Monday, 30th October 2017

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My name is Kajol

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By Back to light up the frames, Kajol says that even she wonders when she will watch herself on screen again Pratim D. Gupta
  • Published 20.08.10

The prospect of a Kajol interview can make you feel all sorts of things. Come on, it’s Kajol! It’s not everyday that Simran is waiting on the other end of the line. Kajol’s almost like lady Salman in that way. But then like Salman, her mood can board the steepest of rides in the wildest of theme parks.

“Hello, this is Kajol.” The tone of the voice doesn’t give away the rating on the moodometer. Two months away from being a Mom again, we ask her how she is doing. “I’m okay, thank you” — it’s cold, almost stern. And then a nano-second later, the voice does a somersault — “How are you doing?”

And that was Kajol, where the tenor and pitch of her every sentence was as unpredictable as the Calcutta monsoon. But you could make out that she meant every one of those lines. And if an undiplomatic statement popped out here and there, there was no palpable remorse or regret. For someone who really makes us wait for every film, we hope she does many more films and continues to be beautifully bindaas.

We Are Family is special for us because it’s a Kajol film. But why is it special for you?

Oh, We Are Family is a very special film for me. I work so rarely that every film I do seems special! I do them because they are special. And I also feel that we have worked very, very hard on We Are Family and you are always excited about your own hard work. I don’t know if other people are, but I am very excited about my hard work. It’s just a great feeling to know that people are waiting for it and expecting the film in a positive light.

Even if the producer of the film is a close friend like Karan Johar, would you look at the script before saying ‘yes’ to a project?

Yes, definitely! No two ways about it. I think the script is the most important element of the film. If you don’t have a good script, even if you have a great director and if you have great actors, it doesn’t really make a great film. As we have had ample examples showing us in the past. (Giggles softly.) You really need to have a very good script.

Also, Karan and me are on that level where I can tell him, listen I really didn’t like the script and this is what I didn’t like about it. And he is okay with it. Whether he chooses to change the script to my liking or he chooses to go back to sticking to what he believes is right is up to him. We are pretty balanced that way. I don’t hold it against him if he does the film with somebody else and he doesn’t hold it against me if I say ‘no’ to his film.

We Are Family is an official adaptation of Chris Columbus’s popular 1998 drama Stepmom. Did you agree to do the film because of that?

Not at all. Not at all. There was, of course, the thought that if they were going to remake the film, what it was going to be like. But that was curiosity more than inspiration really. Because when you see the film, you will realise that we have had to Indianise it, we have had to change quite a bit of the story to accommodate the Indian angle to it. There is a lot more drama in it and there are songs and dance, which the original didn’t have. That in itself changes quite a bit around.

I really liked my character Maya, you know. She is a control freak. She has this issue with control. Her character is something which every woman would identify with. I think every woman today struggles with wanting to be the perfect wife, the perfect mother, the perfect daughter. So you are constantly struggling with perfection. And so is Maya. Only she is doing it a little better because her kids are her life and every decision that she takes centres around her love and her devotion for those kids.

But did you like Stepmom?

I loved it. I thought it was awesome. I really did.

There will be that small section of the audience who would have seen Stepmom and then We Are Family. Are you ready for comparisons with Susan Sarandon, who was terrific?

Oh, Susan Sarandon is incredible! I think people will compare the two films, regardless of the fact whether we want them to do that or not. People are bound to compare Kareena (Kapoor), Arjun (Rampal) and me with the original cast of the film (Julia Roberts, Ed Harris and Sarandon). That is going to be there. But I also do hope that at the end of the day this film stands on its own two feet as well. If it doesn’t, then we have failed. That’s the whole point. Yes, I do believe we have made something that stands for itself and not only as a copy of another film.

Do you think the Indian audiences will take to the concept of two women at constant loggerheads over a family?

I think the concept is really cool. You know pitting two women against each other is really, really cool. I would love to see two women go at it. (Laughs out loud.) Seriously, in this day and age, we have all these movies coming out which have great performances and different subjects. But we haven’t had one film in a commercial background where two women are pitted against each other, and not with each other. That’s going to be something really interesting to watch.

Which is your favourite Kajol film? Tell