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Mother Of All Roles

Multi-tasking can make you a choreographer, director, producer and an actress but when it comes to the crunch, it’s always personal

Even as I write this, thousand thoughts flood my mind. I am going crazy with the publicity of Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi, which marks my debut as a heroine. Following the release of this film, another one, Joker, which has me as a producer, will release. After that, I will be air-dashing to Hyderabad to choreograph for my brother Sajid Khan’s Himmatwala.

I take care of my children, husband and try to be a dutiful sister. In between all this — playing heroine, producer, choreographer, mother, wife and sister — I am also writing a column for Box
Office India
. And by the time this article is published, I think I will be in Hyderabad working out dance steps for Sajid’s film.

People wonder how I manage to do so many things at one time. Sometimes, it amazes me too! How do I play these various roles, professionally and personally? It requires a mind that is well-organised and that can prioritise and compartmentalise. And, yet, no matter how busy I am, I never compromise on the time I set aside for my children. If I have to attend a function in my children’s school, I juggle my schedule which would not have been possible if I had a nine-to-five job. Thankfully, I work in a profession that is pretty flexible with timings. When I take up a project as a director, I do not make any other commitments or take up any other assignments. I have also cut down on my social life. Where’s the time?

I am up by 7 am, as my children’s school starts at 8 am, and by the end of the day, I am zonked. I attend parties only if it is imperative for me to attend. I also make it a point to see that we set aside time for vacations and travel. I also see that I don’t work beyond 6 pm, although that is sometimes difficult. This also makes me realise that, as an actor, I love it when a pack-up is announced early but how would I react to this if I were the producer or director? In this sense, I feel actors lead less stressful lives than producers and directors. While sudden pack-ups are fun for actors, for the producer, it could mean huge losses.

Only a woman has the power and inner strength to cope with all types of situations. She has the natural fortitude to multi-task and cope with all her relationships. Also, the mother-child relationship is pure and so unconditional that it automatically gives me that extra energy to be with my children and do things for them no matter how busy I am. I also feel that the moment a woman becomes a mother, and the moment a child is born, something seeps into the woman – and that is a sense of guilt. I feel guilty at the drop of a hat when it comes to my children.

Even when I am at the beauty parlour blow-drying my hair or getting myself made-up, my mind is on my children at home. I feel, ‘Arre, aaj main parlour aayi hoon, I have not given this time to my children.’ And it makes me feel terribly guilty.

Men have it pretty easy. Men do not have a guilt conscience. When Shirish was busy with the post-production of Joker and spending hours and hours in the studio, by the time he would return, the children were already in bed. He was okay with that. But if that happened to me, it would have killed me.

That’s why I am grumbling about going to Hyderabad to choreograph for Himmatwala. I know I am going to do it but I will continue grumbling about it to Sajid. The thought of being away from my kids for three days is eating me up. But, then, I look at my children’s nannies who have left their children back home in villages and have come here to make money so that they can provide them decent education and living. That way, I feel fortunate as I get to be with my children.

I am content and have learnt to keep myself detached from the world. I don’t let anything affect me. This is the lesson I have learnt over the years. Except for a few genuine friends from the industry, I am happy watching my son and Shirish playing karate and my daughters cozily cuddled with me, watching a film. My home is my world.

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