'I don't want to do stupid films'

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By On the sets of Mukti, Rakhee Gulzar tells t2 why she's more into farming these days. KUSHALI NAG Was Rakhee the most beautiful Bengali woman in Bollywood? Tell t2@abpmail.com
  • Published 25.01.11

We don’t see you on screen at all these days...

Yes, that’s because I don’t like the kind of roles I am offered. Besides, I am busy with a lot of other things. I only do a film when I like the subject and when I am happy after reading the script. I don’t have any compulsions to do films anymore.

What made you say yes to Gautam Halder’s Mukti?

I liked the story. Ustad Amjad Ali Khan is a family friend and the offer came through him a year ago. That’s why I said yes. I play Bijolibala, a widow, in Mukti. There is so much religious intolerance all around us; Mukti has a message for humanity.

Also, I want to do Bengali films, wherever I am and whatever I do. I like to do Bengali films. How can I forget that I was born and brought up in Ranaghat?

Your look in this film is similar to the one you had in Shubho Mahurat...

Maybe the look because both the characters are of the same age, I guess. But the roles are very different.

What kind of roles interest you now?

I haven’t given it a thought. I know my limitations as an actress. But to me, the story is more important than my role. I have always been very choosy about my films. I want to do socially relevant films now. I am very old-fashioned, you see. The technique and language of cinema have changed so much that I am a little sceptical about whether I fit into this format anymore. That’s why I don’t do too many films. Whatever little bit of name and fame I have earned, I don’t want to lose it all by doing stupid films.

What do you mean when you say you know your limitations as an actress?

What I mean is that I know my limits. I know exactly what kind of roles and films I fit into. I can’t experiment much, I can’t go out of my way to play a character. I was sure and conscious of this from the beginning. I knew I had the looks to carry certain roles and there were other roles that didn’t go with my personality. My face suited the docile Indian girl-next-door character and that’s why I never tried to break that image and do something very glamorous, like trying to play a modern woman. I knew that those roles were not for me.

Wasn’t it difficult to give up the glamorous life of showbiz?

No, the glitz and the glamour never affected me. During my heydays too, I used to shoot and go back home after pack-up. I never attended late-night parties, I never answered phone calls. I had a very middle-class upbringing and I was comfortable being in the middle-class environment.

What’s a day in the life of Rakhee Gulzar like?

I am a farmer! My farmhouse is 62 miles away from Mumbai, near the highway. My father had bought the plot of land many years ago. I live there alone, far from the crowd, the rush and the noise. I grow all kinds of vegetables. I do all my house chores myself. I don’t have a secretary. If I have to come to the city I come, but I don’t want to live in the city anymore. And I didn’t become a farmer just like that! I read books on farming, agriculture, horticulture and animal husbandry. I have been at it for long. I would read books in between shots but I don’t have a degree.

Will you act in your daughter Meghna Gulzar’s films?

Who knows... If she ever offers me one I will do it, but our relationship won’t be of a mother and daughter on the sets. She will be the director and I an actress. There won’t be anything personal. If she gives me a good role I will do it irrespective of whether she is my daughter or not. That’s the kind of understanding we have. Ma bole bolbe esho, ta hobey na!

Do you watch Bengali films?

Yes, I watch them on television... the old Bengali films. I also watch Sourav Ganguly’s Dadagiri, he is such a natural!

Have you got to play your dream role yet?

I have never thought about it that way. Every role that I have played, I have found it to be different, I have discovered something about the character that wasn’t me and that would take me by surprise. I think every actress should have an image of her own. For instance, Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen had an image. I have done what people wanted to see me in. I was not very ambitious. Whatever I have achieved is a miracle. I didn’t want to become an actress, I wanted to be a scientist but my parents couldn’t afford my education. I have done so many films without any remuneration. I am happy and mentally detached from everything.