Madhoo, Aishwarya Rajesh, Malavika Mohanan, Yamini Yagnamurthy, Aparna Purohit, Resham Ghatala, Swathi Raghuraaman, and Smriti Kiran came together for the latest episode of Maitri: Female First Collective. Matiri by Prime Video is an initiative to convene women as changemakers and foster meaningful conversations. Madhoo, who was a leading actor in the 90s, shared her reason for leaving the industry. She cited the lack of good characters for women as the reason for taking a break from acting.
Madhoo speaks on gender disparity in film industry; says, “I don’t want to play Ajay Devgn’s mom, we were launched together”
The conversation started with Malavika expressing her shock at the gender dynamics prevalent in the film industry. She highlighted the normalisation of elevating male actors and the lack of well-written, author-backed roles for women. Malavika emphasised the need for women to have substantial characters rather than merely serving as catalysts in men's missions.
Adding to the same, Madhoo asserted, “That’s the reason I left the film industry in the first place. What had happened to me by then was… I have done movies like Roja, Annaya, and Yoddha… and you know many other films in different languages with really good roles. Then I went into Hindi films and became a resident in Mumbai. I did more Hindi films then. I was part of films in which action heroes were leading… you know the nineties… I have no complaints. I danced in a lot of movies. I love to dance.”
She further explained, “But after doing something like Roja and going back to that… I was totally unhappy about that. When my shooting dates used to come, I was really unhappy. That’s when I decided to quit. Then I wrote a letter to everyone saying I am quitting. The intention was that you all don’t deserve me. It was childhood arrogance though. Later, I realised I am an artist, and I have to do this. That’s why I came back.”
As the conversation progressed further, Madhoo was asked about how she feels about being associated with words like ‘vintage actress’, ‘yesteryear star’, and ‘ageing actress’. She explained, “Ageing is a privilege. If you are afraid to age, then you will die. Who wants to die? We are doing yoga to have a long life. When you age, how can you want to look like your daughter who is 20? You cannot. The thing is not to look young. The thing is to feel youthful. When I go to a nightclub and dance in a mini-skirt, people ask me, ‘At 50 why do you want to do this?’ I am like, ‘What is it you if I flaunt this leg at 50?”
She then added, “However when it comes to films, it is difficult to get a role because I don’t want to do Ajay Devgn’s mother role, which is very probable. We were launched together… We are the same age. But things are changing because Tabu and Devgn did a film in which both were of the same age. That’s why I am extremely grateful for the change the industry has gone through.”
Coming to the professional front, Madhoo is currently seen in Amazon Prime Video’s Sweet Kaaram Coffee.
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