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On her own terms

S.M. AAMIR
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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 a decade, she will soon be seen as a judge along with Vivek Oberoi and Anurag Basu on Zee TV’s new show, ‘India’s Best Dramebaaz’ (Saturday-Sunday, 9 p.m.) . Sonali speaks about how she loves working with children. Excerpts:

You seem to have become a permanent fixture on television judging so many reality shows....

I started working on TV a long time ago. In fact, I was the first female actor to take up TV when I did ‘Kya Masti Kya Dhoom.’ Working for television consumes less time and I have enough time for my other priorities.

Tell us what the show is all about…

Yes, I may be one of the judges 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 . We are looking for kids who are naughty and more 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 add that the children are resilient. There are many moments when we have to tell them that their performance is not up to the mark; we feel bad saying it, but they just say, ‘No problem. Next time I will perform better’!

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 child. I was a simple, normal child — but my mother thought otherwise! I come from a conservative family. We were not even allowed to watch TV and we never had film or glamour magazines at home.

You recently made a comeback on the big screen. Are you serious about a second innings in films?

Yes, I did a role in Milan’s (Luthria) ‘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.

The other most important reason was because Shobha Kapoor (producer) and my mother-in-law have been friends for 40 years. When she called my mother-in-law and asked her to convince me to do this film, I had no option but to say yes. I am doing this film only for them. As for the future, I don’t know. I have never planned things in my life, I take each day as it comes.

S.M. AAMIR

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