Juhi Chawla: "Shah Rukh and I continue to share a wonderful rapport"
Juhi Chawla, who keeps away from the limelight, says only substantial roles that suit her age can persuade her to step out of her comfort zone.
"I don't want to do roles that don't enthuse me. I'd rather be at home because there I've such lovely things happening to my life. I only want to do scripts that touch me. That's why I accepted Onir's 'Bas Ek Pal' and Nikhil Advani's 'Salaam-e-Ishq'," Juhi told IANS.
She has just said no to a comedy with Anant Mahadevan.
"He has an excellent script but somehow I don't feel it's right for me. I love doing comedy. But this role would've suited me a few years ago. See, I'm not under any false illusions about my age. I'm married and I've kids and the audience knows that. So I'd like to do roles that suit my real-life role.
"I like playing wife because I'm comfortable doing it. I don't want to be that bubbly collegian running around pubs. I don't want audiences to turn around and say, 'Why isn't she playing her age?' I was happy doing the cameo with Shah Rukh in 'Paheli'."
Nowadays she gets offers mainly to play mom or wife.
"That's what suits me. 'Bas Ek Pal' and 'Salaam-e-Ishq' belonged to two totally different genres. 'Salaam-e-Ishq' was a big glossy Bollywood film and Nikhil Advani handled me very well. He was open to suggestions but still the master on the sets. Very organized."
Although she is not in touch with the film industry, Juhi gets time to nourish her friendship with Shah Rukh Khan and Aziz Mirza.
"Though we are not working together, Shah Rukh and I continue to share a wonderful rapport. Then there's Aziz Mirza who's like a father figure. He keeps planning something or the other. I'd like to work with him again after 'Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman' and 'Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani'. He's a joyful filmmaker, my kind of director. But that's it. I live in town and the film industry is another world."
Hiccups apart, Juhi is happy.
"It's not as if I wake up every single morning and say, 'My god, what a wonderful life!' But no complaints."
Talking about her acting journey, she said: "Aamir Khan se Rehaan Engineer tak - quite a journey," Juhi chuckled about one of her first co-stars and her co-star in Onir's "Bas Ek Pal".
Things couldn't get any better for Juhi.
"Well," she sighed. "Career-wise I'm doing the kind of work I believe in. In 'My Brother Nikhil' I was the narrator. The story was from my point of view, but I guess someone else could've told the story, huh?"
She looks back fondly at the times that have rolled by.
"I had a great time, if not shooting a film then just being with the cast crew, laughing hard with co-stars, grumbling and giggling. I still enjoy myself on the sets. But there're many new talents, and it's great to be in their company. The industry has changed, and for the better."
She doesn't crave to do more work.
"I like it the way it is right now. Not too much, not too little. This way I've time for everything I want to do. If a good role comes up I'm happy to do it. But I won't choose quantity over quality. That wasn't case earlier on. Now I'm picky."
Recently she was seen with Manoj Bajpai in choreographer Ganesh Acharya's directorial debut "Swami".
"It was not exactly hardcore Bollywood but not entirely offbeat either. It was a simple and sweet story. My new film is new director Vivek Sharma's 'Bhootnath' where I get to play mom."