I really like a boring life, the routine is underestimated: Kajol
When we meet Kajol in a five-star suburb, she remembers Julia Roberts in 'Runaway Bride'. Dressed in a gorgeous ethnic gown, her choice of footwear is white sneakers. ‘Comfort comes first’, she chuckles before elaborating on finding the airport and gym looks amusing. You can’t help but notice that Kajol is an amalgamation of her popular screen characters. She is as family oriented as Simran from 'Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge' (DDLJ), as vulnerable as Anjali from 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai' (KKHH) and as vivacious, chirpy and rooted in her culture as Anjali in 'Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham '(K3G). In a chat with BT, the actress talks about motherhood being a role that’s a work in progress, career post marriage and the upcoming home production, 'Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior', with husband Ajay Devgn. Excerpts ...
The New Year is about setting new goals and changing things that have been delayed a lot. Is there anything you would like to change about yourself?
I am perfect as I am. I don't want to change anything about me, except what will happen organically. I don't like many changes. In fact, I like a boring life, the routine is underestimated. For me, no news is good news. When people ask me: What is happening in your life? Or what's new? I tell you: Nothing, really. I'm doing the same as always and I love every part of it. There are no hot gossip in my life.
When we think of Kajol, we think of Shahrukh khan and vice versa. You two have personified romance in the cinema. What do you think makes your screen chemistry so special?
The first two films, 'Baazigar' (1993) and 'Karan Arjun' (1995), which we did together, worked so well that there was no going back. Whether 'DDLJ' (1995), 'KKHH' (1998), 'K3G' (2001) or 'My Name Is Khan' (2010), we have been lucky with the kind of movies we have to do. Also, it matters if you get along with your delivery partner. We were and still are good friends. We are extremely comfortable with each other and that translates to the screen and creates that chemistry you are talking about. When we make a scene, he knows exactly what I'm going to do and vice versa.
Speaking of chemistry, you play Savitribai Malusare, the intrepid wife of warrior Tanhaji Malusare (played by Ajay Devgn) in your next home production, 'Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior'. You have worked with Ajay before. So what happens when the real and reel equations coincide?
We have worked together in many movies, and also at home, we work together (smiles!). So we are used to it. Ajay is the same, either at home or on set, and I've always loved that about him. It does not change according to the environment. I am a talkative person, while he is very quiet.
In recent years, we have seen many historical courting controversies. They are accused of misrepresenting facts or harming the feelings of a particular section/community. Did you worry about that possibility when doing 'Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior'?
We have tried not to offend anyone. Of course, we have taken certain film freedoms, but we have tried to be as authentic as possible. That said, you can't keep everyone happy. These days, everyone has an opinion and they have platforms to express it. We just have to wait for the movie to be released and judge it after watching it.
You talked about social networks that give everyone a platform to express their opinion. Of course, social networks provide more opportunities, but it also increases the pressure to be perfect at all times, doesn't it?
There is definitely more pressure on the current generation of stars to develop perfectly at all times, even when they leave a gym. Those photos are surprisingly good. Thank God, nobody sees me in the gym, because it's not a pretty sight! Yes, the pressure is greater, but so are the opportunities. When we made movies in the past, you failed dramatically or did it dramatically. There was no middle ground. Today, there is that pleasant and happy middle ground where everyone does not have to be number one. It is a safer place for them. Even if you don't want to work in movies as actors, there are many other things to do. You can start your own business, whether in fashion or film production, and people won't look down and say: Oh! He is starting his own business because he is not doing well in the movies. That fear no longer exists. In addition, you can act and do these things simultaneously. So many actors today do so many things at the same time, it's about being able to perform multiple tasks.
Yes, many rules and conventions have changed in recent years. But, you were always a rule breaker, right? You got married at age 25, when you were at the top of your career. Then, 'DDLJ' brought a fashion revolution of all kinds ... minimal makeup, simple hairstyles, backless dresses and satin saris ...
I've always been like this. I'm too lazy and that seemed to me to break the rules (laughs!). It was stubborn and yes, I made certain decisions that were a bit unusual. Usually, I follow my instinct, whether it's movies or other options in life. The story should work for me before giving a nod to a movie. As for getting married early, I don't think it was a big problem, even back then. You had Sharmila Tagore, my mother Tanuja , Sadhana, Saira Banu ... they all continued making movies after marriage. Today, almost all women continue to work after marriage and that is great.
Did you see any difference in the roles that were offered after marriage? Was there a change in the perception that filmmakers have of you?
After marriage, I felt I had the freedom to choose different movies. I didn't want to make routine movies. Not that I ever wanted to make such movies, but in a moment, I know I can have them. Today, the opportunities are enormous since the writing in the cinema is better.
You have two children and your oldest daughter, Nysa, is a teenager. Like your character in 'Helicopter Eela' (2018), are you an obsessive and interfering father?
There are times when each mother becomes hyperactive and protective with her children. I hope I have withdrawn, but there are momentary failures. So, I swing between being Helicopter Eela and me. I keep telling myself: Remember how you were when you were 16 years old. I'm relatively more relaxed, while Ajay gets more hyperactive about them.
What do you think of the paparazzi culture and the birth of the airport and gym looks? Have you tried to keep up, or just quit?
I am convinced that this airport culture is in everyone's head. Have you seen normal people at the airport? Sweatshirts, jeans and sports shoes: 90 percent of people wear this. The remaining 10 percent wear uniforms because they are airport staff. Only one percent of people wear heels and go out with perfectly combed hair and fashionable clothes, as if they had just left a room and got into the red carpet. I do not know what to say! Even the appearance of the gym, I wonder if they go to the gym and then to the lounge and then leave. The hair looks dry and they wear perfect clothes that match the shoes. All appearance is color coordinated. You won't see them repeat gym clothes, while I have two pairs of gym clothes. Also, I don't know how people even record those gym videos. Placing the camera at the right angle to capture the training ... You have no idea how much effort they have to make to look that way. I choose not to take everything too seriously. We have to stop doing a big problem with everything. If your picture didn't get the most likes on Instagram, that's fine (laughs!). I use this platform for fun. The moment I start feeling like work, I will disconnect from it. I have realized the importance of social networks and that makes me a difference, but I cannot make it my daily bread. I can't stress myself about what I am going to publish in two days and the title of uska kya hoga.
At a time when we become obsessed with perfection, what would you advise a young man who wants to venture into acting?
Please do not think that if you change your nose or lips to resemble someone, you will also stand out. You won't. It's a myth. If you have Katrina Kaif's nose or someone's cheekbones or someone's lips, you won't stand out. It will not make your career more interesting or make your rise meteoric. It won't do anything except make you mix, when you really want to stand out. Focus on who you are and your work. Also, if you want to improve your face, there is always makeup. It is intended to correct what you think is missing a little in the face. I will not say failures, since each face is unique, but if you think something is missing, wear makeup.