What Madhuri Dixit did next

01 June 2014

“WHAT DID YOU CHOOSE? The coffee?”

There is such a thing as a very Andheri office. One building away from Mainland China, one alley away from a horrid little advertising agency I worked in for a few weeks when I first moved to Mumbai, stands a functionally grey monolith. It houses, among many others, an office so utterly nondescript it could belong to anyone from a realtor to a stockist of ballpoint-pen refills. It would, however, have to be a stockist obsessed with privacy. Ringing the doorbell that sultry afternoon in April this year led to a voice through a speaker—with the curt tone of automated gates in California-based TV shows—asking me to identify myself. I promised the voice that I did indeed have an appointment “with Madam,” and waited interminably while my claim was checked and double-checked.

The reception area was tiny—a couple of chairs plonked across a man at a desk, surrounded by phones. Clearly, not too many were allowed to come in at any one time. “Two minutes,” said a voice too busy to sound reassuring, and I sat back amid the exaggerated normalcy. Then I looked to my left and saw—within that small, unspectacular bastion of the humdrum—a massive painting, vibrant and striking and carrying a stylish signature that even a philistine like me could recognise. This was certainly a present from the painter—the only modern artist who is truly a household name in India, a man who was besotted with “Madam,” and famously watched one particular movie of hers several dozen times.

Raja Sen  has been the film critic at Rediff.com since 2004, and continues to write about movies, motorsport and music for publications including GQ, Rolling Stone, The Indian Quarterly, Mumbai Mirror, Man’s World and Tehelka. He lives in Mumbai, and is working on his first book.

Keywords: cinema filmstar MF Husain Madhuri Dixit Hum Aapke Hain Koun Subhash Ghai Abhishek Chaubey Bollywood Anil Kapoor The Caravan Collection #11 dance