Mandakini on her breastfeeding scene in Ram Teri Ganga Maili: 'It was nothing compared to what happens today'
In this exclusive interview with Hindustan Times, Mandakini talks about her debut film Ram Teri Ganga Maili, her breastfeeding scene and working on her new song as she makes her comeback with Maa O Maa that also marks her son Rabbil's debut.
Yesteryear star Mandakini is all set for a comeback after two decades. She launched her first single, Maa O Maa Monday evening and the song marks her comeback to showbiz after 26 long years of break. The actor was last seen in the film Zordaar in 1996. The song also marks the debut of her son, Rabbil Thakur. In an exclusive chat with Hindustan Times, she spoke about the song, her long break, her iconic debut Ram Teri Ganga Maili and much more.
In the interview, Mandakini has said that Raj Kapoor only wanted a fresh face for the role of Ganga in her iconic debut Ram Teri Ganga Maili. She was responding to Padmini Kolhapure's claims that the director wanted to replace her. Mandakini also recalled her iconic breastfeeding scene from the film and talked about her experience of working on the new song. Here is an excerpt from Mandakini's interview on the sidelines of her song launch.
Your debut film featured you breastfeeding, not a common sight for films in those days. What were the apprehensions that you overcame for the film?
First of all, it was not a breastfeeding scene, it was shot in such a way that it could look like one. If I go on to explain how it was done, it would be too long (a story). The cleavage that is seen on screen, you see so much of it, it is all technically done. But the way skin show is done in today's times, that was nothing. We should not be even talking about it. It (her scene) was also a pure form. Nowadays, it is all about sexuality.
Last year, Padmini Kolhapure said Raj Kapoor wanted to replace you after shooting Ram Teri Ganga Maili for 45 days. Were you aware of that?
I am not aware (of Padmini Kolhapure being approached for the role). I am only aware that everyone wanted to take up the role but Raj Kapoor wanted me because he wanted a fresh face. Not an established face, he has even said this. He said 'how can I make someone pure Ganga if they have an established image?' I don't think any such thing....I don't know.
Have you ever revisited any of your own films and regretted being a part?
I started with a high standard. My debut was with Raj Kapoor - he was called the showman for a reason. After that, I had to work with many people. Now, you cannot expect every filmmaker to make great movies or hit films. But you continue to work, not everything will be great but that is part of life.
In your recent interviews, you have said you did not miss working in films too much. What were your thoughts when you were busy taking care of your family and you saw your contemporaries doing well in their careers?
Aisa kuch (anything as such)....I do not know. I never thought like that. At that time, I felt like not doing it (films) and took the decision that felt right for me. I am happy, I have no regrets for my decision. Everyone else is doing great work, everyone is working hard. When you watch a good movie, you enjoy it and wish 'I could also do some good movie, you know, not just for the heck of doing it but real good work.
What are the good and bad changes the film industry has seen over all these years?
I have just started working, so I can't really comment on the negative aspects. I think the good part is that we are technically advanced and people are paying attention to every minute detail. When I shot the song (it was a one-day shoot), I felt it was just like how we did it back in the day. I was enjoying myself. I did not feel like I was working outside, no professional feeling, it was like family. It felt like I was at home, doing it all for our own happiness.. It would be difficult to define the good and bad changes right now as I haven't really worked much.
Maa O Maa marks your comeback after 26 years as well as your son's debut. When and how did you decide to pick up this project for the common launch?
It was on my mind for a long time that my kids are old enough now and I can get back to work. I was thinking about all this when I met Saajan. We have known each other since our younger days. We have known each other since the time we first came to Bombay. Our association is old, he liked the fact that I wanted to make a comeback and he came up with the idea immediately, on the spot. Besides, it is a sweet song with good music and lyrics. I thought it would be good. Films may take time - you choose subjects and listen to story etc, a song is a song. The song also talks about mother's sentiments. So I just decided to go with it. It is better to start with a smaller project after so long.