BINDU - “I am selfish as an artist”

(This interview of BINDU by JYOTHI VENKATESH appeared for the first time 35 years ago in CURRENT issue dt October 3, 1981)
By Jyothi Venkatesh

Ever since Do Raaste hit the screen nearly a decade ago, Bindu has ruled the silver screen with every product churned out in the tinsel world boasting her name to add a little bit of oomph to it. She almost displaced Helen who till then was the only vamp the industry had known eve since Cuckoo bowed out in the early 50’s.

Off the screen, Bindu is no sex kitten and looks like a typical Gujubehn. She was playing with her sister’s child enjoying choice films on the VCR, adorned with down to earth attire which covered her vital statistics from top to toe, making one wonder whether it is the same Bindu who sizzles you in theatres.
Though she wouldn’t confess that she is fed up of films, a certain kind of complacency has set in. She doesn’t mind if the right kind of role comes across her to prove that she is a good actress too.“I do not want to be wasted in inane roles which wouldn’t enable me to leave an impact. The day Shaan was released many friends rang up to criticize me for having accepted that one minute party sequence. I have now decided not to do any guest appearances, though in the past I used to accept such offers. If today there is no scope for vamps in the industry, it is because leading ladies have also started accepting these roles. When I did the title role in Hawas, no heroine was ready though all of them would vie with one another to do a meaty role.”
Bindu continues. “The problem today is that our writers do not work ork like they did for Simi in Karz. It is not the audience but the producers and directors who are least interested in taking risks. They peddle the same old stereotyped characters in film after film and expect the audience to stomach the trash. Abroad one finds even a small character portrayed with reality as that will linger in the memory of the cinegoer even after he leaves the auditorium. But here in India, does anyone remember the role that either Parveen Babi or Sarika did in Manoj Kumar’s Kranti? People talk only about Manoj Kumar, Dilip Kumar or Hema Malini”.
Bindu is full of praise for the audiences. “They are intelligent enough to realise that we are characters who portray different roles in different films and hence I find I am acceptable even if I appear once in a while in sympathetic roles.”
How did Bindu bag her break as a vamp in Do Raaste? I asked her though I knew that it would be the umpteenth time that she was asked the same question. “I was waiting for a break even after marriage since my husband Champak Jhaveri has always been a progressive man to let me dabble in whatever field I fancied.
Bindu asserts that she had almost given up when I met Raj Khosla at my brother in law Laxmikant’s house. He asked me whether I would be interested in playing a negative role in Do Raaste and promised me that though Mumtaz would be the heroine of the film, I would be the heroine of the story portrayed and the film will be on my character. I agreed.”
People viewed her entry with less expectations talent wise as earlier Gujaratis like Asha Parekh and Sanjeev Kumar “used to fumble with their Hindi on the screen”. In Kati Patang, my role clicked because the dance I did was relevant to the story. I was appalled to see Kalpana Iyer being wasted in Kudrat in which she appeared in just a dance number without contributing to the story in any manner whatsoever.

Bindu continues as a matter of fact. “I didn’t enter the industry with the intention of becoming a dancer or a vamp. I was compelled to after Kati Patang. I envy Helenji because she is superb as far as dancing is concerned. Nobody can beat Helenji. The way she has maintained her figure I do not think any other dancer can be compared with her for the next hundred years.”
According to Bindu, the reason today’s actresses are wasted in inane roles is because it is a hero oriented industry where a man rules the trade. The producer caters to the needs of the hero and does not bother about the heroines.”I do not blame the heroines for doing insignificant roles because what one hears at the time of the story’s narration before one signs a film is different from what is presented ultimately on the screen.I am calculative. I see to it that I get prominence in every dance number that I do. Even today people remember Dharma, Anhonee and Zanjeer in which my dance numbers became the rage of the day. As an artiste, I am selfish and wouldn’t like even the hero or the heroine to steal the scene from me”.

“I have always got along well with my heroes. Thankfully it is with the villains that I have been linked by the press. I remember the time when Amitabh used to tell me that since the films were flopping regularly one after the other, “ek din hamein to line chodke jaana padega”. Then came Abhimaan and Zanjeer and his career was made. Look at Amitabh today. I would only say that it is a case of waqt waqt ki baat hain.”

Right now Bindu is looking forward to the release of some of her latest films like Raj Kapoor’s Prem Rog, Prakash Mehra’s Kaayar, Atmaraksha, Hum Log, Hisaab Kitaab and Meherbani.“Slowly and steadily, I want to graduate to good character roles, not necessarily a mother’s role and prove that I am not cut out just to shake a bottom here and wriggle a bottom there to titillate the audience”, Bindu signs off.


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