Life in showbiz might be glittery but it’s not easy at all. It takes so much of you physically, mentally and emotionally that, at times, you find the difference between your personal and professional life totally blurred. But then there are actors who just surprise us with how precisely they juggle a career and a family. The kind of balance that Bollywood diva Kajol has struck between her personal and professional life is just amazing. In addition to being a hands-on mom to two kids, the actress splits her time between acting and social work.
Kajol, one of the most popular faces of Indian cinema, will shortly be seen in Pradeep Sarkar’s upcoming film Helicopter Eela, produced by her husband, Ajay Devgn. The movie stars her in the role of a single mother. The trailer of the film has already struck the right chord with the audience and the buzz around it is quite high in the trade. Ahead of the release of the flick, our correspondent, Mohnish Singh, sat down with the actress and talked to her about the film, her character, her relationship with mother and kids, and much more.
Helicopter Eela is produced by your husband, Ajay Devgn. Were you ever involved in the production side of the movie during the course of its shooting?
Not really. No, I wasn’t. I was strictly on the creative side and acting side of it.
What per cent of you is Eela in real-life?
I would say I am definitely Eela, like about 50 per cent of her. No two ways about it. She is a little bit over the top at times, but when it comes to taking care of kids and all, then definitely I am 50 per cent like her.
Earlier, the film was titled Eela. Whose idea was to prefix Helicopter and why?
The credit goes to Mr Ajay Devgn. I would like to honour him for that. The title suits him more than it suits me though (laughs).
I think Helicopter is also a way of saying that you keep an eye on your children 24/7. The term ‘Helicopter mom’ is quite popular on social media these days. It’s basically for a mom who interferes a lot in her children’s lives. That happens too much at times, but we as mothers don’t realize that very often. We don’t realize that feeding your grown-up kids with your hands is not required anymore; they can have their food on their own. But let me tell you very frankly, I still feed Nysa (daughter) at the dining table and she happily eats it. At times, not always though (laughs). Having said that, everything that a Helicopter mom does is not always wrong. Her way of looking at things might be different, but at the core of it, there is love and care.
Was your mother Tanuja also a Helicopter mom?
My mother was definitely not like a Helicopter mom at all. She was a working woman. She would seldom ask me if I did my homework or not. If I faced any problem in my homework, I never went to my mother asking for any help or any solution. My mother was a very forward-thinking woman in her time. She was not a typical mother. She always looked at us as individuals. I also try to look at my kids as individuals.
You don’t take up many projects these days. Do you miss working actively in films, the way you used to do in your heydays?
Never. Not at all. I don’t miss it at all. I am happy working in one film in three years, one film in two years or one film in five years is also fine with me. I like working. I enjoy working. But I believe that work is just a part of your life. It’s not your whole life. You have a life beyond work also. There is your family that is very, very important.
I think my kids need me a lot. No matter how mature kids get, they always want their parents by their sides. They need us even after their marriage (laughs). So, I enjoy my life. I enjoy working. If people think that I should be seen more often in films because I do not have anything else to do in my life, I don’t agree with that.
At one recent event, you said that your mother had stopped using expletives after you were born to kind of set an example. Did you also renounce any bad habit after the birth of Nysa and Yug?
No. Unfortunately, I didn’t do anything like that. That means either I am too good or I am unable to change my habits. I think my mom was a very, very brave parent. I am trying to be as brave as I can. I try to be as brave as she was and is. But I think I cannot succeed in every area. And that’s also fine. This is a different word. My kids are different than what I was like. I am different than my mother.
I was raised in a pure female household where there had been no male at all. There was my mother, my mother’s mother, and my mother’s mother’s mother who used to take care of me. And there was my younger sister. Even my maternal uncle had two daughters. So, there was not much of a male influence, I would say. But in my house, there are a lot of males. There is my husband. There is my father-in-law. There is an equal balance, I would say. So, the situation is very different today. But again, I hope and pray that I can teach my children the same things that my mother taught me. I try to teach my kids by practising what I preach.
What is your definition of a perfect mom?
I think every mom is a perfect mom, especially from children’s point of view. If you ask any child who is the perfect mom according to him, he would say my mom. See, if a mother fails to make Tiffin for her kids that does not mean she is a bad mom. That does not mean she needs to feel guilty about it or it would lead to a bad relationship with her kids. I think every child shares a different kind of relationship with his or her parents.
Your mother is still working in films. Is there any chance we can get to see both of your in a film together?
I hope and pray. I always ask my mother if there is something, tell me. So far, her taste and my taste are completely different.
Helicopter Eela is about celebrating motherhood and you yourself are a great mother in real-life. Your co-actor in the film, Neha Dhupia, is in the family way. Did you give her any tips or advice?
Actually, I didn’t even know she was pregnant (during the shoot). She very smartly kept everything hidden about her personal life. I met her recently. She’s already seven months pregnant. The film and her baby both are on the way (laughs).
Most importantly, I would say to every parent that please don’t listen to everything that everybody says to you. Don’t take anybody’s advice. Do whatever you feel is good. Do something that makes you feel good. If you are in a good space mentally, your baby also feels the same and that is the biggest influence on him or her. If the mother is okay, the whole world will be fine (smiles).