So, who is the show-stealer? Who has the ability to charm you like never before, every single time you see her? In a war between the ever-so-elegant Madhuri Dixit and the quintessential girl-next-door Juhi Chawla, whose side will I be on? This is the question that has been running in my mind for quite some time now. And the answer to this would have been fairly obvious, if somebody would have asked me this some two weeks back.
But, ever since I saw the recently aired Koffee With Karan episode starring Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla, I have had my doubts. Being a huge Madhuri fan myself, it was disheartening to see the way she was completely overshadowed by Juhi on the show, be it in terms of the dressing sense, the posture maintained throughout the show or the spark that usually comes with a star. The lack lustrous performance of Madhuri was further accentuated by her dull and tired expression throughout the show. Juhi, on the other hand, was mesmerising. While Madhuri came across as arrogant in certain places, Juhi’s humbleness and honesty was fresh and appealing to a viewer’s eye.
And if for a moment I felt guilty for my wavering loyalties, Gulaab Gang further substantiated my views. Although Madhuri delivers an act full of grit and determination as the leader Rajjo, Juhi is a class apart. Probably after Dhoom 2, this is the first time the anti-hero has stolen the show away. Her portrayal of the power- driven, cunning political honcho is way different than anything she has done in her career before and is surprisingly convincing. In spite of a larger share of screen space, the positive role and all the song and dance sequences, Madhuri fails to recreate the magic she is known for. The power and aggression that was essential for the role was evident only in bits and parts. It felt like her heart was not completely into this role.
What worked in Juhi’s favour? Was it the well scripted role? Was it the extra edge that a villain always has over the hero but is difficult to portray on screen? Or was it the fact that the majority would have expected Madhuri to outshine her and that incited her to prove her mettle? Was it the pent-up anger of being second to the Diva for so many years in spite of being equally talented and charming? I can keep speculating, but does not take away from the fact that Juhi gave her fans a reason to celebrate and her critics some food for thought. All the people who thought that her glorious days were well behind her might have something to ponder over. I guess, it is rightly said, that acting is very much like riding a bicycle, once one learns it, one can’t unlearn it! And for all the Madhuri fans out there, believe me, I am more than looking forward for the Magic to return!