Known for her spontaneity, Kajol is an acting power-house and has done some memorable films opposite Shahrukh Khan. Kajol, who completed 25 years in Bollywood (made her Bollywood debut in Bekhudi – 1992) tells us how Bollywood has changed in the last 2-3 decades.
Relationships mattered then
“I don’t think we ever had contracts then. There would be just a one-page signing memo at the end of every film or at the time of release, that too, if you asked for it. There are films we have done without contracts, just on the basis of handshakes, or for friends, and never thought about it again. Some films, we have actually done for free. We didn’t charge a penny and did the film because the producers were struggling to make the movie,” says Kajol
The industry is more professional now
“It’s more professional. Bollywood has become a big industry. Earlier, the industry was much smaller and there used to only be a handful of people working. Now, there are corporates, so there are a hundred different avenues and reasons to have a job. The time has changed,” says Kajol.
No more ‘Double’ shifts
It was common for stars to sign several films together and then do double shifts o finish them.
“Most actors would do day-and-night shifts to complete two films at the same time — hop from one set to the other. Now people have realised that you can’t do everything. At that point of time, every film did well. I don’t think there was anything that you could have called a very big flop. Now, people are more conscious about what they are doing, what they are saying on and off screen,” says the actress.
Watch: Kajol in Mere Khwabon Mein song from Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge
No trust, more insecurity now
The ’90s was the time for the best multi-starrers when big stars didn’t mind sharing screen space in a film.
However, that doesn’t happen so easily now. Kajol agrees, “That’s the whole point. Nobody is that confident about the other person anymore, to do a multi-starrer. That is why I am saying that there definitely are some good changes, but there are also changes that are not-so-great. Back then, everyone was friends, everyone knew each other. We were all drinking buddies. We knew each others’ families, wives, and children. Now, it’s suddenly all about I, me, and myself… more about ‘me’ as a brand. Will I work with another person? Will that affect my brand equity? Will the other person overshadow me? So, yes, there are a lot of insecurities and considerations to take into account now.”
Business now happens in the first weekend
Film’s success is now not measured in terms of golden and platinum jubilees, or the 100-day run.
“We used to wait to see how long our films would run at the theatres. That was the real deal — to make a film that will get people to the theatres baar baar, over weeks. Silver jubilee had to do with the business — how much you made from a film. Today, box-office figures have replaced the whole system. That was a different time. The number of shows and theatres mattered. Earlier, you had one screen and six shows running in a day. But in a multiplex, you might have 10 screens and six to 10 shows in every screen. That in itself has doubled, tripled, quadrupled and quintupled the business completely. So I don’t even have words to explain how big the business has become. The business has now definitely become about the first one week and mostly the weekend.”
Watch: Kajol in Suraj Hua Maddham song from K3G (kabhi khushi kabhie gham)
Paparazzi is behind your back all the time now, so no more care free time, and you can’t be caught without makeup.
“Everyone wants to have a certain amount of normality in life. But then, maybe that’s just me. There may be many people who would be very happy to get dressed and get out every day, every morning. They would be glued to their make-up, styling and God knows what else and still be happy about it. I’m not putting them down in any way. But it’s just about me as a person. I like the part of my life which is private and normal — where I don’t have to play dress up for the photographers. I went to a mandir a few days ago for a pooja and the paparazzi landed over there, too. I was like, ‘Excuse me, what are you doing here?'”
Happy that women are into direction and production
Kajol is very happy with the fact that women now are involved in various aspects of filmmaking.
“We have women in capacities other than just as heroines. That in itself shows how progressive our country has become. I have always believed that Bollywood has been one of the most progressive industries in the world. We have no division. We actually give work to people who are talented. We have directors who are females. There are women handling the camera, production staff who are ladies. That’s a hardcore job that would probably have all the guys looking at and saying, ‘Really? Production?’ That’s something that we, as an industry, need to pat ourselves on the back for.”
Watch: Kajol in Aawara Bhawren Jo Hole Hole Gaaye (A R Rahman)
Kajol’s last film was Dilwale (with SRK). She took her own sweet time to sign the next film, probably because she became cautious after Dilwale failed at the box-office.
Kajol will now be seen in the Tamil-Hindi bilingual, VIP2 (Lalkar), alongside Dhanush.