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Back in action Dimple Kapadia.
Back in action Dimple Kapadia.

Dimple Kapadia on her penchant for offbeat roles

Dimple Kapadia has matured like fine wine. The actor who had audiences heady with her sensational debut in “Bobby” (1973), has come a long, long way. Drunk on her thrilling screen presence, her fresh looks and bursting youthfulness, audiences asked for more but a quick and early marriage to the then reigning superstar Rajesh Khanna and subsequent motherhood, ended Dimple's dream run.

A divorce and a decade in absentia saw Dimple losing precious time in the industry. But despite the “several commas”, as she terms her hiatus, she re-entered with “Saagar” (1985) and created a space for herself.

Dressed in a striking royal blue sari, with her lustrous hair framing her beautiful face, Dimple was recently in Kochi to shoot for a Malayalam film, “Bombay Mittayi”, in which she plays the wife of politician-actor Amar Singh. And it is at his behest that she is in the film, she says.

Ask the actor about her more than three-decade tryst with the industry and Dimple says that she was lucky to have come in at the right time and to be launched by showman, Raj Kapoor.

“All a film needed then was six songs and five bytes. The concentration was on good music, fight scenes and top artists.”

After a brilliant performance in “Rudaali”, which won her a National award, it seemed Dimple was back. But once again she went on a sabbatical.

“I never thought I would get a National award. For me it was huge and I got complacent. I am not aggressive by nature and happy to work at this pace.”

On bringing up her children, 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 now sees her daughters as committed mothers, she feels that 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. 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 her, Dimple 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 talks of the cute little chats that she has with him. Ask her about her desire to act 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”. Shabana Azmi is another actor she admires.

Her superstar son-in-law, Akshay Kumar is “affectionate, caring and loving,” and treats her more like a mother, she smiles.

About the industry today, Dimple feels that the young actors are hard working. And that discipline and professionalism are back on the sets, something that existed in the 1960s and disappeared in the 1970s, when she entered the industry.

Though she has been very fortunate to have done some good roles, Dimple wishes she could have chosen better films. Her most memorable role was in “Lekin”, “a very lovely character”.

And has she intentionally kept away from hardcore commercial films? Dimple 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 despite her fitness regime not being stringent. Though she does no cooking, she jokes that she loves to eat and can tell what's wrong with a dish.

With a candle-making business in place and a doting family of children and grandchildren and nephew (Simple's son was with her at the shoot) her life seems full.

PRIYADERSHINI S.

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