Chicago: Padma Khanna, a popular name in Hindi and Bhojpuri films in the 1970s, who currently resides in New Jersey and runs the Indianica Dance Academy, says she never really gave up acting. And says she still gets offers from Mumbai and is ready to return to celluloid if given a "very special role". She is still remembered for her dance in the song "Husn ke lakhon rang".

How has been your life’s journey from Bollywood to New Jersey?
I took life the way it came. I never really gave it up; however, life brought me to a precipice. I was at a point in life where I had a choice and chose to start anew - to share the art and culture that drives me till this day.

So what is keeping you busy these days?
Currently I am busy with the upcoming 17th annual cultural show of my academy - Chamakte Sitare 2013 - which will be held on June 22 at Plainfield High School, New Jersey.

How do you find your life in US?
After marrying to film director Jagdish L. Sidana, we came to the US in the 1990s and I happened to have founded my own institution, the Indianica Dance Academy.

What drove you to leave the Bollywood?
I came here because I noticed a dearth of classical Indian art, especially in the dance form. It also happened that my children wanted to continue their studies in the United States. My husband and I couldn't stay away from them. We migrated together as a family to States and our togetherness has made all things possible for us.

You shared screen with legends like Nutan and Amitabh Bachchan in Saudagar and got critical acclaim for your role as Phool Bano. Any memory you have of the same?
Ammmm…… it gives me a nostalgic feeling while talking about Saudagar. For me it was a a dream role. Though it is difficult to pick most memorable experience as an actress, "Saudagar", of course, has its place. We had no sets, it was mostly shot at the India-Bangladesh border. There was a scene where my character gets beaten by the protagonist (Amitabh Bachchan). That part of the script was not written and I had to respond to his anger. In actuality, he was thrashing a jute bag and I was responding to his dialogue from behind the camera. After that scene we had a good laugh.

You speak fluent Bengali as well. Have you ever acted in Bengali films?
It was opposite Bengal tiger in a film called 'Chhaila Baabu' in late 1970s, the cast and crew were phenomenal plus I got to work with a Bengal Tiger, they didn't believe in computer graphics or animation. It was all real!

You acted in TV Serials and well popular among them is Ramayan in which you essayed the role of Kaikay, any memory of that?
Ramanand Sagar was directing a scene of the Kop Bhavan when Kaikayi is upset with King Dashrath. It was such an emotionally-charged scene that both of us kept weeping long after the camera had stopped rolling.


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