Sridevi Wants Her Daughter Jahnavi Married! [Interview]

Sridevi has changed from what she was 15 years ago. She's softer, more approachable. But ask her something sensitive and the wall comes up. Gently, but firmly, I am told there are certain subjects she won't discuss. Here, she talks about her family and comeback film English Vinglish.

After 15 years (her last film being Judaai in 1997), you will be seen in a lead role in a film. Why did you stay away for so long?

I've been working since I was four. My life has only been about shootings, studios and home. Till marriage and motherhood happened, I was devoted to my work. I didn't see anything beyond it. I had done my bit as an actor. After marriage, every woman wants to settle down and have children. I have no regrets. I was occupied in my little world, enjoying each and every experience that came my way.

Is it true that you want Jahnavi to act in films?

Not at all. I think people presume that because she is my daughter she has to become an actor. I feel sad when people think I'm an aggressive mother pushing her daughter to join films or lose weight. Jahnavi is health conscious, like me. I'm extremely careful about my diet and workout, and she follows me. In fact, I play tennis with both my daughters twice a week. Recently, one of the ladies at the health club told her, 'How sad to see you here working out so hard. Your mother must make you come here and do all these things, no?' Jahnavi was so angry. She came home and told me, 'Mum, it's my wish that I am coming here. I am doing it to be healthy and not because you are pushing me to become slim.'

What do you want her to do?

I don't want her to do anything at this point besides focusing on her studies. Jahnavi is just 15 and doing well in school. I'm happy with that. She's too young to do films. I want both my daughters to get a good education. I missed out on it as I was working from a very early age. I was good at studies, but because I became busy with films, I couldn't complete my education.

So you have no aspirations of Jahnavi becoming an actor?

None at all! In fact, I don't want her to become an actor. People have started presuming and even named some hero's son as her co-star, and we had a big laugh about it. Mera bas chale toh I would get her married soon.

Who is naughtier- Khushi or Jahnavi?

Khushi. She is very mischievous!

What made you decide on English Vinglish as your comeback film?

I never decide or plan things. I would have grabbed English Vinglish if the script had come to me even five or 10 years ago. I didn't plan this as my comeback film. It just happened. R Balki (the director) is very close to my husband Boney, and he came to me with two scripts. I heard and loved both of them. One was written by Balki and the other by his wife Gauri, and it was her script that really touched my heart the most. Any middle-class housewife will be able to identify with my character, and that's why I felt this is the right film for me.

It's about a housewife who learns to speak English...

It's not just that. She's totally devoted to her family. Her world revolves around her husband and children. But there comes a time when she has to go to New York alone. Till now, she's always been surrounded by her family, but being alone in New York is a different experience for her. It's about who she meets, what she does, the challenges she faces. At home in India, she has been taken for granted while taking care of her family. They don't appreciate what she's doing for them, as they are busy in their own worlds. When she's not there, they come to appreciate her value. It's a feel-good film.


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