Yay, it’s Madhuri’s birthday! Officially, in America, not just in India like when I put up my last post. I already posted the first 25 reasons I love her, now here are the last 26. (this is an updated and reposted post from last year)
26. I love you because by the mid-90s, you had entered the elite list of female stars who were big enough to that people would buy tickets to see her, not the hero (The others in this elite category would be Meena Kumari, Hema Malini, and Sridevi)
27. Because at the height of your fame you made Mrityudand, a dark and uncommercial film about spousal abuse to which you were the only star willing to lend your name.
28. Because you were so luminous in Hum Aapke Hain Koun, India’s greatest modern painter, MF Hussain, took you as his muse and made a series of paintings featuring you, as well as a movie in which you played all the great Indian women of history and myth.
29. I love you because the same year you was in Mrityudand, she was in 4 other films, making her a harder worker that year than your co-star in 2 of those films, Shahrukh Khan.
30. I love you because you accepted the challenge of dancing with Prabhudeva in Pukar, and mastered his style, which is so different from your own.
31. I love you because that Pukar dance is so amazing.
32. I love you because you brought lightness even to super dark Mrityudand
33. I love you because you managed to make me forget Shahrukh had a mullet.
34. I love you because you managed to make me forget that you were wearing a full body spandex outfit that looks good on NO ONE.
35. I love you because you looked like a painting come to life in Hussain’s film.
36. I love you because you saw the signs and walked away from your career on your own terms, slowing to one or two films a year, and making them count.
37. I love you because you married a nice man who loved you and walked away without a look back.
38. I love you because when you were gone, you were really gone. You shopped at the grocery store, you took your kids to after school activities, you disappeared completely into the life of a normal housewife.
39. And I love you because when you wanted to come back, you came back. No apologies for leaving your “wifely duties”
40. And I love you because you married Dr. Nene, world’s happiest husband, who gave up life as a surgeon in America to come to India and be your doting companion at every award show and special event.
41. I love you because you agreed to be Chandramukhi in Devdas, the role you were born to play, even though you didn’t appear until late in the film and were “only” a courtesan.
42. I love you because you weren’t afraid to play an unmarried pregnant actress in a village theater, and to play her as a character without guilt or shame or regrets.
43. I love her because she came back to Indian film with no apologies, and no attempt at new modesty as a “married woman”
44. I love you because in the same film, you encouraged the rest of us to have the same freedom as she does.
45. And I love you because your next big onscreen appearance was as a prostitute.
46. I love you because, even when your film failed, you didn’t just give up, you repositioned yourself as a TV host and public figure, and sometime actress.
47. I love you because, when you choose to dance at award shows, or TV, or in item songs, you prove you are still the best.
48. And I love you because you are sharing your dancing with others, through online video classes.
49. And I love you because one 30 second waltz with Shahrukh still has more chemistry than a whole film with him opposite someone else (well, excepting Kajol)
50. I love because at age 51, you are taking a leap again into a new industry with your first Marathi film.
51. And finally, I love you because you are just you! Madhuri, there is no other.