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Why does Sonam Kapoor have an emotional connect with Diwali?

Sonam Kapoor made her debut outing on Diwali with 'Saawariya'. Eight years on, she has yet another release coinciding with the festival of lights. With the auspicious occasion upon us, hitlist chats up the actress on fond festive memories and leading a 'privileged' life that extends well beyond films. Excerpts:

Sonam Kapoor
Sonam Kapoor. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

Nostalgia trip
My first release was on Diwali — November 9, 2007. It was the start of a new life. Looking back at childhood memories of Diwali, I recall being really happy and emotional because that was one occasion all five of us (including father Anil Kapoor, mother Sunita, sister Rhea and brother Harshvardhan) would be at home. That used to be the one time Dad made sure that he was there with us. We would also meet our extended family by going over to dad's house for dinner.

Life beyond films
If you do three-four films a year, it's unfair to the producer. I don't like working like a machine. Even if the shoot gets delayed or something goes wrong, I can still concentrate on this one film that I am doing at a time. I do so many other things — I produce films with my sister (Rhea), travel, etc. If films are your entire world, you don't grow as a person. Everybody else goes home in the evening and unwinds, but as actors we are so into it all the time that there is a danger of being too involved.

Charmed living
It is easy for me to make these choices, because I still live with my parents. I haven't taken any money from my parents since I was 18, but I don't have too many needs. I have the same car since five years and I still pay monthly instalments. I have the same problems everybody has, but I don't want to make a sob story out of it, because I have a charmed life. So many things I can complain or criticise about, but I would rather look at myself living a privileged life as Anil Kapoor's daughter.

Self respect is key
Staying positive helps me sleep better at night. I have short memory and forget everything easily. I don't judge easily; if someone has done something negative, I know they are doing that for a reason. Recently, someone was speaking about equal pay for male and female actors. I think preaching alone doesn't work. If you don't like not being paid as much as you think you deserve, then don't do those films. I have turned down so many offers because of that. You can be either idealistic or practical. If you want to fight for something, then just don't talk; take action to suit what you preach. You know how many jobs I have lost because of that? But, at least, I know my self respect is intact in every situation.

I am a complete feminist, but at the same time, it has got a lot to do with how you treat yourself. You have to respect yourself first and fight for what you believe is right. Women like Shabana Azmi are an inspiration. Equal pay is also about how the business is going to be. If I am cast opposite Salman Khan, knowing the kind of opening he gets, I can never even dream of getting paid as much as he does. But if there is a film in which I am the draw, I would expect to be paid more than the guy. And that happens.

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