Renuka Shahane says she was told to let go of any ambitions to become a heroine: 'You will not get the lead'
Actor Renuka Shahane revealed that Hum Aapke Hain Koun producer Rajkumar Barjatya asked her about taking a role in the Hindi film as Madhuri Dixit's sister. He told her if she had any ambitions to become a heroine, she won't get any lead roles after playing a sister.
Renuka Shahane was already a known name ahead of her Hindi debut with Sooraj Barjatya's Hum Aapke Hain Koun in 1994. She had acted in the TV show Circus with Shah Rukh Khan and hosted another show on Doordarshan called Surabhi, with Siddharth Kak. Renuka played the elder sister, Pooja, of Madhuri Dixit's Nisha in the blockbuster Hindi film who gets married to Mohnish Bahl's character. The family drama, which also stars Salman Khan, is based on Rajshri Productions' previous hit Nadiya Ke Paar (1982). (Also read: Renuka Shahane recreates Hum Aapke Hain Koun song with Devoleena Bhattacharjee, calls her 'the sweetest.' Watch)
The actor made her film debut with the Marathi film Hach Sunbaicha Bhau in 1992. But it was Hum Aapke Hain Koun which brought her even more fame. After that, she was often typecast as the sister, wife, of bhabhi (sister-in-law) of the lead characters. But she revealed that she knew what she was doing when she signed on for the role of Pooja in the hit film.
Speaking with Mid-Day, Renuka said, "Raj babu ji [Rajkumar Barjatya], Soorajji's father had told me before accepting the role. I was a newcomer and he didn't need to say this but he explained 'Once you do this, if you have any ambitions to become a heroine you are not going to get those offers because you will be typecast as someone's sister or wife. Basically second lead! You will not get the lead.'"
She added, "I was fine with that because I didn't come with any such aims, I wanted to learn on the job and enjoy myself. I was so amazed that he was kind enough to guide me." Renuka also shared that oftentimes in films, her character never even had a name, it was just as a heroine's sister. She also took more television roles in the 1990s and 2000s as they were more satisfying. The actor even played the lead in the comedy Mrs Madhuri Dixit on the Zee TV series.
Renuka, who is married to actor Ashutosh Rana, was last seen in the Vicky Kaushal-starrer Govinda Naam Mera on Disney+ Hotstar last year. She has also directed the Marathi film Rita in 2006 and the Hindi film Tribhanga which released on Netflix in 2021. Starring Kajol, Tanvi Azmi and Mithila Palkar, Tribhanga followed the difficult relationships between three generations of women in a family.