Q You debuted in mainstream Hindi cinema and shared the screen with your own son in Sui Dhaga. That must have been exhilarating! Please do tell us about your experience and what made you take up this opportunity?
An opportunity like this was unexpected for me, but far from exhilarating. Coming from a family of performers, I knew I was going to take on a lot of responsibility. I washappy when I got to know that Namit (my son) will be playing Guddu’s role and I shall be sharing screen with him, but then, I was more concerned about not letting him down.And Chandan Das ji’s support and guidance made me gain immense confidence for this journey.
The story of this opportunity coming my way is very interesting. I had done a couple of small roles in the past, but I always did them for fun and never for becoming famous. I didn’t imagine that those ‘fun’ roles would fetch me a big break like that of playing Mauji’s mother. In October 2017, a theatre friend of Namit asked me to send my pictures to Rajat Kapoor,who was looking for a woman of my age to play a role in his upcoming movie. I sent in my pictures and was later called for an audition. I was thrilled to do it as I had not given auditions before. Eventually, after a few days, Rajat called to tell me that I was selected to play Varun Dhawan’s mother in the film. Precisely, that was an exhilarating moment for me. Then and there, a new journey of surprises and self-discoveries started for me.
Q You are a singer, an ardent music lover, and an avid reader. Becoming an actor is the latest feather that got attached to your hat. Did you ever dream of acting on big screen? How does it feel?
I always considered myself as a housewife, who could have become a singer. Not even in my wildest dreams I imagined becoming an actor instead. But now when everyone calls me an actor, it makes me feel ecstatic. I am happy to discover a new Yamini within myself. Some fine day, I wonder, when my grandkids will talk about me and about all the different things I must have done in life, they will be proud of their Dadi.
Q How did you mould your own aspirations to be materialised into realities? What were your dreams in life?
Honestly, I did not have any big aspirations in life. I always have had smaller goals and have worked towards accomplishing them. I believe in living in the moment. When I got married, I was a total failure at cooking. So, I aspired to become a good housewife and a better cook. After Namit was born, my goal was to give him a good life and foster him well.
But yes, the only way one can turn up their aspirations into reality is by working hard and by acquiring knowledge, and by becoming a better person every other day.
Q What would you like to say to the readers of Pinkishe, a group ofambitious women who believe in their dreams and would leave no stone unturned to achieve them?
I would say that everyone should follow their dreams and work hard to achieve their ambitions, regardless of their gender. However,do not forget to enjoy each moment of your life.It’s vitalto achieve dreams, butit is also important to live your life in the present moment.
Q As an artist, what do you think is the takeaway of the movie for any human being? The movie brings to forefrontthe importance of encouraging handicrafts, the importance of maintaining good relationships and earning money, and the foul play in which intermediaries indulge. What touched you the most?
Take away, I would say is the belief in the human spirit; how much we can endure and can still keep going on. I also got to learn how middlemen take advantage of their reach and assets in every trade. The film talks about self-reliance. Ultimately, it is about standing together as a family and as a community.
QSui Dhaga is a film about illiterate, poor people challenging the upper-class sector of the society in the pursuit of establishing a better life. Is this actually possible? India still has a lot of similar unemployed potential from the lower rungs of the society, especially women. What you think can be done for their betterment?
Yes, it is very much possible! Recently,while travelling from Jaipur to Mumbai, I struck up a conversation with this young lady sitting next to me who turned out to be a dress designer and an entrepreneur. Her story was so similar to the story of Sui Dhaga. She belonged to a small village, her parents were uneducated, and she earned scholarships to pursue her studies at NIFT. Today, she owns a store in Delhi, designs, and supplies designer dresses to other stores across India.
When she told me how she saved money to buy her first two sewing machines and how she started her own business, I was touched. So, you will never find a successful person who would have achieved things in life without hard graft.
QTalking about the expression that we get to hear in the movieintermittently, "sab badhiya hai", how do you see this as a silver lining?
I see a silver lining in every situation. My favourite lines of encouragement are: “It will all be fine in the end”and“It could have been worse.” My mother shared these lines with me. She lost her husband, my father, after 11 years of their marriage, leaving her behind with six kids to look after. Things were difficult initially, but later she got a job at Doordarshan. Every time she got her paycheck, we would sit down to make a budget and I remember asking her,“How are we going to manage the entire month with this money?’. She would reply softly, “Don’t worry, God will take care of us.” That seeped into my consciousness and I continued to believe in it until today. So, for sure, “Sab badiya hai ji.”