One of the highest grossing films of 1992, Beta, starring Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit, clocks 30 years on April 3. Actor Aruna Irani, who played Kapoor’s onscreen mother,the vile and scheming matriarch Lakshmi Devi, recalls how challenging it was for her she bagged the film despite the fact that it was helmed by her brother, Indra Kumar.
“I had seen the Tamil version and I wanted to do this film. But my brother never asked me to be a part of it when he decided to remake it. And I didn’t want to ask for the role. He called up other actresses like Mala Sinha, Waheeda Rehman ji and Sharmila Tagore ji for the role but nobody accepted the role. They didn’t want to play the vamp,” Irani shares.
The actor reveals that Kumar did come to her with the role of Mainavati (which was eventually played by Bharati Achrekar) but she turned it down.
“I felt very sad. I said I won’t do it. I used to do these chhichhora roles. Ghar chalane ke loye maine aise roles kiye hai with Shakti Kapoor and Kader Khan. I accepted those roles because mujge ghar nahi baithna tha. I know that it was difficult for me to take me in the mother’s role in Beta. So he kept on insisting that you do such roles in other films so why not in my film? But I put my foot down firmly and told him ‘tere film mein nahi karungi aise roles, baahar karungi’,” the 75-year-old tells us.
Irani says that it was actor Shabana Azmi who convinced her brother to cast me as Lakshmi Devi in the film.
“When he finally offered me the role, I started crying. I told him that muhe ghar mein hi agar prove karna pade ki main achhaa kaam kar sakti hoon toh I used stop working. I cried a lot but then I accepted the role. Before Beta, I used to do only chhichhora roles. Beta reintroduced me. If Indu makes such a film again he won’t be able to write such a role for me,” she adds.
While Irani’s character has attained an iconic status with her big bindi, sari and bun look, Irani does have a regret.
“A big blunder happened with my look. My hair patch didn’t look good at all as it was not made properly. The film was doing well so this never was noticed. But mujhe aaj bhi regret hai uss baat ka that I didn’t take care about my hair. It was very patchy. I feel stupid,” she concludes.