Vidya Malvade, the talented actress with absolutely no filmy background, made a stunning debut in Vikram Bhatt’s ‘Inteha’ (2003) and followed it up with ‘Mashooka’ (2005) and the English film ‘U, Bomsi N Me’ (2005). Vidya also ruled the ad world, working with some of the biggest names, namely Shah Rukh Khan in the ‘Santro’ ad, Akshay Kumar in 'Thums Up' and Govinda in ‘Wheels’. For a brief period, she was referred to as the ‘Maska Chaska’ girl.
But real success eluded her till Yash Raj Films decided to pick her as the unofficial heroine for the Shimit Amin directed, Shah Rukh Khan starrer, ‘Chak De! India’. And with the unquestionable critical and commercial success of the movie, it appears that Vidya Malvade has arrived.
Congratulations for a standout performance in ‘Chak De! India’!
Thanks, thanks very much.
Now, that the film has met with such an overwhelming response, both critically and commercially, how do you feel?
It feels great. In fact success is sweeter after failure. My phone hasn’t stopped ringing ever since the film released. Somehow, I always felt that ‘Chak De! India’ is a very relevant film and people will love it. To an extent it feels as if I have just arrived. I am here to do good work.
Okay, now the obvious question. How was the experience working with Shah Rukh Khan?
Oh, it was an absolutely incredible experience. Being in the same frame with Shah Rukh makes you imbibe his energy and your performance picks up. He is a charismatic actor.
Vidya, you will be surprised to know that when I had interviewed Mr. Shyam Benegal, he had also used the word, ‘charismatic’ for Shah Rukh Khan.
Oh, really? It is unbelievable, that is, both of us expressing the same sentiments.
The comfort level must have been high, because you have worked with Shah Rukh Khan before in the ‘Santro’ ad?
No, I don’t think so. During the ad shoot, one hardly gets to interact.
Do you think ‘Chak De! India’ deserves tax-exemption, as a section of the trade is demanding, and the Bihar government has already implemented it?
I think so. It highlights the plight of women in India, and the impediments they face when they want to achieve something. It’s the truth, without being dramatic. It makes us realize how we have neglected our national sport in a very interesting way. It definitely deserves tax exemption.
How was the atmosphere during the shoot? Was there any one-upmanship, as shown in the first half, during the shoot?
To be honest, I won’t say the stereotype, that it was like a picnic and I never knew when it ended! Well, when you are there 24x7 with so many artists, there are bound to be some disagreements (‘ooncha-neecha’), but overall it was a congenial atmosphere as it was a grueling schedule and all the girls had their jobs cut out.
Who was your best friend from the 16?
Me and Sagarika (Priti Sabarwal) were very friendly. I was also friend with Gul (Arya Menon).
Well, many are saying that you are the unofficial heroine of the film? What do you say?
Wow! I like it. In fact I love it!
Do you think, ‘Chak De! India’ vs. ‘Lagaan’ is a fair comparison?
Why should anyone compare the two? First of all, both the films are set in different time periods. While cricket was one of the aspects of ‘Lagaan’, which came during the later parts of the movie, ‘Chak De! India’, from the first frame talks about hockey, hockey and more hockey. Nothing else.
A few of your colleagues in ‘Chak De! India’ are complaining about their roles being chopped off? What do you have to say?
See, it’s not necessary that everything you shoot is guaranteed to be there in the final product. Even some of my shots are not there, maybe as per the requirement and betterment of the movie. I am a director’s actor. And if the director and editor feel that a few shots have to be edited, it’s absolutely fine with me.
Okay, please tell me something about your family and Vidya Malvade, the person?
I am a normal person, born and brought up in Bandra, Mumbai. Both my parents are bankers (legal consultants/lawyers). Now my father is leading a retired life. My schooling is from King George, Bandra.
We all know about your future projects like, ‘Aggar’, ‘Kidnap’ and ‘Junction’. Are there any projects that you have been offered post ‘Chak De! India’?
See, I am evaluating two new offers, but nothing have been finalized as yet. I will let you know, if anything materializes.
Vidya, if you don’t mind, I want to ask you something quite personal which may not be very pleasant?
Okay, go ahead. I am ready.
You made a stunning debut in Vikram Bhatt’s ‘Inteha’, but nothing significant after that happened. Many other actresses (who did not even know the basics of acting) made their debut after that and they are more successful than you? Do you feel sad and disillusioned about it?
No, not at all. In fact, as I told you earlier, success is sweeter after failure. If my contemporaries are talented enough, all the best to them.
Is it true that you auditioned for Yash Raj’s, Sanjay Gadhvi directed ‘Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi’?
Yes, quite true. Unfortunately, I was not chosen but Gadhvi (who later directed ‘Dhoom’ and ‘Dhoom:2’) told me, “Vidya don’t worry. I can see that you have the talent and we will surely work together.” And here I am! Working with Sanjay Dutt in Gadhvi’s ‘Kidnap’!
Well, now that you are quite friendly with Shah Rukh Khan, are you making one of those much talked special appearance in his home banner production, ‘Om Shanti Om’?
(Laughs). No. ‘Om Shanti Om’ is over and done with and I am not there.
Just to end this interview on a lighter note, and to also satisfy my curiosity as well as those millions of fans of ‘Chak De! India’ - Was the goalkeeper Vidya Sharma actually taking instructions from the coach Kabir Khan during the penalty shoot out in the climax?
No, except for the final stroke.
Well, it was a pleasure talking to you and wish you all the best in your future endeavors.
Thank you. Nice talking to you too.
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