When you meet Madhuri Bhatia, make sure you have lots of time at hand for she loves to chat and share notes. An animated conversation with her is sure to boost your adrenaline, more than any bungey jumping experiment. Trust me when I say this, you will return an enriched soul after meeting her.
Actor, jazz singer, voiceover artist, yoga practitioner, danseuse, choreographer and most importantly, an unassuming and a very interesting personality, Madhuri Bhatia is all this and much more. Her artistically-designed and meticulously-maintained abode in Andheri, Mumbai reflects her personality.
Single but always ready to mingle, this 64-year-old feisty lady blessed with a distinct voice believes talent is only a potential and is of use only when converted in to a skill. One can learn only this much on-the-job. “While desire is simply the foundation, only a marriage of rigorous training and talent can result in its success in any field. One has to keep upgrading to avoid becoming stagnant,” asserts Bhatia.
After completing Bachelor of Performing Arts (B.P.A) from Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra in New Delhi, Bhatia also pursued a diploma in Hath Yoga and Pranayam and classical Indian dance technique Mayurbhanj Chhaau from the same institution. She studied western music with Paramvir and Zohra Shaw.
She does not particularly like the term ‘celebrity’ and says one should compete with oneself and never pull others down or ride on anyone’s shoulders, a common trend in the showbiz industry. “I feel happier when people appreciate my work, not just when I am asked for autographs or photo-ops. She stated she was glad to be in an era when so much of experimental work in the arts was taking place.
Her list of films in India and Canada includes Pardes, Kites, My Bollywood Bride, Masala, Dreams Of The Night Cleaners and The Kalani of Shiva. Her TV shows include Kahin To Hogaa, Kuch Is Tarah, Harry’s Case, Relic Hunter and many more.
She has conducted and participated in several workshops on improvisation, scene and character study, movement and voice. As a voiceover artiste, she has worked in several voicing projects on a regular basis with Disney, E-learning and assorted narrations in Hindi and English.
Ruing that physical appearance has become the most important pre-requisite of acting, Bhatia said, “Botox or the lack of it is not going to make you a better actor. Being obsessed with one’s physicality is counter-productive. One has to come to terms with what one has and work with it”.
It is arrogance to think, ‘I have made it by myself’. We are where we are because of the support we receive from our relationships and the environment, pointed Bhatia.
She has been awarded the New York Bronze (Acting) in Toronto, Canada and A .V.A. Bronze for voicing in Mumbai. She believes that each of us is special in our own ways. “Some people are good at their work and are recognized. Unfortunately, some people of caliber are never given the opportunity.
Instead of attempting to be different, one should just concentrate on doing an assignment well, she added. Bhatia believes, “The satisfaction that lies in the process of creating is the utimate essence of beauty”.
A globe trotter, she has a vast, varied and an amazing collection of books, trinkets and music albums.
As a child, she was once slapped by her Pakistan-born father for asking, “What is my caste?” She grew up listening to her father reading excerpts from various spiritual books and her mother listening to classical Indian and western musical notes. “We, humans, should learn to take ourselves lightly and laugh at ourselves. Religion is best confined to our homes. In fact, the only religion of value is one’s value system,” she stated.
Pics by Farooq Sayed