Your film ‘Uchhai’ is based on friendship. What is the importance of friendship in your life?
The expectations of the family are not there in friendship, that is why friendship is said to be different. Friend you are yourself. Friendship is very important and the place of friends is different in life. There is a different aspect of family which is not there in friendship and that is the beauty of friendship. It is not that family relations are not beautiful, but the place of friendship is different. I have many friends in different fields and all have inspired me in one way or the other.
How was the experience of working with capable actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Boman Irani, Danny, Neena Gupta in this film? With whom did you bond the most?
It is difficult to say this because it is team work and teamwork is very important in any film. The biggest beauty of this film was that everyone’s tone is the same, the energy was the same, which is very difficult to do. This same tone and energy is not achieved by trying, it is natural. The energy in this film starts with Sooraj ji (director Sooraj Barjatya). Sooraj ji’s entire team is in one voice, whether it is the way of working or the nature of everyone. In such a situation, it was a lot of fun working with everyone, but working with Bachchan sahib is a different kind of experience. He has evolved on a different level. But what was the amazing competition? Between Boman Irani, Anupam Kher and Bachchan sahab. It is a blessing to work with all three of them. It is a lot of fun to work like this. When I return home, there is a smile on my face that today I did a good scene, enjoyed it.
What does ‘height’ mean to you?
If I answer this in a funny way, then the height for me is Amitabh Bachchan.
You started your career as a child artist. Today there are many opportunities for child artist to showcase their talent, were they not there in your time?
– Maybe I’m the wrong person to talk about this, because I have very different opinions on this. There has been such a difference between the past and now that the guardians of the children today have become smart. Do they know what is politically correct? To say that the child goes to school, while the child does not go to school. I am also working with such child stars, so that is a different issue. I am part of a documentary. Made by Deepa. Been working on it for 3-4 years and she is following all this for a long time. I am also a part of this documentary. It depicts many issues of child artist. There have always been many things in my mind regarding this issue. Child artistes are dealt with very differently in our country as compared to abroad. There are teachers of the child in foreign countries. If there is an emotional scene, there is a therapist. If someone does a scene of emotional trauma, then special attention is given to it. There are strict laws regarding the working hours of the child artist that the child will not work for more than 5 hours. But in our place, the child falls asleep in the middle of the late night shooting and the parents say that today it has not done anything special, while the whole day his parents keep taking him here and there for auditions. If the parents make the child audition from here to there throughout the day, then the child will not sleep at all. Talent is a good thing, but children are growing up before their age.
Why are you doing selective work despite being a capable actress?
Role, direction and script are very important for me. I love my work so much that I can’t tell you. What have I done all my life? Acting is in my DNA. It is okay to say that I look for good roles, but it is not necessary that a good role should always be a lead role. Now as my character is Mala in the film, it is very different. Work speaks. There is so much depth in this character. I am glad that I am doing an interesting character. She doesn’t talk much so she is different and I like such characters a lot because I am doing something interesting. It’s not that less roles come to me. Roles come in many forms, but sometimes they do not have life. It is very important for me that when I work, I feel happy. I can’t work just to work. And the most important thing is that the effort is made to give something to the audience that they can enjoy.
When did you feel most proud?
I don’t know about Proud. Maybe when my kids were born or it was an emotional moment. For me, emotional moments matter more than pride. I remember when both my daughters were born, at that time I was the most emotional.
What kind of mother do you consider yourself to be? Your daughters Shruti and Akshara are also in the field of acting like you.
If you ask me, I will say that I am a very good mother. But yes, even as a mother, I see my daughters first as an individual. I never tried to bite him or tried to make him become my image. I want them to make an identity of their own. It is not that I do not tell them anything, but the bottom line is that they should be free to make their own decisions in life. Let them choose what they want to be. If they make mistakes, those mistakes will be their own mistakes. Sometimes parents give birth to children, but do not respect them. He says you are my child, what will you be able to tell me? So it is not that, when he reaches an age, then he is an individual and then you respect him. As far as working in the same field is concerned, I feel like a budgie with him. We all know each other’s schedule. Shruti is shooting in Chennai. I am promoting here, the second daughter is abroad and that is the most beautiful thing.
Is there anything in the past that you would like to change?
– No, I like it. Good and bad everything feels good. Whatever it is, it is mine and that is what I am made of. What was done at that time was right at that time, so it should never be a regress. Maybe after two months we may feel wrong about this interview, but at this point everything is fine. Similarly, whatever decision we take in life, it is right at that time. Actually it is up to the person how he is looking at things. He puts pain and sorrow first or happiness. I choose happiness, I can’t do anything about sadness. So there is no regret from life.