An actor and a living legend. Words cannot describe the brilliance of Sridevi, a national treasure. She is best known for a plethora of hits spanning across genres such has Himmatwala, Mr. India, Chandni, Sadmaa, Chaalbaaz, Lamhe, Khuda Gawah and more recently, English Vinglish. Growing from strength to strength, her recent blockbuster, Mom, Sridevi’s 300th movie, was a roaring success at the box office! Prior to the film’s premiere on &Pictures, Naye India Ka Blockbuster Movie Channel, onSaturday, 18th November at 8:00PM, we caught up with this ace actor for a quick chat on her experience while filming Mom.
Q) What is the kind of feedback you got for MOM?
A) I was very surprised as many said that they didn’t treat it as a film but as a real story and connected with it on a personal level. They film certainly influenced many families who took it very positively. Many parents, especially from Delhi said that after watching the film they were now very conscious about where their daughter is going out. Even teenagers came back and said that they too grew conscious about whose car they got into after a party. I was very happy with such a feedback.
Q) The film was both critically acclaimed and a commercial success. Did you anticipate such a response?
A) The entire journey right from the making, during the rushes or while adding background music and dubbing, whoever saw the film their reaction was extremely positive. So somewhere we knew that we didn’t go wrong. Boney ji had that confidence throughout the film.
Q) With the television premiere of MOM, what’s the emotion like? Is it the same compared to the release of the film?
A) For me, whether it’s the theatre television or it’s the same level of excitement even if the telecast is after 10 years. MOM is one film which is very close to my heart, not because it’s a home production but as a mother. This film has very deep memories attached to it. Now that it’s coming on TV I feel it’s a brilliant opportunity for the message to reach out to people especially the families who couldn’t watch it on the silver screen.
Q) In reference to MOM was there any specific scene where you felt it could be better?
A) Well, I’m someone who is never satisfied. I keep thinking that I could have done better. The first thing I observe when I watch my film are the negatives. Having said that, I’m certainly very happy on the whole especially after hearing the audience reaction to the film and the character.
Q) During MOM you had mentioned that there were times you never talked to anyone on the sets and you were too involved with your character. Was that a part of your prep? Was it mentally taxing?
A) I didn’t even realise or plan to not talk to anybody. I think being in that character, it didn’t allow me to. I couldn’t even talk to Boney ji. Normally we are very chatty and we bully each other but during MOM I didn’t want to do that. I withdrew myself and wanted to be left alone. When you’re doing that kind of a role it is impossible to be in a normal and jovial mood.
I remember I visited my doctor during the shoot and I visited him again after the shoot was over and he told me that I’m was a different person then. He said that the way I walked was different as well. My daughter Jahnavi said, “Mom, thank god you’re back to normal.” So I it wasn’t deliberate but it was definitely the character that stayed with me very strongly.
Q) The ending of the film is really thrilling and gives you goose bumps with the way it was executed. Was it equally scary for you to shoot as well?
A) Well, we did rehearsals but we realised the weather was so bad. Every time we reached the emotion the director had to cut the shot as there was too much sun in the frame and it was meant to be gloomy. Hence it was difficult to shoot but thanks to all my co-actors we I think we pulled it off quite well.
Q) We know you’re a one take actor but any scene in MOM which was difficult for you that you had to give more than one take?
A) No I don’t remember any such scene especially in MOM. Because this character is all about emotions. You have to feel the emotions. So I don’t remember doing any second or third take unless due to technical issues. I firmly believe that my first take is always the best as you’re the most spontaneous. After the second or third it becomes more mechanical.
Q) As an artist, do you consider yourself competitive or are you very content with the work you do?
A) I feel my career has just started. I feel like a newcomer. That’s how you should feel towards work. I always believe in doing one thing at a time. Not just with films, but in general, I can’t focus on many things at once. If you remember, when I became a mother, I totally cut off from films and only devoted my time to my children. Hats off to the mothers who manage both but I prefer to do things one at a time. And the same applies to films. I like to work on one subject and give my best to it.
Q) Your name is always associated with quality cinema. In today’s times, is there a dearth of good roles or are you just choosy about the roles you pick?
A) If I’m doing something then it has to be of quality. I don’t want to do something just for the sake of it. I’m already very busy at home. I have two daughters and I enjoy being engaged with them. So if I have to step out of the house and commit time then it has to be worth doing it.