Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Lillette Dubey -- Rock on please!!

I have always been amazed by Lillette Dubey's talent and have wondered where she came from. The minute she comes on screen she seems to bring in a ray of sunshine...a unique blend of quirkiness and warmth. Above everything I wondered about her unusual name. But even wiki did not have much on her. I found an indiatimes article which has a lot of info on her.

Here are some interesting facts about her:

  • She was born in her maternal grandfather's house in Pune on 7th September 1953 (that makes her 59 years old!!!!! she does not look a day over 50..). Her grandpa  was the first Fellow of The Royal College of Physicians from India. 
  • Her father, an employee of the Indian Railways, was an engineer by profession and a physicist by passion. 
  • Her mother was a gynaecologist — a very independent and feisty feminist. 
  • Lillete is an acclaimed theatre director, television and film artist and founder of the Theatre Action Group in Delhi, which gives breaks to novices interested in acting.

Here is the rest of the article:
 MY MOTHER WAS A STRONG WOMAN: I was three years old when we moved to Lucknow. My mother was a Major in the army by then. She would dress in a severe khaki saree and stern-looking blouse and wave to us while getting into her staff car with an ADC. I was always aware that my mother went to work —like my father. MY FATHER WAS THE ARTISTIC ONE: At a very young age, my father realised I had a strong voice and made me learn Hindustani vocal. I was five. I have Dad to thank for introducing me to the finer things in life. I HATED MY NAME: My father named me after my mother, Leela. He said Lillete sounded like a small-Leela. I hated it from day one. Dad named my sister Ilyushin, after a Russian aircraft and my brother, Patanjali, the rishi who wrote the Yogashastra. HOSTEL WAS LONELY: When I was in class four, my father was appointed as an engineer in a place called Chopat. I was sent to a Parsi boarding school called Rustoms. Books were my only friends at Rustoms. I LIVED IN A TRAIN: After I returned from Rustoms, my father was posted to Delhi. Before we were allotted a house, we lived in a Saloon: a train complete with a drawing room, bedrooms, a kitchen, bathrooms. Later, we moved into a beautiful bungalow. I WAS A REBEL: I went to Carmel Convent in Delhi where I was a complete rebel. I thought I was 12 going on 18. I wanted to go out with friends older to me, stay out late — my parents were horrified. It was then that we began having our first disagreements. I DISCOVERED THEATRE: When I was in class IX, we moved back to Pune. I went to St Mary's. I would cycle to school and on the way, the boys would tease me by screaming 'Lil-lets' — it was the latest brand of tampons! Pune was where I began to act. One of my earliest roles was that of Cecily in The Importance of Being Earnest. Theatre was addictive, but not a career option. THEATRE LED ME TO RAVI: I tried doing a Physics honours degree but gave it up. I felt like a genetic mutation in my family, where everybody before me was inclined towards the sciences. I fought with my father to be allowed to graduate in English Literature. College meant LSR where I got into theatre in a big way. It was during one of my interactions with the Shakespeare Society of St Stephens that I met my husband Ravi Dubey. I LIVE FOR THEATRE: During college I discovered the high that theatre gave me and, ever since, the love affair has continued. The day I stop getting that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach just before a performance, I think I will quit theatre. RAVI IS MY BEST FRIEND: Ravi started off being my best male buddy. We were really close, sharing every little intmate detail of our lives. He was also a year junior to me, so I never gave him too much bhaav. I was doing a play called The Lover with some steamy scenes when Ravi became very possessive and told me he liked me. Initially, I was very uncomfortable and stayed away from him. But once we got back together, I realised how much he meant to me. RAVI'S ILLNESS WAS TRAUMATIC: I married Ravi on September 12, 1978. I was very keen to settle down and have at least four children with him. Eight months into our marriage, Ravi was diagnosed with TB of the spine. I was a new bride and I saw my wonderful, vibrant husband lying on the bed, in great pain. Many years later, after he was cured, Ravi felt the same pain again. This time he decided to go straight for surgery. In New York, Ravi was diagnosed with nothing but slip disc. He was never inflicted by TB at all! MY KIDS ARE MY LIFE: I have two daughters — Neha and Ira. When Neha was 14, she had a terrible car accident in which the entire windscreen smashed into her face. If I have ever had to act, that was the day — it took all the strength I had to look into those scared eyes of hers and tell her that her face looked perfect. That was when I realised that for all the resilience I had, if something happened to my children, I would be finished. I FOUGHT TO PLAY PIMMY AUNTY: I had done Zubeidaa as well as Love You Hamesha when Mira Nair, a friend, sent me feelers for Neha to act in Monsoon Wedding. Once I heard the script, I was so excited that I told her I just had to play Pimmy aunty. She said I was too glamorous and skinny for the role. I went through miles of padding on my bust and my hips before I became Pimmy aunty. Between scenes, I would change out of my costume and Mira's all-American crew would scream, 'Anyone seen Lillete's bum?' It was hilarious! DIVINITY IS WITHIN US: When Neha was five, she came home from school, upset. She accused me of being a very strange mother because I had never taken her to a temple. I told her temples weren't important, finding oneself was. I believe divinity is within us. THERE'S SO MUCH I WANT TO DO: I want to make a feature film in English, write a novel, cut a music album, do more movies, more plays.... I want to be the best that Lillete can be. And then, I want to take my final curtain call on stage. 

Her first major impact in films was when she brought the character of the carefree Aunty Rose to life in Zuebeidaa -- unfortunately I cannot find a single still of her from the movie. Am making do with this photo.

I loved her in Monsoon Wedding as the bathroom smoking Pimmi Verma who is a loving mother, a strong character by herself, yet very subtly plays second fiddle to her husband.

I absolutely adored her as the lascivious Jaswinder "jazz" Kapoor in Kal Ho Na Ho. Her comic timing is perfect!!!

I am looking forward to seeing her as Mrs Kapoor in "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" and I wish my favourite all the very best....muah muah my lovely Lilette...may we see you in many roles every year!!!

Here is Lilette's husband Ravi Dubey

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