Before leaving, she has wrapped up the dubbing for Karan Johar's Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. "Yeah, I finished the last line of dialogue yesterday," Kads exults, "and I don't know what happened to me but I was crying uncontrollably. Even some of the guys at the recording studio were in tears."
Emotions were bound to be at a crescendo. Because here's a project that Kajol has been immersed in since its inception stage, even suggesting scenes and details of characterisation to long-time buddy, Karan Johar, who makes his debut as writer-director with KKHH.
This is the third film in which Kajol pairs up with her Baazigar and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge hero, Shah Rukh Khan.
"Expectations will be pretty high," the actress notes. "But all of us have given the project our best shot. When I saw Shah Rukh's scenes during the dubbing, I was amazed. I yelled at him, Hey, how can you do this to me? He's really cool. Karan knew exactly what he wanted from us. Every little moment had been etched and finalised before it was shot. We had a blast making it... now that it's over, it's like coming out of one great big picnic."
AN UPBEAT YEAR
|Perhaps Kajol is mesmerising
because she doesn't seem to care if anyone's watching. Confronted with an actress with as
true an aim, I try not to drive myself nuts imagining the uses to which the directors of
the '70s may have put Kads. Surely Manmohan Desai could have made her his Amar Akbar
Antonia, Hrishikesh Mukherjee could made her his Anandi and Gulzar his Meri
Oof, what's the point of conjecturing though? Especially in the face of the rumours that Kads is due to traipse towards marriage with Ajay Devgan and presumably, premature retirement. A sharp pang hits me whenever I think of the quitting factor. I don't quiz her about this because I know the question will bug her. Instead, I whisper to Tanuja, words to the effect that it'll be a pity if Kads packs her bags.
SHE CAN ACT
"There's no reason why she can't continue to act," mum tells me spontaneously. "She can still do a worthwhile film or two a year if she wants to." Saying that she clams up, evidently because career decisions will be entirely Kajol's. And no one else's.
The flight to London has been delayed. Kads attempts to grab 40 winks, curling up on mum's lap. No point. She rouses herself with a caffeine cup. And flips through a paperback about a princess and a winged dragon. Fantasy fiction is her fix. "Now, don't look at me like that," she reprimands me. "You should read one of them instead of those heavy-duty books. Like science fiction, fantasy fiction has its own life, logic and allure. Wanna try this book?"
I wish I could. But like those NRIs, I'd rather gape at this acting wonder. A word about her cognac eyes. Movie angels tend to let their eyes anchor their beauty. Curiously, Kajol's eyes are free agents. They tell everything. They withhold brilliantly, they behold brilliantly. Her gaze speaks directly to the camera and therefore to all of us in the audience.
At this very moment, the eyes need rest. But hello, there on the plush Air-India wall, a cockroach creeps again. Could it have followed Kajol there? Mercifully, she doesn't notice it. Otherwise there could be hell. The air-flight is announced. Kajol notices that the seats allotted are called K and J. "Hey, that's nice. K could me and J..."
She stops. Perhaps because she doesn't want to spell out J
The flight takes off and there she is, her eyes lingering on a stretching blue sky without any clouds.
Ó Destination Kajol