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Bhatt says Tiger Mom's are not guaranteed to create successes ! Quite the Opposite!
My Mum is The Captain of my ship
The Big Bold World of Bollywood. - A petite young girl makes her foray with none other than the Large-scale-luxury-format film maker Karan Johar’s ‘Student Of The Year’. I notice a distinct sense of quiet confidence and a sense of non-nonchalance toward it all. Maybe it comes from the fact that she was a child artist in her father’s film ‘Sangharsh’? ‘No’, she corrects me vociferously, ‘that was a long time ago. That might be just a tiny part of it. The main reason for it all is my mother, Soni Razdan. She’s not just my mother but my strength, the reason I can be self assured. My values and principles come from her. I feel awful when I lose my temper and tell her to keep quiet- she is the most understanding person in my life.”
Alia’s eyes flash with the intensity of her bond with the ‘Captain’ of her ship, as we sip cold coffee on her tropical veranda crammed with indoor trees and homey warmth. The connection of mother and daughter is obviously very intense, and Alia’s winds beneath her wings are her mother Soni - also a talented actor in her own right. In a scenario of Tiger moms who officiously master mind their children's every move, what makes Soni a mother who gives space to her daughter, allows her to make intelligent choices and take her own decisions, according to Alia? “Everyone in my family is so opinionated, but my mother is the only one who thinks and empathizes before giving an opinion. I think the first thing my mother does is to put herself in my shoes. If I get irritable she lets it pass, walks away, without letting her ego come in the way of our relationship. I learn from her, I have seen the way she handles her relationships with a composure and dignity. She is my beacon and I hope to learn more from her” says Alia who plans to navigate her career of an actress in Bollywood by emulating her mother’s dignity.
What about Alia’s film-maker father Mahesh Bhatt? Known for his strong point of view in Bollywood on everything, I would have imagined him always ideating, guiding and advising Alia? “Ha ha yes, my father has a strong opinion on everything but he looks at the overall situation. He’s always encouraged me to be myself, be stupid than pretend to be intelligent. Very few people are encouraged to be themselves, and not politically correct. I am brought up not to be correct but to be real and honest. I have never been pushed to be someone else to please other people, or say something that sounds correct to the press. And my father has taught me not to give respect to anyone else at the cost of myself. This is one of the most important things I’ve got from my father. But it is my mother who goes into the detail and has guided me, she not only knows everything in my life but also in my cupboard” twinkles Alia.
“My first ever memory of the world is my mother’s smiling face. She was rocking me up and down on her knee- I always remember and carry that image with me everywhere. She is so proud of me, she won’t say anything, but I can see it in her eyes, in her smile and it inspires me to be who I am, to strive, to grow.”
It all sounds quite ideal; I’m wondering if there are no regular pow-wows and arguments that are part of growing up with opinionated parents? Can life be so ideal? “Of-course the occasional misunderstanding occurs, but one of us becomes a navigator in an argument. All of us don't like to be upset beyond a few minutes. We love each other too much to stand on ego and not get over it. There is actually an ideal side to our relationship, mostly because it is so comfortable and easy where we give each other space. When fights do happen, there is no sulking, no long term anger, and no tantrums. We talk a lot.”
This Friday I was delighted to see Alia’s effortless fluid rendition as exuberant, bouncy teen Shanaya, making love to the camera with her inherent charm like she knows the medium of cinema forever. How does she see herself navigating the high expectations, the competition and the pressure of the film-industry-
“My confidence, my decisions, my performance, it’s my mother’s influence. She’s always told me ‘less is more'
Don't do a great gesture, but the smallest thing matters” she’d say. When you’re climbing the ladder of success, you can get lost, you forget who you were, and you become someone you are in the limelight. The moment you start believing the aura of stardom you become someone you aren't Luckily that’s not possible in my home, with my mother, who always keeps me grounded. It’s instilled into me because of the values that I was given. My father never believed in an aura created by the media. He doesn't let you get lost, but he doesn't shroud you in his point of view. He says it and leaves it alone. Nothing is imposed upon me by my parents. They encourage me to think.”
Written For & Published By Asian Age & Deccan Chronicle
By Nisha JamVwal
By Nisha JamVwal