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Meenakshi Seshadri set to make a comeback?

1 month ago 830



Former actress

Meenakshi Seshadri

has cemented a special place in the hearts of the audiences with her magnificent talent and charm. Now, Meenakshi Seshadri has returned to India and is considering a comeback to the entertainment industry, aiming for a natural progression rather than forcing it. She discusses her plans in an exclusive interview with ETimes.
How have you been?
Ah, life's been good. I took the plunge—I moved to India in September 2022. It's been a slow and steady progress, but I prefer it this way. It feels more organic and aligns with my comfort zone and temperament. Many friends, well-wishers, and industry bigwigs advised me to simply relocate to Bombay, sign up with an agency, and let them handle my career prospects. They assured me that this approach would set me up for success. They also suggested allocating budgets for PR and social media. However, something within me felt uneasy about this advice. Although I initially thought I might grow accustomed to it sooner or later, I find myself content with taking things slowly and steadily at this point.

So, what is the process you've adapted?
It's been a very organic and intuitive journey for me. It's almost as if I meet someone, and they introduce me to somebody else. I haven't actively reached out to directors, producers, or co-actors to announce my return. There's nothing inherently wrong with that approach, but I prefer to let life surprise me. I firmly believe that things unfold as they are meant to.
I've thrown a challenge at life, asking, "Show me where I'm headed—will it be OTT, reality TV, events and appearances, motivational speaking, singing, or dancing?" I'm genuinely curious to see which path ignites that spark within me. It's akin to those Diwali firecrackers that take a while before they eventually burst.

