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When Dimple's bottom had to be cut to size – Birthday special


As Dimple Kapadia turns 60, director Homi Adajania shares some wonderful memories of the talented actress.

Mayur Lookhar

Talk of Dimple Kapadia and the first image that comes to mind is of the gorgeous, free-willed, mini-skirted Bobby. Kapadia was all of 16 when the film became a big hit. Twelve years later, Kapadia sent the mercury soaring with her topless scene — admittedly a blink-and-miss one — in Saagar (1985).

Kapadia has led a remarkable life. She made a smashing debut and promptly quit the industry to marry reigning superstar Rajesh Khanna. She returned 11 years later with the revenge drama Zakhmi Sher (1984).

Lost time can never be regained, but Kapadia still made a mark in her second innings in the film industry with several fine performances, most notably in Rudaali (1993), for which she won the National award for Best Actress. She then rediscovered herself in the new millennium with Farhan Akhtar’s Dil Chahta Hai (2001), in which she played a divorcee.

One filmmaker who brought out new dimensions in Kapadia is Homi Adajania. He has cast her in three films so far — Being Cyrus (2006), in which she played a scheming Parsi woman; Cocktail (2012), where she was a loud Punjabi mother; and Finding Fanny (2014), in which she played the cat-loving overprotective mum of Angelina (Deepika Padukone).

In a brief e-mail chat, Adajania shared some memories of the actress and his thoughts about her persona. Here are some excerpts:

Kavita Kapoor in Cocktail, Rosie Eucharistica in Finding Fanny, and Katy Sethna in Being Cryus. With each of these characters, we saw a different side to Dimple Kapadia that we had never seen before. How did you envisage her in these characters, especially Katy Sethna?

The first time I met Dimple to play a role in Being Cyrus, she pretty much was the character. I remember walking into her house, she was backing into me and abusing someone under her treadmill. It was a pint-sized dog that she claimed her daughter had forced her to 'dog-sit' and it had taken a dump inside her house. It was intimidating as the dog turned out to be that yappy-snappy type and Dimple turned out to be Katy Sethna!

Growing up, what were your early memories of Dimple? What fascinated you about her?

None. I had never seen any of Dimple’s work before working with her. She threw some choicest profanities my way when I told her this and then confided that she herself hasn’t seen most of her work.

How was the experience when you first met her?

I remember loving everything about her. In that short meeting I saw her hysteria, humour, generosity and warmth and I promise you nothing about her changes. If Dimple is comfortable with you, she has no filter and that’s what makes her endearing and real.

As a filmmaker, is it a challenge to direct an actress like her or was it all smooth?

Dimple is a brilliant actor who is always insecure about her performance and that’s what makes her better herself whilst performing. She preps damn hard, yet is spontaneous and she is very secure about herself. As an actor Dimple’s aim is simple — she wants to challenge herself and have fun doing this.

Can you share an intriguing anecdote while directing her?

I can share many but that would be another interview. If you actually look at Dimple’s life — her chaotic journey with the backdrop of an equally chaotic industry — it’s amazing how positive, warm and beautiful she is as a person. When we wrapped on Finding Fanny, she did an impromptu dance for the entire crew and then jumped on to a crew member’s scooter and rode off!

Sometimes you need to rein in her madness. I remember during a fitting for Finding Fanny, she insisted on her fake bottom being made larger. She preened around like an inflated peacock and we couldn’t stop screeching with laughter. Finally we had to cut it [the foam derrière] down because she was looking like a cartoon character.