Madhuri Dixit does not buy into the myth that Bollywood actresses have a short shelf-life or they can't get work post marriage.
"Age is just a number according to me, talent is the same whether you are 10, 20 or 100. I think it gets better with age. I also don't believe in the myth about married actresses. I think it is crazy. "Sharmila Tagore worked after marriage, Rakhiji worked after marriage... Yes, some of them quit but that was their own decision. There were so many who did work. There are no hard and fast rules," Madhuri told PTI.
Madhuri ruled Bollywood in the '80s and '90s as one of the top stars but she shifted to the US post her marriage to Sriram Nene only to return in 2011. Her US stay did not lessen her sway over her audiences as she kept travelling back to star in movies like 'Devdas' and 'Aaja Nachle'.
Post her return, Madhuri is busy juggling between various TV shows, advertisement deals and films. She is ready to release her second film of 2014 'Gulaab Gang' following the success of 'Dedh Ishqiya'. Madhuri, however, feels women now have a bigger say in the industry compared to earlier times.
"There was a time in films when I never saw a female assistant director, camera person or make-up person. There were very few women directors who you could count on your fingers. "Now there are so many women working in different aspects of filmmaking.
There are talented women directors like Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti. The sensibilities are changing," the actress said.
Madhuri also credits new age directors for thinking beyond stereotypes when it comes to female performers.
"The new age directors see women in a different light and write good roles for women. They are no longer caricatures of say an avenger, a victim, or an eye candy. They are people, they are characters. "What is amazing is that this is happening in mainstream.
I liked what Deepika (Padukone) did in 'Cocktail' and 'Chennai Express'. I like this change and I think it is in the right direction," she said. Madhuri says she was attracted to her role in 'Gulaab Gang' because it comes with a lovely message despite belonging in the "entertaining, massy" category.
"My character is a vigilante who has a group of ladies with her. They help fight social injustices while working for women empowerment through education. It is a strong role and I had lot of fun doing action for the first time."
Madhuri says her two kids -- Arin and Raayan -- have settled down well in India after they move from Denver in 2011. "My kids came to India at the right moment. It would have been difficult if they were teen. They like it here, there is an informality here.
Friends can walk in anytime and play with them. They have managed well and I think they are happy," she says. Asked about the secret behind her fitness and beauty, the actress said it all lies in maintaining a balance. "I am very disciplined.
I know what to eat. I have a regime of five small meals a day. We have our dinner early. My dancing is the best exercise. Me and my husband are fitness freaks because children are like monkeys, they would follow you. So what you adopts as a lifestyle becomes the lifestyle for them.