From wannabe actress in Rangeela to obsessed lover in Pyar Tune Kya Kiya, to roles that literally made hearts stop in Bhoot and Naina, to spiritual leader in Banaras, Urmila Matondkar has played it all.
The star will now take on the role of a civil engineer in Onir's Bas Ek Pal, releasing this week. Priyanka Jain caught up with Matondkar and got her to talk about the film, her directorial plans and why she should be mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records. Excerpts from an interview:
Tell us about Bas Ek Pal.
I play an engineer called Anamika, who is confident, ambitious, sensitive and sensible. She is aware of her sensuality and doesn't mind flaunting it. The film shows her in two phases of life, separated by a gap of three years. Rarely in Hindi cinema are women shown the way they actually are in real life. Whether it is my character or my interaction with Juhi Chawla's character, Ira, I could instantly relate to most of it.
The film is about five characters -- played by Urmila, Juhi, Sanjay Suri, Jimmy Shergill and Rehan Engineer -- and how one incident changes their lives forever.
You are not playing the central character, so what made you sign the film?
Two things -- first, when I saw Onir's first film, My Brother... Nikhil, I wanted to work with him. Such movies usually make me very sad, so I avoid watching them. But I was amazed at the sensitivity with which the issue of AIDS was dealt with. Secondly, when he narrated the story of Bas Ek Pal, I loved the screenplay. It is today's movie, and I felt it would be wonderful to be part of today's cinema.
Photographs: Getty Images