I adore Aamir Khan

I adore Aamir Khan

Poonam Dhillon, the pretty star of classic Bollywood films like Noorie and Yeh Vaada Raha has lost none of her vivacity as she takes on the offbeat role of a vibrant single woman looking for companionship in the popular play U Turn, which will be staged in Dubai tonight.

By Enid Parker

Published: Thu 21 Feb 2013, 8:52 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 5:10 AM

She spoke to City Times about the draw of theatre and why a lot of people (especially mature singles) will connect with her new play.

Why did you decide to be a part of U Turn?

I have always been attracted to plays with fewer characters and with preferably some kind of moral or theme, rather than just slapstick fare. I had heard good things about U Turn way before I became involved; it has had a fantastic run of over 600 shows in Marathi and Gujarati, and we are now presenting it in Hindi. The subject matter, which by Indian standards is a bit bold, really interested me.

It revolves around an older man and woman - both single, who decide that marriage is not a necessity; at their age what they really need is companionship. They meet by chance and ultimately take the bold step of living together. I think the message here is that at some point you have to fend for yourself as an individual. I think a lot of single people in their late 40s and 50s will identify with this play. It’s very beautifully written, combining romance with humour and poignancy. My character is this very exuberant and positive woman (she’s a widow) who still harbours dreams of romance whereas Aasif Sheikh’s character - he plays an ex army man who’s had a bad marriage - is more cynical and dismissive of such fancies.

For me the ultimate gratification is getting a good reaction from the audience. In theatre there is no such thing as a false response, everything is spontaneous! I guess that’s the most exciting part, and also the most frightening (laughs)!

Do you feel it’s important that people of a certain age live for themselves rather than anyone else?

I think it really is because right from childhood we aim to please others - whether it’s our parents by getting good grades or other accomplishments or later in life our in-laws, husbands and children. Many women end up putting themselves last . But it’s never too late to rectify this and do what you really want to do.

Your thoughts on bringing U Turn to Dubai.

I have performed other plays in Dubai and have always found the audience extremely responsive - they are very appreciative of what we do. Last month I was shooting in the city for Prabhudeva’s film Ramaya vasta vayya - I’d shoot in the day and go shopping in the evenings - it was so much fun because DSF was on and shops were open till quite late! One can holiday there for over a week and never repeat a club or restaurant or experience - there is so much variety and so much to see and do!

You appeared on Season 3 of reality show Bigg Boss. What was that experience like?

I was quite unprepared as it was my first time on a reality show. But despite negativity and other issues it was an experience that I will always cherish because I learnt a lot about different types of people and myself as well. I had no idea how people were reacting on the outside to me and someone who went out and came in on a wildcard told me that I was very boring since I never fought, only cooked and did routine things. When I came out I heard things like ‘you were our favourite we thought you were the most normal, stable person and we liked watching you’. People who had been fans for years admitted that this was a part of me they never knew.

How does contemporary television and cinema compare to earlier fare?

I feel cinema has become much more diverse in terms of content and exposure. Today there are all kinds of films being made - those which can be totally commercial and regressive in terms of what they are doing, but also highly stimulating thought provoking cinema.

As far as television is concerned, earlier most shows were aired once a week and more effort was put into them; now it’s a case of quantity over quality. Having said that, with improvements in technology the look of the shows is so much better now; there is more gloss and glamour. TV stars are well respected and nowadays even Bollywood stars are aware of the power of this medium and are using it to promote their work.

Who among the current crop of movie stars are your favourites?

I adore Aamir Khan and Hrithik Roshan. I love Priyanka and Kareena and Deepika is extremely hot! Today’s celebs are so well presented; a lot of work goes into maintaining a star’s image now.

Did you have a favourite co-star in the 80s?

I was quite fond of a lot of them but someone I really really admired and still do is Rishi Kapoor - he’s a very fine actor, so natural and as a co-star was very charming and had an excellent sense of humour.

What can you tell us about your future plans?

I have completed Prabhudeva’s film which should release in June. Of course I’ll be playing more character roles now and not run around trees anymore! But sadly there are very few meaty roles for women my age. The spotlight now is on the youth.


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