From being the bubbly girl in "Rangeela" to a film star in "Mast", from a psycho lover in "Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya" to her recent appearance in the song "Bewafa beauty" -- Urmila Matondkar has never failed to prove three strong elements as an actress in her career - power of acting, unmatched dancing skill and image of being desirable. The actress says as a woman, she always finds the tough but right chord to be seductive and not vulgar as the line is very thin.
"Being seductive is a part of womanhood and if a woman feels it strongly as a part of her personality, it is never represented in a wrong way. There is a very thin line between being seductive and vulgar, but it comes from the performer. I think I never fell in the grey area or went over the top because I am a strong-headed actor and I feel seductive as a woman.
"So whatever bold dance that I performed on-screen, it never looked vulgar," Urmila told IANS in an interview.
While objectifying women in an 'item song' has been common practice in most of the mainstream Bollywood films, it is very interesting how Urmila's last released song "Bewafa beauty" from the film "Blackmail", teases the intellect of a man in the film.
"Wasn't that fun to watch?" Urmila laughed out loud.
"Lyrically and contextually, the song is very interestingly put out and I liked that part. Having said that it was not my conscious decision to be a part of this song, but I was just trying out something very different that has not happened in the recent past," said the actress, known for some superhit dance numbers like "Hai rama", "Tanha tanha", "Chamma chamma" and "Ruki Ruki".
In times of social media, several actresses who wear bikinis and bold outfits get criticism.
Asked if people are becoming over critical and bully actors, Urmila said: "Yes, that is happening. But in the era of social media, when we are putting out our videos, photos for promotional purpose and giving our audience a chance to share their opinion, we should expect both good and bad. Otherwise, one shouldn't put it out there at the first place.
"Having said that there is a difference between constructive criticism and personal attack. As actors, we should identify that before considering the opinion. One should never take the latter to their heart, never", she added.
Urmila's career has been a mix of films in the commercially successful space as well as those with strong content with titles like "Bas Ek Pal", "Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara" and "Pinjar".
Was it a conscious decision to balance out both kind of cinema?
"Not really, because for me, every character that I play is an experience. So, the criteria were to try out something that I have never done before... Then of course overall story, the director... But it was never a strategy to balance out commercial and art house cinema. It was never that.
"Look, our film industry now is going through a transition where some films are made on a middle-aged woman. I think it is a combination of what the audience wants to watch and what makers can deliver. I do not think there is any dearth of stories, but with the success of each film, makers will gain confidence to make more films on women of all ages," said the 44-year-old who is not really planning for her next film outing with any filmmaker soon.
"Life goes on between what we plan and what the situation offers us. Like the way I did not plan 'Bewafa beauty', my next film will come to be when it is destined to happen," she winked.
(Arundhuti Banerjee can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)