The star of yesteryear Mandakini is poised for a comeback after two decades. She released her first single, Maa O Maa, on Monday night, and the song marks her comeback in showbiz after a long 26-year hiatus. The actor was last seen in the movie Zordaar in 1996. The song also marks the debut of her son, Rabbil Thakur. In an exclusive interview with Hindustan Times, she talked about the song, her long hiatus, her iconic debut Ram Teri Ganga Maili and much more.

In the interview, Mandakini has said that Raj Kapoor only wanted a fresh face for the role of Ganga in her iconic debut Ram Teri Ganga Maili. She responded to Padmini Kolhapure’s claims that the director wanted to replace her. Mandakini also recalled her iconic breastfeeding scene from the film and shared her experience working on the new song. Here’s an excerpt from Mandakini’s interview on the sidelines of her song launch.

Your debut film showed you breastfeeding, which was not common for movies at the time. What fears have you overcome for the film?

First of all, it wasn’t a breastfeeding scene, it was shot so it could look like this. If I go further explaining how it is done, it would be too long (a story). The cleavage that shows on the screen, you see so much of it, it’s all technically done. But the way skin show is done in today’s time, that was nothing. We shouldn’t even be talking about it. It (her scene) was also a pure form. Nowadays everything revolves around sexuality.

Last year, Padmini Kolhapure said Raj Kapoor wanted to replace you after shooting Ram Teri Ganga Maili for 45 days. Were you aware of this?

I am not aware (of Padmini Kolhapure approached for the role). I’m just aware that everyone wanted to take the part, but Raj Kapoor wanted me because he wanted a fresh face. Not an established face, he even said this. He said ‘how can I make someone pure Ganga if they have an established image?’ I don’t think such a thing… I don’t know.

Have you ever rewatched one of your own movies and regretted playing a part?

I started with a high standard. My debut was with Raj Kapoor – he wasn’t called the showman for nothing. After that I had to work with a lot of people. Now you can’t expect every filmmaker to make great movies or hit movies. But you keep working, not everything will be fine, but that’s part of life.

In your recent interviews, you said you didn’t miss working in movies too much. What did you think when you were busy taking care of your family and saw your contemporaries do well in their careers?

Aisa Kuch (everything as such)….I don’t know. I never thought like that. At that point I felt like not doing it (filming) and made the decision that felt right to me. I’m happy, I don’t regret my decision. Everyone is doing a great job, everyone is working hard. When you watch a good movie, you enjoy it and wish I could make a good movie too, you know, not just to do it, but really good job.

What are the good and bad changes the film industry has seen over all these years?

I just started working so can’t really say anything about the negative aspects. I think the good part is that we are technically advanced and people pay attention to every little detail. When I recorded the song (it was a one-day recording), I felt it was just like we used to do. I was enjoying. I didn’t feel like I was working outside, no professional feeling, it was like family. It felt like I was at home doing everything for our own happiness. It would be hard to define the good and bad changes at this point because I haven’t really worked much.

Maa O Maa marks your comeback after 26 years and your son’s debut. When and how did you decide to take up this project for the joint launch?

It has long been in my mind that my children are now old enough and I can go back to work. I thought of all this when I met Saajan. We’ve known each other since we were young. We’ve known each other since the time we first came to Bombay. Our association is old, he liked that I wanted to make a comeback and he immediately came up with the idea, on the spot. Moreover, it is a sweet song with good music and lyrics. I thought it would be good. Movies can take some time – you choose topics and listen to the story etc, a song is a song. The song is also about mother’s feelings. So I decided to go along. Better to start with a smaller project after such a long time.


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