Madhu Sapre embodies everything that a supermodel needs to be. On her birthday, let’s look at her fabulous and unapologetically professional life. She was uniquely beautiful, tall, spunky, ethnic and most importantly…untouchable. After retiring from modeling, today Madhu is still all those things and still untouchable.
Born in Nagpur and shifted to Mumbai, Madhu was the tomboy-turned-athlete-turned-model. Blessed with her dusky skin and cliffhanger cheekbones, she was first an athlete and took sports seriously. And who wouldn’t if daddy was your coach, waking you up every morning with a bucket of water? At the Miss Universe pageant in ’92, she famously shared that her father was as strict as a coach should be, as he watched her with proud tears in his eyes from the audience.
In her early modeling days, Madhu already had a chiseled bone structure and an athlete’s body. Apart from her physical appearance, she had sex appeal that couldn’t be bought or bottled for mass production. She was edgy and little too honest for the nation’s conservative, and to a certain extent, sexist viewpoint. That didn’t stop Madhu from giving beautiful and tastefully racy poses for the camera. With a face made for the camera, it was the lens of late Gautam Rajadhyaksha that truly captured Madhu’s essence. He also was one of the first to coax her to enter the Miss Indian Pageant.
Madhu made history by NOT winning the title of Miss Universe, but it was because she gave an honest and humble answer that is still talked about. When asked about the changes she would bring in if she were Prime-Minister for a day, Madhu’s reply was simple. As an athlete, she pointed out the lack of playgrounds and sports facilities in the country, and she said she would make sure that changes. Back then, that answer didn’t seem to be the ‘perfect’ fit and she lost the crown to Miss Namibia. In an interview in the recent past, Madhu commented that after being told to be truthful, she spoke her heart and lost. She candidly added that it could have been her inadequacy in spoken English that might has been the factor.
Apart from a sexy supermodel status, the other two things that one always lands up talking about is her accent and her controversies. Some ridicule her accent, while others gush over its sex appeal. Madhu Sapre never did let go of the Marathi-girl twang and is celebrated for it. She is gorgeous, sensible and intelligent – when she speaks, pay attention! Take a look at her interview with Shekhar Suman on Movers and Shakers in a sexy Japanese Bob, speaking sexy. (Beware Gloria from Modern Family). On the show, she was impulsive, desi and very… lovable.
One can forget the shoe in this commercial, but the image of an almost-nude Madhu with the strategically placed python and Milind Soman is legendary. Bombarded for the racy imagery by a prominent political party and animal activists, she also received death threats for it. But as a true professional, she took it all and emerged above it, gloriously. She later did Kaizad Gustad’s Boom, which made her the topic of the conversation again with her steamy scenes with Jackie Shroff. I remember one of her dialogues in the film where, in Marathi, she says, “Tula Kai Vatas, Tu Kharra Mard Aahey?” (Translation: do you think you’re a real man?)
Wishing Madhu Sapre a fabulous day and lots of love…….
P.S. I adore you.