It was a rainy evening when Sridevi entered the room full of journalists and immediately, all eyes turned to her. She was having a no-make up look and yet, it was difficult to take one’s eyes off her. She apologized for the delay and enquired whether we had water and tea/coffee. It was great to see the actress, who is extremely shy and who doesn’t open up easily, but ended up talking like an extroverted person. Even during the course of the interview, she surprised everyone as she talked in detail not only about her upcoming film ‘MOM’, but also about other aspects like her real-life daughters, the process of choosing a film, how her own mother shaped her into a well-mannered human being and a lot more. She also shared some interesting anecdotes form the ’80s era and at regular intervals, raised laughs too! Here are some excerpts from this very memorable interview.
Just a few days are left for the release of ”MOM’. What kind of emotions are you going through at present?
It seems like I have given a crucial exam and now I am waiting for the results! It’s a special film – every film is special but this one is extra special – as it’s our home production. I got a chance to work with so many talented people for the first time. I feel lucky that previously, I got a chance to work with Gauri Shinde in ‘English Vinglish’ and this time, I got a chance to work with Ravi Udyawar. He’s fantastic and has done a tremendous job.
What are the criteria for you while signing a film?
I just choose a film while thinking from my heart, not from my brain. When I hear a subject, it should touch my heart. I should feel good about the story.
How was it working with Akshaye Khanna? He said in a recent interview that it was difficult to work with you since you are so good at your work!
It was great working with him. It’s rare to work with a talent like him. He’s a very dignified, quiet and a very well brought up child. His personality is so powerful that he doesn’t even have to do anything – his smile, eyes or his mere presence is enough to lift up a scene.
Did Akshaye Khanna remind you of his father, Vinod Khanna?
Akshaye definitely has the charm and style of Vinod ji. As a performer, however, he has his own identity.
In today’s times when so many films have fallen prey to Censor Board’s scissors, were you happy to see that ‘MOM’ was passed with a U/A certificate and zero cuts?
Of course I was happy when I got to know that the film has been passed without a single cut. I am really grateful to the Censor Board. From the beginning, we were sure of one thing that ‘MOM’ is a family film. I want all the children and the parents to see the film. Boney ji (Boney Kapoor, producer and her husband) and Ravi were particular about it from the first day.
How much does the title of the film mean to you? Could you tell us some interesting anecdote about your own mother (Rajeswari)?
Well, it’s the most special relation of your life. The memories that you share with your mother never leave you. You keep missing her everyday of your life. It is very difficult to explain in words. My mother was never strict but she was always there for me when I was working as a child actor. Whether we are shooting in the rains or in snow or in extremely hot weather, she was there to ensure I was comfortable. Because of that, I don’t remember an instance wherein I have complained that “I am not well or I am tired and hence I won’t shoot today.” My mother also taught me a lot of important lessons like I should respect elders, be punctual, give my 100% etc.
You are a strong mother in real life as well. After doing this film, what lessons did you learn that you’d like to impart to your children?
I don’t need to give any message to my daughters Jahnvi and Khushi. They are very sensible. There’s a dialogue in ‘MOM’, “Usse samjhaane ki nahin, humein usse samajne ki zaroorat hai” (we don’t to have to make her understand, rather we should understand her). It’s an important dialogue and I am sure the teens are going to love it! And I completely agree with it – why lecture kids? Rather, we should be empathetic to the stress they go through.
What kind of mother are you?
I am more like a friend to my daughters. Sometimes, I am strict but not very. Thankfully, my kids have never given me the opportunity to run behind them with a stick in my hand (laughs). They know where I am coming from. They understand what I am trying to say and why and in turn, I also listen to them. They are from a different generation after all. I cannot expect my children to be the way I was with my mother. With time, the parents should also change.
How did your daughters react after watching the film?
My elder daughter Jahnvi didn’t say a word. She just hugged me. I felt really good! Boney ji had seen the film at every stage and even he’s happy with the final product. Khushi however has seen the rushes and not seen the final cut. She’ll watch it soon with her friends. But more than our reaction, it’s important that the audiences enjoy the film and come out of the theatre satisfied!
What does Sridevi have to say when she saw Sridevi on the big screen in ‘MOM’?
Actors are never satisfied watching themselves on the screen. I am constantly thinking that “I could have done a better job.” We never pat our backs after watching ourselves.
When is Jahnvi making her debut? In the remake of which film of yours would you like to see Jahnvi in?
It’s not my work to choose a film for Jahnvi. Also, it’s too early for me to talk about her impending debut.