Think of Bollywood in the 1980s and the first few things that strike your mind are the larger-than-life action sequences, foot-tapping dance anthems, sentimental love ballads, high-octane melodrama and lavishly mounted sets, which gloriously co-existed with nuanced storytelling, humble settings and relatable emotions. So, while on one hand, we had Qurbani, Shaan (both 1980), Shakti (1982), Umrao Jaan (1981) and Tezaab (1988), the era also proved to be a watershed moment for Indian cinema as it brought with it a new wave of storytelling which included Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, Ardh Satya (both 1983), Salaam Bombay (1988) and Mirch Masala (1987).
And to celebrate the illustrious 1980s, an annual reunion comprising some of the most popular stars and actors has been happening every year for the past decade. After a brief hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the gala took place again this year. While the last reunion took place in Hyderabad at megastar Chiranjeevi’s residence, the latest edition was hosted by actors Jackie Shroff and Poonam Dhillon at a club in Mumbai’s BKC. A host of Bollywood and south actors like Anil Kapoor, Anupam Kher, Chiranjeevi, Meenakshi Sheshadri, Ramya Krishnan, Rajkumar, Khushbu Sundar, Radhikaa Sarathkumar, Suhasini Maniratnam, Lissy, Poornima Baghyaraj, Radha, Ambika, and Saritha, among many others were in attendance.
But what was special this year is that, unlike the previous editions, this star-studded reunion saw two actors – Madhoo Shah and Vidya Balan – who might not have started their respective film careers in the 1980s but surely grew up on a staple diet of the sagas that were made back then. And needless to say, they were elated!
In an exclusive chat with News18, Madhoo expresses her gratitude and joy to have been a part of the event as ‘a special guest’. “It is an eighties reunion which clearly means that the actors of the eighties come together. I’m not one of them but since it took place in Mumbai this time, everyone very sweetly and kindly included me and Vidya. But I’ve heard that they’re usually very strict and don’t allow anyone who’s not a part of the eighties. So, no spouses, no partners, no sisters… nobody is allowed. They’ve made a nice exception and invited me this year,” she says excitedly.
The reunion is a special occasion as it brings together old friends. And Madhoo feels exhilarated as it gave her the opportunity to reconnect with some of her best pals from the film industry, which doesn’t happen frequently due to their chock-o-block schedules.
The Phool Aur Kaante (1991) and Thalaivi (2021) actor remarks, “I’ve some really special friends, especially in the south like Ramya, Khushbu and Radhika. In fact, Ramya stayed with me for a couple of days while we were attending the reunion party. I dropped her off at the airport yesterday. She’s truly my best mate in the industry. Every time I go to the south, we hang out and meet. This reunion was an extension of that with more actors.”
Sharing her equation with Jackie and a few other guests, she tells us, “I know Jackie da for so many years. I’ve worked with him on two to three films in the nineties. He’s my darling. Likewise, I share a connection with each and every one of them. Anil Kapoor and Meenakshi Seshadri were my father’s (P Raghunath; producer) actors. He had made a film called Awaargi (1990) which had them and Anupam Kher. I saw them together after so many years. Arjun (Sarja) was also there. One of our biggest hits was Gentleman (1993). It felt amazing to belong to this fraternity.”
It is often said that friendships fizzle out in show business every Friday. But Madhoo ‘begs to differ’. And that’s why she believes that the reunion has been successfully taking place for the past many years. “I think actors really like each other and share a really lovely camaraderie. I’ve always maintained that I love to hang out with them, including the ones who I’ve worked with in the past or have known. I don’t know what it is but there’s something very special about a room full of actors,” she states.
Giving us a glimpse of the evening, the 53-year-old says, “Many of them in the gathering are my close friends and many of them are just amazing actors. It was a beautiful evening where we played games and engaged in musical sessions.”
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