Chennai: Yesteryear actress Madhoo has starred in three southern films since her comeback a couple of years ago. She says it's tough to succeed and find good roles upon return, especially when boundaries are set.
"I still see myself as a heroine, who need not always be 18 or 20. When I say heroine, I'm referring to the main character in a movie. Why can't a heroine be a middle-aged lady? The roles that easily come by are of the mother of the hero or heroine," Madhoo told IANS.
"It's a huge battle in my mind if I want to take up such roles, but I've understood that there can be something nice about these roles too, and I need to look for them. I think it's difficult to find good roles when you set boundaries and rules. Hence, I've duly avoided all that because I'm keen on continuing working and not remain too critical about the roles," she said.
Since her comeback in films such as "Anthaku Mundu Aa Tharavatha" and "Vaayai Moodi Pesavum", Madhoo has mostly featured in a mother's role.
"I'm sure none of my contemporaries or senior heroines like Sridevi, Madhuri, Juhi and Raveena want to play mother roles. But if the protagonist of the movie happens to be a mother, I don't think any of us would have a problem with that," said Madhoo, who doesn't mind playing a mother on screen because she's one in real life as well.
"In 'Anthaku Mundu Aa Tharavatha', I was the mother of the heroine, but I loved my role because it was backed by a separate story that runs parallel with the main story. My story may have been small, but I was the protagonist in it," she said.
What concerns Madhoo is when she's asked to play a mother's role with no purpose.
"When most directors come with the mother's role, what they mean is that I have no role to play apart from being in favour of or against the relationship between the hero and heroine," she said.
Madhoo hopes for even more exciting roles.
"I love exploring other dimensions of human beings. In my movie 'Pehchaan', in the early 1990s, I played a bar girl who does things usually actresses don't like doing. I took up the role that was refused by many top heroines at that time," she said.
"There was another movie where I was supposed to play a gay psychotherapist. The film didn't happen, but my friends asked me why I would want to play a gay woman. But I asked them why the discrimination. It's a character about somebody's emotions and I would like to be the voice against such discrimination," she added.
She also has strong inclination towards playing negative roles.
"So many negative thoughts cross my mind, but why do I always get to be the good girl? That's why I'm slowly opening up to character roles as it allows you to cover a wide spectrum in terms of performance," she said.
Post marriage, Madhoo never desired to return to acting.
"But when you're a film artiste, it doesn't matter what you do and how you do... you'll always remain an artiste," said Madhoo, who initially took up roles which required just a few days to shoot as she didn't like the idea of staying away from her family for too long.
All that has changed with upcoming Kannada film "Ranna", which has made Madhoo greedy for better and lengthier roles.
"I owe all my greediness to act to 'Ranna'. Till I did this film, I was very satisfied with playing small roles. My intention was to quickly finish shooting and run back to my family. But all that has changed with this movie, which made me realise that you can be a character artiste and yet play plum roles," she said.
Most popular for her work in Mani Ratnam's "Roja", Madhoo wishes to reunite with the visionary filmmaker.
"In my opinion, I can play any character if he's my director. Since I'm back in movies, I think nobody else can give me a better character than Mani sir," she said.