'I didn't even realise how long it'd been since I did a movie'
Like a doting mother, Sonali Bendre peppers her conversation with mentions of her seven year-old son. While travelling for the shoot of her upcoming TV reality show, Hindustan Ke Hunarbaaz, she deliberates whether marriage and motherhood means the end of an actresses' career
Your new TV reality show Hindustan Ke Hunarbaaz sounds similar to India’s Got Talent.
I have always been associated with talent shows, right from my first show, Kya Masti Kya Dhoom. For me, this is a throwback to that … kids and talent. I’m a different person around kids.
But is it okay to push kids into the harsh glare of televised competition?
The best part of this show is that there’s no competition; every child is showcasing his or her talent and taking something back. The concept of treasuring every child is special.
Does being a mother in real life help?
Definitely, motherhood and the enormity of the responsibility that comes with the process of raising a child and moulding a young brain has made me more sensitive. My husband Goldie and I introspect all the time — is this good for him? Am I doing this right?
You were away from films for almost a decade (since Kal Ho Na Ho). How does it feel to rejoin Bollywood in Ekta Kapoor’s Akshay starrer Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai 2?
I haven’t started shooting for the film though the other actors have already done so. They are going to work around my time. They are being very kind about it. I didn’t realise that I hadn’t done a movie for so long. I don’t know if I will do any more films. I thank God that I have the luxury to be able to choose not to work.
Do you feel it’s de rigueur for a new mother to leave her career to take care of her newborn?
Not doing movies was a conscious decision because I wanted time with my child. Studies say 80 per cent of the IQ and EQ of a child develops during the first seven years. When I did TV, I worked according to my son’s time. I can’t do that for films.
You are one of the few actors who did not hit the gym post pregnancy.
Frankly, there’s no harm in losing weight faster than I did — it is an individual choice. I was quite comfortable with the weight I had, because I had always been extremely thin and this was completely different. As long as you are comfortable with your body, it is okay.
Do you have a say in the films that your son watches?
He loves movies (laughs). Sometimes I bribe him with a movie to make him do certain things. I keep a check on what he watches. But I am technologically challenged and my son is tech-savvy, so he teaches me a trick or two. He came to me, saying, ‘Mumma you said I shouldn’t be on this site, but I did manage to get onto it, I am putting it off.’
What kind of a mother are you?
Goldie and I are hands-on parents. There is a constant tightrope we walk — you are trying to be indulgent yet strict when required. Everyday is a balancing act. I would love to give him security, love and confidence.