Dimple Kapadia has matured like fine wine. The veteran actress who had audiences heady with her sensational debut in Bobby (1973), has come a long, long way. Drunk on her thrilling screen presence, on her fresh looks and bursting youthfulness, audiences asked for more but a quick and early marriage to the reigning superstar Rajesh Khanna and subsequent motherhood, with two daughters, took away the young Dimple. She came, she conquered and she vanished, felt her disappointed fans.
An equally early divorce followed and soon a decade in absentia saw to it that she lost precious time in the field. But despite the “several commas”, as she terms her hiatus, she re-entered with Saagar (1985) and has gone on to create for herself a space where success is coupled with satisfaction.
Dressed in a striking royal blue sari, with her gorgeous lustrous hair framing her beautiful face, Dimple was seen restlessly parading and learning her dialogues in Malayalam. She was in the city to shoot for a Malayalam film, ‘Bombay Mittayi', where she plays the role of wife to none other than the politician-actor Amar Singh. And it is on his behest that she is in the film, she says.
Ask the veteran actor about the three decades and more of being in the industry and Dimple says that she was lucky to come in the era when she did. Her first experience with Raj Kapoor was something which nobody could even dream of. Marriage, motherhood and divorce took her away from the industry for ten long years and when she did re enter, things had changed, but not for the better. “There were no subjects, no characters of importance. All a film needed was six songs and five bytes. The concentration then was on good songs, fight masters and top artists and you had a top film. After a brilliant performance in ‘Rudaali', which won her an award, it seemed Dimple was back on track. But no, she slipped once again into the periphery. “I never thought I would get a National Award. For me it was huge and I got complacent.” But then Dimple says she is not aggressive by nature and is happy at this pace.
On being a young mother she recalls how her mother and mother-in-law completely took away the reality of motherhood from her. “I didn't have to deal with it.” But when she sees her daughters as mothers, of their commitment and hard work over their kids, she feels that despite her proxy motherhood her girls have turned out to be wonderful people.
Parenting was not easy as Dimple was a very young mother. “I don't know who raised whom, whether I brought them up or they brought me up. We share a very constructive relationship for Twinkle tells me that she learnt, ‘what not to do' from me.”
Rinke, her second daughter, still remains a little girl for Dimple, she says fondly.
As a young glamorous grandmother, Dimple believes that her role hasn't changed. Aarav, her grandson, “behaves like my grandfather. He is constantly advising me.” She narrates cute little chit chats that both grandmother and grandson have.
Ask her about her expressing a desire to act once again with Rajesh Khanna, and Dimple says pragmatically, “He is a legend. I have spent nine years of my life with him and have been a great fan of his. I would love to do a film with him.”
With her most famous co-star, Rishi Kapoor, Dimple shares a very friendly relationship. “In fact with him and with the entire Kapoor family”. The two are starring once again in Nikhil Advani's ‘Patiala House'. .
Her superstar son-in-law, Akshay Kumar is “affectionate, caring and loving,” treats her more like a mother, she says fondly.
The young stars of today, she says, are hard working and there is focus on character. She recalls that her launch pad was under the master craftsman, Raj Kapoor and that no youngster could have it better. But today discipline and professionalism are back on the sets, something that existed in the 60s and disappeared in the 70s, when she entered the industry. Shabana Azmi is an actor she admires and though she has been very fortunate to do certain roles, Dimple feels she could have done better films. Her most memorable role was in ‘Lekin', “a very lovely character”, which she wishes lasted longer.
Has she intentionally kept away from hard core commercial films? She says that she has always attempted to do off beat roles. “It is doubtful if I will take a commercial role now.”
At 53, Dimple is svelte and gorgeous and that despite her fitness regime not being as stringent as earlier. “I keep yo-yoing ….and am now comfortable in sari roles.”
Though she does no cooking she jokes that she has eight hands to eat and can tell anyone what's wrong with a dish after tasting it. With a candle making business in place and a doting family of children and grandchildren and nephew ( Simple's son, came along with her) her life seems full to the brim. Dimple enjoys the affection and attention.
“I am more comfortable in my skin. I am not craving to do a lot more. I don't want to push myself and am happy doing one to two films a year.”
Coming back to the laughter and the noise at the shoot and with Amar Singh rehearsing his lines in Malayalam, Dimple jokes and says that he is putting up an Oscar winning performance while she could get a film award for her hard work.
The backwaters of Kerala are beckoning her to come again and in the city she would definitely visit Jew Street to pick up antiques, which are a passion with her.