So, when will the Dhamaka happen?
I have a strong sense that within the next six months, there will be one or two significant events or projects that will come my way.
You’re not meeting your former colleagues on purpose, but did you meet any of them accidentally?
Staying in a hotel in the JVPD scheme has allowed me to encounter many people by chance. Their reactions typically go like, "Hi, how are you doing?" and I respond, "I'm here, settled down in India, and ready to rejoin the entertainment industry." This often leads to exchanging numbers and networking opportunities. Essentially, I'm taking an unpredictable route deliberately, rather than following a predictable one.
When did you decide that you wanted to move back to India? And how did your husband and kids react?
For a considerable period, I had openly discussed with my family my desire to relocate to India once both my children had established themselves, become independent, and were capable of taking care of themselves. I kept this plan flexible. It naturally fell into place when my daughter completed college, secured a job, and moved to another city. Similarly, when my son enrolled in college and opted to stay in the hostel, showing little interest in returning home even during summer vacations, I understood that they needed their own space, and so did I. At that point, I received wholehearted support from my family. Though they expressed some concerns when I informed them of my decision not to follow the conventional path of immediately signing up with a major agency upon my arrival in India, they ultimately encouraged me to pursue my own path.
But that is the safest route today artists are taking…
Indeed, that was the case. Many agencies hesitated to immediately onboard me because they felt I lacked presence over the past 28 years. It made me wonder if having a large social media following was now a prerequisite. So, I decided to focus on building my online presence, realizing that their advice held merit.
Interestingly, within just seven months of managing my Instagram content myself, without any external assistance, I began posting whatever I felt like, including a lot of dance videos. The overwhelming love and feedback I received, along with the significant increase in followers, were truly encouraging. Of course, my following isn't comparable to those who have been in the industry for decades, but it's growing steadily.
Now, people are aware that I'm in India, and there's been considerable attention from both agencies and individuals in the film industry. Consequently, I've started collaborating with an agency. However, even in this aspect, I've chosen to take a different approach. Instead of opting for high-profile agencies, I've selected one that I believe will truly understand and resonate with me.
Your contemporaries…
There were those who entered the industry roughly five years before I did, such as Poonam Dhillon and Padmini Kolhapure. Then, there were contemporaries like Amrita Singh and Anita Raj, who began their careers around the same time as me. Additionally, there were others who joined the industry slightly later, like Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla.
Someone once offered me invaluable advice: Focus on your strengths and avoid comparing yourself to others. Your uniqueness and personal strengths are what truly matter. This advice resonated deeply with me, especially considering how much I've evolved as a person since I left India many years ago.
How was Meenakshi then and how is she now?
Living in another country immerses you completely in that lifestyle, reshaping your mindset and behavior. In America, self-reliance is paramount—you must navigate tasks like household repairs, driving children to events, and managing daily responsibilities independently. In my case, my husband's demanding job left me solely responsible for our family's needs. Motherhood itself is transformative, enhancing your ability to love and empathize with others. While I've always been compassionate, becoming a mother deepened that empathy further.
Did you keep it to yourself when you were in Mumbai?
I dedicated myself tirelessly, from dawn till dusk, prioritizing personal growth over a bustling social life. My commitment to self-improvement included rigorous singing and classical dance rehearsals, even while pursuing academic degrees like my BA and MA alongside my acting career. Unlike many of my peers, I maintained a unique approach, blending my passion for the arts with academic pursuits. While some actresses may have briefly pursued education before returning to acting full-time, my journey involved balancing exams and shoots simultaneously. Even social gatherings were brief affairs—I'd attend with my mother, quickly pose for photos, and promptly retreat home once dinner was done.
A friend of mine told me that Meenakshi Seshadri should work with the likes of Rajkumar Hirani and Sanjay Leela Bhansali. How do you react to that?
Absolutely, I couldn't agree more. These filmmakers grasp the essence of entertainment and culture on a profound level. Bhansali Ji, for instance, possesses a deep understanding of music and dance, infusing his films with unparalleled artistic expression. And then there are the women directors—Zoya Akhtar, Meghna Gulzar, and Gauri Shinde—whose unique perspectives bring a refreshing depth to storytelling. The woman-to-woman sensibility they bring to their work is truly remarkable, and I eagerly anticipate collaborating with them. Moreover, I'm excited to challenge myself with unconventional roles that may even surprise me.
How do you define shocking?
Shocking is when you don't tell people. They get shocked, surprised, whatever.
How was your experience of being on Jhalak Dikhla Jaa?
Participating in "Jhalak" was an enriching experience for me. It's a dance reality show where celebrities showcase their dancing skills, even if they're not professionally trained. As someone with a background in dance as a performer, teacher, and choreographer, being on the show energized me. I particularly enjoyed the camaraderie among the judges, anchors, and guest judges, which often culminated in a fun reel at the end.
Despite the positive experience, there were some unexpected challenges, such as being asked to perform the Tandav dance when I had anticipated something more delicate and romantic. Nevertheless, "Jhalak" served as a much-needed motivation for me to reignite my passion for dance practice. Prior to the show, I had been focusing more on my singing, but the experience reignited my dedication to dance.
Professionally, what do you plan to do on that?
To begin with, I decided to share more classical-based dance reels on Instagram to gauge the reaction of the general public, who are typically accustomed to Bollywood's trendy songs and dances. Surprisingly, the response has been overwhelmingly positive, with millions of viewers enjoying the performances.
This positive feedback has inspired me to reignite my dance practice and explore opportunities to showcase my talents as a singer as well. However, I prefer not to divulge too many details at this stage. Instead, I believe it's best to discuss these endeavors once they are ready and available for people to enjoy.
Cinema has changed a lot. Where do you see yourself in this kind of cinema?
As I mentioned earlier, my journey is bound to be unpredictable. The trajectory of my career will largely depend on the first movie I choose to undertake, which has yet to materialize. I am open to exploring opportunities in the OTT space, as I believe that any accomplished female artist finds fulfillment in the challenge of portraying diverse and intriguing roles on OTT platforms.
Have you watched the cinema to understand where we are going with the women characters in cinema and as well as in OTT?
Yes, I have watched some OTT content. I must admit that I tend to be a bit conservative, particularly regarding dressing. Therefore, I feel a bit uncomfortable when I see a lot of revealing outfits, especially considering how women nowadays seem eager to embrace such styles. It appears that Hollywood set this trend, and India often follows suit. However, I believe I will remain distinct in this aspect. My focus will always be more on delivering strong performances rather than on wearing revealing or bold attire.
Your heroes…
Anil Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, and

Sunny Deol

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