Q. You were recently part of a retro song in the Kannada film Pushpak Vimana. What made you say yes to this?
A. I did it for a number of reasons. My reaction to the offer though initially was that what would I be doing in an item song as I don’t do item songs at all and that’s not quite my forte. But then they explained why they wanted me to do it. So this film is set in the 80’s/90’s, and it showcases a programme of a Hindi movie star in a jail celebrating their annual day function. So I am there as a movie star, playing myself, i.e. Juhi Chawla, and the song sequence happens to be at a time when the hero of the film Ramesh Arvind has been jailed. The song is a major twist in the film. So while this song is happening, the other jail mates are planning something different for him. I also decided to take it up since this was Ramesh Arvind’s 100th film, so they are trying to make it as special as they can. That became another reason for me to say a yes. Also, the tune of the song was a very lovely and catchy one. It was an instant hit for me. So yes, taking into account all these things, I agreed to take up the project.
Q. So what’s this song about?
A. It was after a long time that I ventured into doing something for the Kannada film industry, and what I am doing in the film Pushpak Vimana is playing myself. The lyrics are inspiring. They are about encouragement, having faith, and it’s about life in general. The song that I shot for was shot at a studio in Bangalore. It’s a really lovely track with a very catchy tune. When I heard it for the first time, I felt that this could be a superhit song. The way it has been picturized is really nice. I danced after a long time as well. I must tell you that they didn’t tell me I was dancing but gave me a reference where I’d look cool and strum a guitar, which I thought was quite easy and then when I got there, they started giving me steps to dance on. Imagine!
Q. You had on an earlier occasion said that your daughter wants to be a writer. How did you react to it when she shared her ambition with you?
A. My daughter still is just a growing little girl and she has her dreams. Her joy lies in losing herself in some bookstore. She is inspired by J.K Rowling. That J.K Rowling could become richer than the Queen made her think, perhaps this is the way to go. That is how she decided she would be a writer, too, someday. (laughs)
I work on prioritizing. Once they are clear, then I try to fit other things in. When you are single, it’s just you and your work but when you are married, it’s you, your husband, your children, work etc. So I just prioritize everything. At the top of the list is my family, my work, my music and that takes precedenceover everything else. Then it’s my social work, my friends, etc.
Q. How do you balance your time amid these myriad roles of being a mother, a wife and a career woman?
A. I work on prioritizing. Once they are clear, then I try to fit other things in. When you are single, it’s just you and your work but when you are married, it’s you, your husband, your children, work etc. So I just prioritize everything. At the top of the list is my family, my work, my music and that takes precedenceover everything else. Then it’s my social work, my friends, etc. So I make sure to balance them all rightly.
Q. Which has been the most challenging role till date in your entire career?
A. The toughest film I’ve ever had to shoot was Arjun Pandit. With Sunny Deol as my co-actor and directed by Rahul Rawail some years ago, the most challenging role was playing a negative character in the second half of the film. The climax of the film has been the toughest in my entire career where Sunny and I were shooting under a running train! Had Sunny not been there with me, I think I would have ended up with a chopped head.
Q. You’ve also been actively involved in encouraging radiation awareness.Tell us a little bit about that.
A. I am trying to bring awareness of long term over exposure to radiation and what it can do to your health. Very simply put, if god wanted you to have a piece of a radiating instrument next to your body, he would’ve sent to this earth with a telephone attached to your ear, but he didn’t do it, we’re doing it. Mobile phones, wifi devices, though we cannot see them are not working by magic. They’re working on air waves. These air waves are similar frequencies to microwaves. Overexposure to these air waves in the long term will affect your health is what I try to tell people. I do not mean to say that they must throw away their devices, but I certainly tell them they have to be more careful about how much they use them and how they use them.
Q. You are a great follower of Yoga. What is your take on yoga? We hear you plan to open your own yoga center soon?
A. Yoga has got me focused as well as calmed me down as a person. Overall, it helps me just feel better! After each session of yoga, I feel so refreshed, calm and rejuvenated. It has given me a certain kind of inner strength. It has also made me much more flexible. I now adapt more easily to situations and find myself being able to work much better around them, Yoga cannot be compartmentalized no matter how and when you begin. It is like a journey within and everytime it takes you one step closer to yourself.
We have a 20 acre property just outside of Mumbai by the river, which has a mango orchard, and I have friends and colleagues, Rachel and Yasmin, who are very eager and keen to take forward this idea with me. The idea is to have people stay there, practice yoga, do pottery, learn organic farming and occupy themselves with therapeutic, healing and simple things which people love to do. I am really hoping the universe conspires and makes my dream come true to making this a beautiful place, where people can come in for health, healing and yoga.