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‘I don’t like to be boxed’: Mini Mathur

Mini Mathur.   | Photo Credit: 16dmc Mini Mathur1

Her Instagram and Twitter bio reads “Octopus with 8 working hands”, and the way Mini Mathur multi-tasks it is apt. For some time she is out of the scene but those who have grown up on the MTV diet would remember how Mini along with Cyrus Broacha introduced the concept of VJ to Indians. While many limited themselves to music and comedy, Mini hosted quiz and reality shows with equal felicity. Equally comfortable in Hindi and English, she refuses to be boxed and strongly believes that change begins with self. Currently busy producing a digital show and helping her husband, director Kabir Khan, Mini eagerly waits for the day when TV would understand the importance of a host in putting a show together.

Recently in the Capital to host , The Don’t Party, she spoke to us on issues of women’s safety and more.

Edited excerpts:

On hosting “The Don’t Party”

I was clueless what I was invited for. I considered it to be like any other United Colors of Benetton event. When I enquired, I was blown by the concept. It is very exciting to be a part of something like this which is happening for the every first time. It is not just feminism or token ideation of hum bhi yeh karenge (we will also do this). Putting this event together and inviting free entries is something. Got great performers to attract people to come and understand that it is not an equal world. The fact is that, it is not a safe place for women even if you talk about it; nothing seems to be done. It has to start at a point where within your home everybody treats their boys and girls equally. If it is a don’t for a girl, then it’s a don’t for a boy as well.

On restrictions imposed by society

As a society we have been looking after our own selves. Parents telling their children to not do something is out of concern and safety. This campaign actually tries to create an environment, which doesn’t necessitate so many concerns about your safety. I only have one message. The society does not change until you change. An army of people who think differently can change the world. If people understand, this is how they can change then hopefully it will be a step forward.

On breaking the don’ts in her life

Somehow I don’t feel I have broken any don’ts except one. When I got married, within seven months I got an offer from MTV to join them as VJ from Mumbai. No married woman moves to a new city by herself and becomes a VJ. That was very unusual and surprising for me. My mother-in-law has been a great support system who did not let me turn down this opportunity, which is the ultimate for a host. It is due to the support of my in-laws that I could move to a new city all by myself and stayed there for almost two years. Being a bit of a feminist, I don’t like to be instructed. Don’t ever tell me what I can’t do as chances are that I will do the same.

On her career as a host

I have done everything organically and never forced myself to do everything. I had a baby when I wanted to. I continued doing what I have wished for and that too on my terms. This is why I am not the face of some random shows or seasons of everything. From the very beginning, my mantra is to rather do less work, but quality work and refuse everything that is reinventing the wheel. People might say that arre itna kaam kyun nahin kar rahi (not doing so much work), but I know that I have never done something to which I need to shut my eyes and say, ‘Oh! I did that.’ So, I haven’t changed that much but got much better with time at what I do. It is sad to witness that your experience sometimes goes against you. While internationally we see most experienced and seasoned television hosts having their own shows, here if you are over 35, you are done. And some bahu in a black dress will soon replace you. I am hoping that television comes to a point, where they realise that an anchor’s job is an important one. And someone, who is well read and educated, will bring something to the table. Till then I am just happy where I am.

Moving from television to digital format

I am busy doing what I always did, hosting different shows and programmes. I have two digital shows coming soon, which are being produced by me which will present very unique concepts that I have been working on. And again it is something where I don’t want the don’ts of television. This is why I am doing digital.

On success of Kabir Khan

I am very proud of Kabir that he continues to write films that say something to bring about a change in the society in some way. For Bajrangi Bhaijaan, I believe Kabir found the right voice for himself. He set everything in the real world be it Kabul Exress, New York or Ek Tha Tiger and doesn’t like to make films in la la land. And Bajrangi Bhaijaan was a perfect mixture of something that you wanted to say in real context and yet have a superhero play a role not played by him before –– without taking off his shirt or breaking bones – and yet making it a commercial success. It is something done from heart. I remember there were lots of don’ts initially. Like he was told that he cannot use ‘bajrangi’ and ‘bhaijaan’ together.

On offers from Bollywood

Earlier, I was offered films which required me to be bubbly. But I wanted roles of slasher or a con as it challenges the real me, playing someone who is not me. Yes I love getting offers. But till the time I don’t get offered a role through which I leave a mark, I will not experiment with something. Meanwhile, I wish to bring up my children in a certain way and wish to pass on the goodness that was given to me.


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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 9:09:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/%E2%80%98I-don%E2%80%99t-like-to-be-boxed%E2%80%99-Mini-Mathur/article14238859.ece

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