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Thread: The man who made Madhuri Dixit a star

  1. #1

    The man who made Madhuri Dixit a star

    'The Ek Do Teen song was shot for many days.'
    'Listening to it so many times during the shoot, we knew it would be a big hit.'
    'When Tezaab released, Madhuri had gone to the US for a holiday.'
    'When she returned to Mumbai, there was a large crowd waiting for her at the airport, calling out 'Mohini, Mohini,' her character from Tezaab.'
    'That day Madhuri had arrived in the real sense.'

    For Madhuri Dixit, her long-time manager Rikku Rakesh Nath was the wind beneath her wings.

    He worked with the stunning actress for 28 years, right from the time she was introduced in her first film Abodh in 1984.

    As Madhuri celebrates her 50th birthday on May 15, Rikku looks back at her long journey in the movies and tells's Patcy N how she became a star.

    I met Madhuri in 1984 on the sets of a television serial (Paying Guest) at Chandavali studio (north-west Mumbai). I met her through her hairdresser Khatoon, who also worked with my client Salma Agha.

    (Madhuri's first film) Abodh had not released yet.

    Khatoon told me Madhuri was very talented and had a good face. When I met her, I realised Khatoon was right.

    I stood in a corner and watched Madhuri perform. She was very confident and I was very impressed.

    One day, I called her and she asked me to come over.

    I met Madhuri's mother, had tea with them and realised they are a simple Maharashtrain family.

    Meanwhile, Khatoon had also introduced Madhuri to Subhash Ghai. She had a small role in Karma -- I think it was a dance sequence, which was deleted in the final cut. But she was also signed for Ghai's Uttar Dakshin.

    I was handling Anil Kapoor's work too, so I spoke to his brother Boney Kapoor about her.

    Boney took me to Subhash Ghai's office once, and all of us sat down together to decide how we would promote her.

    We decided to give an advertisement in Screen magazine, listing the names of producers like Shashi Kapoor, F C Mehra, Yash Chopra and Ashok Thakeria who were going to work with her. Most of them did not work with her, but we gave the ad anyway.

    I started working with her officially the week Abodh released.

    Abodh flopped badly, so I decided not to watch the film. I did not want to discourage myself.

    We got her portfolio made with photographers like J P Singhal, Rakesh Shrestha, Jayesh Seth and many more.

    In those days, I would go to producers' offices with TPs (transparencies or positive transparent photographs printed on transparent plastic or glass, able to be viewed using a slide projector.)

    Before I started working with her, she had signed five films. Her roles were small, but the films were big like Awara Baap, Swati, Maanav Hatya and Mohre.

    She was getting films as the second and third lead. I just wanted her work to start, so she did those films.

  2. #2

    It is funny how Madhuri got Tezaab

    (Filmmaker) T Rama Rao had cast Madhuri in 1988's Khatron Ke Khiladi with Dharmendra, Sanjay Dutt, Chunkey Pandey and Neelam.

    The film's ad listed Madhuri's name last, so I asked T Rama Rao why he did that. She had been cast opposite Sanjay Dutt, who was the second lead, so her name should have been on top.

    Rao explained that the names were according to seniority.

    So I told him Madhuri was senior to Neelam.

    He asked me to prove it.

    I went to Ramesh Behl, the director of Neelam's debut film Jawaani, and asked him to give me a letter stating the film's release date.

    Then I went to Rajshri Productions to get a letter stating the release of Madhuri's Abodh. Both had released in 1984, but Abodh had released earlier.

    So T Rama Rao agreed to put Madhuri's name on top of Neelam's.

    But at Rajshri's office, I met my old friend Chandrashekhar Narvekar. You know him as N Chandra. I knew him from the time he was assisting Gulzar.

    "Do you know I'm signing your hero?" he asked me, referring to Anil Kapoor.

    I had known it, as I was handling Anil Kapoor's work.

    He said he was looking for a new girl.

    I immediately removed the TPs and showed Madhuri's pictures. He liked them.

    He asked, "Can I see her rushes?"

    I told him he was at the right place, as Rajshri had produced Abodh. We asked them if they could show us some reels of Madhuri Dixit, and they agreed.

    We saw the reels during the lunch break. Even though Madhuri played a traditional Indian woman in Abodh, he was impressed. I added that she is a good dancer too.

    Both of us met Madhuri and she was signed on for Tezaab.

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