It is difficult to contain the achievements of a Bollywood diva and superstar like Madhuri Dixit (Nene). The ‘golden girl’ who turns a year younger today (May 15) gave Bollywood some of the most memorable performances and dance sequences. Madhuri Dixit not only danced like a diva but also acted superbly.
Madhuri Dixit’s performances in Tezaab (1988), Parinda (1989), Prem Pratigyaa (1989), Ram Lakhan (1989), Dil (1990), Tridev (1989), Thanedaar (1990), Kishen Kanhaiya (1990), Saajan (1991), Khalnayak (1993), Beta (1992), Anjaam (1994), Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! (1994), Dil To Pagal Hai (1997), Mrityudand (1997), Raja (1995), Lajja (2001) and Devdas (2002) made her one of the most powerful actresses of her time.
One of the most striking scenes of her that remind us of her sheer power and purity of the soul is from Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s adaptation of Sarat Chandra Chatterjee’s novel Devdas. Devdas (2002) features Shah Rukh Khan as Devdas Mukherjee, Aishwarya Rai (Bachchan) as Parvati/Paro and Madhuri Dixit as Chandramukhi.
In one particular scene, Chandramukhi (a courtesan, tawaif), invited by Paro to a Durga Puja celebration at her husband’s home, is humiliated by Paro’s husband’s ill-natured son-in-law Kalibabu (Milind Gunaji) in front of all those who are a part of the Durga Puja.
Paro invites Chandramukhi to the Durga Puja without revealing Chandramukhi’s profession. But Kalibabu, a frequenter to the brothel, reveals Chandramukhi’s background. He humiliates her. Without getting pinned down, she tells all he is the one who visits her place regularly. She tells people like Kalibabu have kept her prostitution business successful.
She slaps him tight and tells in a teary but powerful voice that the tamasha/nautanki has ended now. She makes Kalibabu realise he can entertain no one by performing tamasha/nautanki. Chandramukhi holds her own by saying none can prepare an idol of Goddess Durga without using the soil brought from a courtesan’s vicinity. She says that soil is not so weak. It is Madhuri Dixit at her best.