When she entered the film industry she caught people’s eye with her gorgeous looks and pretty figure. More than a decade after she acted opposite Aamir Khan in Sarfarosh , Sonali Bendre continues to be a head turner. Now a fixture on television for more than decade, she will soon be seen as a judge along with Vivek Oberoi and Anurag Basu on Zee TV’s upcoming show ‘India’s Best Dramebaaz’. Sonali was in the Capital recently for auditions for the show. Here she speaks about how she loves working with children and how TV has been kind to her. Excerpts…
You seem to have become a permanent fixture on television, judging so many reality shows....
I started working on television a long time ago. In fact, I was the first female actor to take on television. I did ‘Kya Masti Kya Dhoom’ some 10-15 years ago and since then I have a beautiful relationship with television.
I have done a lot of films and received a lot of acclaim and fan following, but the fan following I got after I joined television is amazing. I love shows involving children. I have always been able to interact with them, they are so innocent and pure. Working on television consumes less time than doing films and I have my priorities and responsibilities.
Now you are a co-judge on this show, tell us what it is all about…
Yes, I am one of the judges on the show but let me tell you we are not going to judge them, because they are too young, we are here to guide them and be their mentors. Every child is a dramebaaz . Here we are looking for kids who are naughty but confident.
How difficult is it to say ‘no’ to a child?
Saying ‘no’ to a child is the most difficult thing. We are trying to say ‘no’ to them, but having said this I must say that the kids are very resilient. There are a lot of moments when we have to tell them that your performance was not up to the mark; we feel very bad about this, and they just say no problem next time I will give a better performance! They are so cute when they say this and this spirit of the kids is really wonderful. There are times when they become emotional and here I feel it is the pressure of the parents; otherwise, they do not know about wins and losses. It is part of a game for them, and they just move on.
Does this experience remind you in any way of your own childhood?
I do not think that I was a dr amebaaz when I was a kid. I was a simple and normal child – but my mother thought otherwise! I come from a conservative family. We were not even allowed to watch television and we never had film or glamour magazines at home.
You recently made a comeback to cinema. Are you serious about a second innings in films?
Yes, I did a role in Milan’s (Luthria) film Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai 2 . I did it because it was his film and we have enjoyed working together. When he asked me to take up this role I could not say no, and the other most important thing was that Shobha Aunty (Shobha Kapoor, Jitendra’s wife) and my mother-in-law are friends for 40 years. When she called my mother-in-law and asked her to convince me to do this film, I had no other option but to say yes. I am doing this film only for them. Further, I do not know whether I will be doing more films or not, as I have never planned things in my life, I take each day as it comes.