open to it but don’t intend to make a comeback or anything. I don’t plan life so much, I take it as it comes with the best of my abilities. Be it any part of my life.
Q. How has the response been for the song so far?
Urmila Matondkar: It has been Superb. I was just telling someone when people think of heavy duty choreography, the song that communicates dance and culture has been ‘Chamma Chamma’ so I’m happy that tomorrow when you talk about expressions and the overall performance, this song (Bewafa Beauty) is the hope. That was the thought when we were making it, that’s pretty much the response that we’re getting. I’ve done these glossy and big scale dancing numbers, this is like a dingy bar song with a gritty outlook giving a massy and sultry approach. My look is different too. It’s not something I’ve done in the past. That’s the different we were trying to aim at. I’m glad that it’s hit the bull’s eye.
Q. The comeback song has also been receiving some flak for certain reasons. What’s your response to that?
Urmila Matondkar: I don’t understand the term ‘comeback’ at all. First of all, the full song hasn’t been published. It has movie inserts into it and there’s a lot that’s happening. Since the full song isn’t out the fans are getting impatient. I’ve been associated with big budget, high scale and glossy dancing songs before and this is a completely different take. The song can not be different from the movie. The film is a witty, comedy kind of a sequence and it’s events are added to the promo of the song. So people may wonder why isn’t she dancing so much or why isn’t there a lavish set like our movies show. God knows where these kind of lavish night clubs exist. That’s all been there, done that. The whole thing was to do something different than that.
Q. Did you miss being onscreen for so many years?
Urmila Matondkar: Yes and No. There are a lot of other things that I haven’t done in so many years and am busy doing but I don’t really miss it. It’s great to be in front of the camera though.
Q. How have you been keeping yourself occupied?
Urmila Matondkar: There are so many things that I have to do. I believe in giving my best in whatever I do. There’s been a lot of traveling, being with my dogs, I did a course in yoga, I did scuba diving, learnt Spanish, and the next thing I aspire to do is try to learn to play a guitar. There’s a lot to life has to offer which we just don’t know of.
Q. With the kind of roles you’ve done, they make your films even relevant today. Do you think you were an actress way ahead of your time?
Urmila Matondkar: Absolutely. I think anybody in my shoes would have thought of doing 100 Rangeelas and then planned to do acting. I didn’t have time to do that. I just wanted to do every food role and try and do as much as possible and I’m glad I gave it my best. Whatever role or character o chose, whether the movie was a big hit or not, it was not cut out to be a full fledged ‘Kaun’, it was different kind of cinema and was made 20 or more years ago and so you don’t expect it to become the ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ of that time, so it had that kind of success. If we talk about it today also, it was a movie if it’s own kind, you’ll find audience willing to go watch it today too. There are really few actors who actually dare and I’m happy to do that. I was in this industry for the love of acting and not for fame, name and money it gives you. Though it feels great, the love and adulation gives you the biggest and ultimate high in your life, but that was not the base reason. So therefore, it was great experimenting.
Q. Do have a fond memory of a reaction you got when you were doing the kind of films you were?
Urmila Matondkar: I remember a time when a producer came up to me and said, ‘You did Kaun?’. When I saw it, I never thought of it like that. I really think that we underestimate the intelligence of the audience and why would anyone think of it in any other way. It’s just you playing a character.
Q. What do you think of the current lot of actresses?
Urmila Matondkar: I think all of them are doing fabulous, without sounding politically correct. Deepika (Padukone) is fantastic and like an all rounder. She really had a remarkable rise in her career. Alia Bhatt is doing fantastically well in her genre. Kangana (Ranaut) is rocking it in whatever she comes in and with. You don’t see Kangana, you just see the characters. So each one is putting in their best and doing absolutely great work.
Q. Do you feel like doing a good role yourself when you watch someone else doing in onscreen?
Urmila Matondkar: I don’t think like that. I’m a very ‘bhukkad’ artist but I believe in doing my work well. When I see someone else’s work, I don’t feel like I should have done it instead. I’m just enjoying the experience as a movie buff. I love cinema for what it is. I watch it and enjoy the whole experience.
Q. Any latest film that you say and maybe thought you wishes you did it?
Urmila Matondkar: Off late I’ve been traveling a lot so I haven’t watched many films.
Q. Has the industry changed from the time you were actively working?
Urmila Matondkar: I think it’s much more professional. Actors are not wasting time, they’re putting their time more into work.
Q. Promotions are more aggressively done these days. Does that bother you as an actor?
Urmila Matondkar: Promotions for me are great because it’s my way to connect to the people. Fans that I haven’t been able to connect with before or am already connected to too. Promotions are not pain when you’re talking about good work. Touchwood it has definitely not been a pain for me because I haven’t been doing the same thing over and over again and saying ‘It’s Different!’ In my case people ask me how’s it different.
Q. You’ve worked with Sridevi in ‘Judaai’. What do you have to say about our lose on not having her around anymore?
Urmila Matondkar: She was an actor par excellence. There’s nothing that she’s not managed to do. It’s too tragic to talk about the whole episode which was all too sudden. Till that afternoon I couldn’t believe and thought it was a joke or something. It’s just very sad.
Q. Would you like if one of your iconic songs gets remade today?
Urmila Matondkar: I don’t think so much about it. Fans can always share their views in the comments section of that video though. I think most of these remakes have been great. That’s the biggest high or an actor is that when the audiences get what they’re exactly trying to convey. Most of the comments on the song have been bang on. It is for what it is, there’s a sultry wickedness in her eyes of making fun of not just Irrfan Khan’s character through that but also a lot of male population saying ‘Excuse Me’ for having been fooled by the female population and taken a ride for. The movie is all about that.
Q. Do you think Hindi cinema has improved over the period of time?
Urmila Matondkar: Even then there was good cinema what that being made. Now there are better options and the market has become bigger, the acceptance has become better, so the whole experience has become so much nicer.
Q. The star of ‘Blackmail’ isn’t keeping well. What do you have to say about him?
Urmila Matondkar: I’ve never met Irrfan Khan to even say a ‘Hello’, which is sad and also the fact that he is suffering from this illness. He’s a fighter and come all out as a winner. Rocking it all again for all of us.