In an industry where 40-plus heroines making a comeback are considered to be at a disadvantage (even as 40-plus heroes continue to romance increasingly younger actresses), Madhuri Dixit seems to be rewriting the rules.
Director Soumik Sen’s next, Gulab Gang, which is being billed as Madhuri’s comeback film, which is about a vigilante group of female activists, has been turned into a veritable one-woman army, with Madhuri calling the shots all the way.
So much so, her role, originally written as that of a 45-plus gang leader with a grown-up son has been altered to accommodate a younger brother instead.
Apparently, Madhuri didn’t want to get typecast into the ‘mother’ bracket at this stage of her career. Never mind the fact that even actresses of the stature of Waheeda Rehman have faced premature motherhood in films like Phagun, that too in the prime of her career.
A source close to the film told Mirror, “Madhuriji is virtually the gang leader, not just on screen but also behind the scenes. From the minute she was signed, she took over. She didn’t want to play a mother to an adult son. So the role has been altered to her liking. Her son is now her kid-brother.”
And, it doesn’t end there. We hear the script has undergone such a drastic change that the other woman protagonist’s role, which was as strong as Madhuri’s to begin with, has now been reduced to a mere shadow of its original self.
Our source revealed, “The drama in Gulab Gang was centred on the conflict between Madhuri’s character and a powerful woman politician, who takes her on. In the first draft of the script, before Madhuri was roped in, the other woman protagonist had five to six powerful scenes.
However, in the second draft after Madhuri was signed, most of the scenes were either removed or reduced. Gulab Gang is now virtually a one-woman show.” Apparently, the once-powerful female politician’s role was offered to the likes of Raveena Tandon, Tabu, Rani Mukerji and Vidya Balan but all of them said they had virtually nothing to do in the film after reading the script.
One of the actresses on condition of anonymity, revealed, “Initially, the script had a lot of meat for both the gang leader and the female politician. Once Madhuri stepped in to play the gang leader, the other role became negligible. The dramatic conflict is now missing. And poor Soumik has little choice except to quietly deal with the changes to the best of his abilities.”
Amrita Singh, who is also rumoured to have been approached for the politician's role, did not respond when we tried to contact her. Attempts to contact producer Anubhav Sinha, Madhuri and her business manager remained without success. While Soumik remained unavailable for comment, his friend called to say, “Soumik is no position to say anything. It has taken him four years to get Gulab Gang going.
At one point, Aamir Khan had read the script and loved it. But finally, it’s Anubhav Sinha who’s agreed to produce the film. Soumik wouldn’t like to mess up his chance. I hope you understand.” We aren’t sure we do…