Happy Birthday Dimple Kapadia: When The Veteran Actress Behind Movies Like Bobby And Rudaali Said ,"I Got Married At 15, And Was A Mother Of Two At 18, So What?"

Twinkle Khanna continues to work at her own pace, terms and conditions. Here are some excerpts from an old conversation with the actress. We also take you through some of her most iconic roles. Read on!

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Happy Birthday Dimple Kapadia: When The Veteran Actress Behind Movies Like Bobby And Rudaali Said ,"I Got Married At 15, And Was A Mother Of Two At 18, So What?"
During one  brief phase in her career Dimple Kapadia was poised  to become  one of  the finest dramatic actresses  of our country. I once asked Dimple  about why we  don’t see her in more films worthy of her. Her response  was typical  of  her:  “There aren’t enough good scripts. Besides, I am lazy! There you finally got the honest truth out of me!  I honestly need good scripts and directors. I just hope it happens soon. There has to be something inviting or something fun for me to give so much time to. How many films have I done in the last ten years? Not more than six to seven, I am sure. Though I am not counting.Look, I know people like you say you miss me on screen. That's very kind. But I have my own life, and very hectic and turbulent life. There are so many ups and downs. I became a wife at 15 and was a mother of two at 18. So what? Lots of women marry young and become mothers at a young age. The only really special thing that happened to my life was that I married superstar Rajesh Khanna. “There’s nothing significant coming my way. But sometimes I need to do insignificant roles for the bank balance. Life has been wonderful. My daughters are well-settled. Bas aur kuchh nahin chaahiye. They should remain happy. Aur kya chaahiye? I’ve the candle business, too, which I enjoy as much as acting. So life is good.Such a full life. And I intend to go on leading it exactly the way I’ve been doing.”

Here is looking at  one of India’s most inconsistently brilliant actresses at her best.

1.     Bobby(1973):  At age 15 she became the heartthrob of the nation. As the plucky Bobby Braganza  Dimple  did to Juliet what what Hema Malini couldn’t do to Meerabai in Gulzar’s  film.Filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra  who singles  out Bobby as  his  favourite  romantic  film says,  “I first saw Bobby at the Regal theatre in Connaught Place in Delhi in 1973 when I was 10 with my family. Movie-going was always a big event for the family. My father was great fan of Raj Kapoor. And Raj Saab was launching his son in Bobby. So it was a especially important film for our family. I must have seen Bobby at least ten times when it first had its golden-jubilee run. Each time, it was in the theatre and not on the small screen. I remember falling in love with the film and with Dimple Kapadia. That was a child's amazement at a film that shaped his romantic perceptions. Then later when I grew up I saw Bobby with the eyes of a filmmaker. And then I saw what great filmmaking skills had gone into it. Somewhere deep down Bobby remains entrenched in my heart. And then as filmmaker nobody can beat Raj Kapoor Saab. The whole treatment of Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet was totally RK. And Dimple Kapadia completely changed our lives. She changed the way we looked at a Hindi film heroine. She defined the very concept of a 'breath of fresh air.' She was so comfortable with her sexuality. We had never seen anything like her.”

2.     Rudaali(1993): Dimple played  Shanichari a  woman in rural Rajasthan ,a  professional weeper who has forgotten  to feel real emotions.   My dear departed friend Kalpana  Lajmi who directed this  masterpiece felt  Dimple’s  performance was on  a  par with what Shabana Azmi did  in  Kalpana’s  debut film Ek Pal. Kalpana had said, “She was a rock-solid ally my creative  collaborator  and  soul sister  on  location. Her  inputs to her  character  really helped me  to construct a  magnificent  character.”  Shabana herself told me that  Dimple’s performance  in Rudaali  was  “a  revelation.”  Dimple won a National award for her  performance.Sadly she couldn’t carry the  triumphant  performance  any further.

3.     Lekin(1991): I described her  performance as  “the essence  of evanescence” . The  last significant Tagore adaptation in Hindi  and director Gulzar’s first tryst with  Tagore, this ghost story was  adapted  from Tagore’s short story Kshudhit Pashaan. Dimple  Kapadia who played the ghost Rewa didn’t stop calling producer Lata Mangeshkar and director Gulzar  until  she got  the role. She  also got to sing Lataji and composer Hridaynath Mangeshkar’s exquisite melodies Yaara seeli seeli, Suniyoji  araj and Kesariya balma. In the  year of Lekin Dimple had  8 other releases, most of them of  the trashiest kind.

4.     Zakhmi Aurat (1988): An exceedingly controversial film during its time, it featured Dimple Kapadia as a cop who is gang-raped. As revenge, she and other likeminded rape victims go around castrating rapists. Ridiculous as the film was, the relevance of its eye-for-an-eye philosophy to this day is disturbing. The film was a hit, though Dimple who was herself a victim of domestic violence in real life, was quite embarrassed about it.

5.     Being Cyrus(2006): Dimple’s Parsi libertine  act  had her hitting on Saif Ali Khan repeatedly. Earlier in Dil Chahta Hai she was  hitting on another  younger guy Akshaye Khanna while Saif’s attentions were elsewhere.And later  in Cocktail  she was Saif’s mother. Dimple  counts Being Cyrus  among her favourite films. “Being Cyrus is a film very dear to me. This was one of the most exciting films I’ve done. Working with the director Homi Adjania was an unbelievable experience. It was absolutely out of the world. Homi  knew exactly how he wanted each character to be played. He’d correct me if I didn’t do a scene his way. It had to be done the way he visualised it. And it wasn’t just in his head. He has executed his ideas so well. Being Cyrus was my most beautiful experience as an actress. Doing Being Cyrus gave me a big high. It was great experience working in this film.”

Image source: SpotboyE archive
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