In what ways are you alike and different?
We are both very vulnerable. We look tough on the outside, but are soft inside. Very emotional. We can both laugh at ourselves, though I am hot tempered unlike her. But like her, I keep a lot of stuff inside me.
While she was going through the trauma of being a single mother, and the troubled times before she married your step father… Did she share some of that with you?
Not really. Like I said, she keeps things inside. So there was never a let us sit down and talk, or I am emotionally troubled, so you must be good… business. However, I could see what was happening, it was in front of me… But I kept away from her problems. Perhaps because I did not know what to say. I think she also preferred it that way.
Did you ever talk to her about the media storm that occured soon after you were born, and all the gossip and conjecture? Did she talk to you about it?
Never. I Googled myself and read all about it, so I knew, but though we are close, we never spoke on these things.
What did Neena do to protect you? While in school, it must have been tough. Kids can be so cruel.
Luckily for me, Narsi Munjee where I studied was good. My circle of friends never asked questions, I was lucky, I know my childhood could have been rough. At home, I had so much from my mother that I was always loved and safe.
Even when it was admission time, I know that (actor) Satisk Kaushik offered to sign on behalf of the father, but luckily for me, none of that was necessary, as my bua (aunt) was one of the teachers, and admission was smooth. And my Dad came around that time too, so that helped.
Do you have good memories of your father?
I have deep respect and love for both my parents. They are both their own kind of people, successful and yet not running with the herd. Through the time when I was between 8 till I turned 14, I remember my holidays with my Father. He was very active in commentary then, travelling the world, and he would come to India quite often. I never really stayed with him, but Mom and I would go for holidays with him.
Are you close to your father?
Yes, we are alike in many ways. For one I have his short temper. And we are both very selfish people. Well, selfish is a strong word, but we do come first. We matter the most to ourselves. We have the same view about the world. I think I inherited this, though we also talk things out and I realise his view of life is close to mine.
For one, he always tells me, family is important; there is no such thing as a friend. If you have one true friend, it is a big thing! And Mom and Dad are both similar in their focus on what they do.
Is Dad your hero then?
I am lucky, I have a lovely man for a step father, he includes me in everything, is so caring. And my own father is a typical father. Free with advice that worrying fathers think they should give : don’t drink from a drink left on the table, be careful when partying… That sort of thing.
Actually, he is larger than life. I have never seen him play, watched videos and stuff and admire that here is a man who could strike fear into an entire team.. He is The Best. yet, knowing him, I know he is kind, communicative, and light hearted in a way only Caribbeans can be!
How do Mom and Dad influence you now in your career?
Dad helps with advice. He has had a big role to play in my success. And Mom is always there with support, real and emotional. I learnt from her not to do things that are not natural to me. In her career she stopped acting because television serials went in a direction that she saw herself not part of, she said I don’t want to go there, better not to compromise.
The same way, when people tell me the real money is in bridal, why am I doing pret, I don’t hear it. I know bridal is not my style, I don’t want to go there. And Mom and Dad do discuss me, I know that, and sometimes her advice for me is guided by her conversations with Dad.
What is her advice about your new assignment?
She completely agrees that I am on the right track there. My parents were so proud when I got the assignment… There were many seniors in the run along with me; that I was chosen makes them believe I am alright!