Chak De Vidya!

VIDYA MALVADE had somewhat of a sassy reputation when she debuted in Bollywood. Seen at every Page 3 party, she was looked at as a hot contender for films, but things didn’t quite go her way.



How do feel with the super success of Chak De India?

It feels incredible of course and so much better because it’s been a long struggle. Success didn’t come easy so I want to enjoy every moment of it. Chak De has almost become like a cult film! I have people from faraway calling to congratulate me and I’m proud to be associated with such a film.

Actually it’s also opened up a whole new Pandora’s Box; I’m being invited by so many people, especially corporate companies, to speak as captain on the team on what team spirit means.

I think the film became that much more meaningful to me since we were under contract with no other assignments, so it was like living our roles.

Were you happy with the screen time you had opposite Shah Rukh?

Well actually I had about eight scenes with Shah Rukh but eventually only three are seen in the film. So yes, I wish I had a lot more screen time. But one has to realize that as an artiste you can do your best; but eventually, the filmmaker has to look at his film in totality. It’s not just about Vidya.

What new offers have come your way?

I have a film with Sanjay Dutt; Sanjay Gadhvi’s Kidnap. It has a phenomenal script and is an action film. The heroine has a very powerful character which I wanted to play; it’s diametrically different from Vidya Sharma of Chak De. The character is a little loud and it’s difficult to play loud since you could go over the top.

The other film is Junction from Percept Pictures, with Abhay Deol and Ranvir Sheory. It’s directed by an old friend, Atul Sabraval, who wrote the character with me in mind. It’s a romance–cum-thriller and Atul told me ‘You’re the bright spark of the film. You need to do this role and laugh a little’. So yes, I’d love to do comedy!

Your take on Shah Rukh Khan?

I think besides being a huge superstar with these labels of King Khan, Badshah, etc., he really knows how to conduct himself in public. He has a great sense of humour, is intelligent. And in his private space, to be as humble as he is, that’s an achievement. While shooting for Chak De he would help everyone, especially those who hadn’t ever faced a camera. He’d give us tips on everything and always stood in for cue lines even if he wasn’t required for the shot.

A Shah Rukh incident you won’t forget?

Well his film Don had just released and when he came to Melbourne he asked us, ‘Have you girls seen my film’? Of course we hadn’t so he organised a special screening for us. And can you imagine, I was seated next to him with the live ‘Don’ watching him on screen! Wow! After the film he took us all out to a nightclub and we had a great time.

You had to face a lot of struggle earlier on in your career?

Nothing has come easy for me, right since when I was a child. I have always struggled for everything in my life. And if something has come easy, it’s left me in a jiffy. But I’m always looking at the brighter side. I feel that if I’ve come this far, I don’t think it’s going to go away in a jiffy! Yes, sometimes I feel I’m more talented than a lot of people; I’m pretty, so why? But there’s something called destiny and when things have to happen, they will. You can do your part by working really hard. I have tremendous faith in the Almighty —who does all things for me —and in my parents.

You still live with your parents?

Yes and I wouldn’t like it any other way unless I get married! Right now my elder sister’s due for a baby in the States and my mom’s gone to be with her. But two weeks without my mom is terrible — I can’t live without her! I do have a house of my own so I can always go live there, but my parents are supportive, non-interfering people so I’d prefer to be with them. They are my total support system and my backbone. I’d be spineless without them.

Is there any film you did earlier that you really regret?

There’s no point regretting and saying I should not have. I just won’t repeat those in future. I’ve never had a monetary crunch thanks to my parents, so it’s not like I was doing those films for the money. Yes, I like to work with nice, normal people who are likeminded. Money is important but I won’t do a sleazy number even for a crore!! If a role suits my sensibilities and the money is good, why not?

Mr. Shah Rukh Khan says: ‘I do one film a year like Chak De… which has something in it and then make my money via my ads’ I totally agree with this view!

What are the things you enjoy doing apart from films?

I absolutely love to dance! I practiced Kathak for about 10 years while growing up and have now started again with a new guruji – she’s very good. I do the Kathak of the Lucknow gharana which is stunningly beautiful. I’ve also done lots of Latin American with Sandeep Soparkar, tap dancing and jazz ballet with Oscar Sir.

I’m also a yoga instructor and have a teaching certificate from The Yoga Institute. I’ve also been to Bharat Thakur’s yoga school and went to Bangkok to learn Ashtang yoga. I also sing a bit.

You were earlier seen at a lot of Page 3 parties.

Yes, perhaps, but probably because I had a lot more time on my hands. But I realize that I don’t want to be written about unless I have something to show for it. For the last year-and-a-half, in any case I’ve been busy with the shooting of Chak De so there was no time to be seen anywhere.

Have you taken up a lot of endorsements now?

Yes, I’ve just been shooting as the brand ambassador for an international gym called World Gym which is launching 200 branches in India. In the States this is owned by Arnold Schwarzenegger so that’s great! I’ve also just done the Delhi and Calcutta launches for a new brand of fresh orange juice called ‘Minute-Made Pulpy’.

I’ve also shot for an underwater ad film of R Pure — which are incense cones. Since I’m a scuba diver, I did an entire ballet sequence underwater and enjoyed that a lot.

What lesson has Bollywood taught you?

That you have to keep trying and not give up. There have been and could be bad and horrible times but you can’t give up. Not everybody gets it in the first go. The main lesson is to have faith in yourself.

What’s the best compliment you recently got?

I was doing a chat show for India Times recently and a guy in the audience said ‘I think we have found the younger Shabana Azmi in Hindi films’. Now I know I’m not even anywhere on that radar, but it just felt good to hear! What a compliment that was.


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