The book is bereft of any glamour and is a book addressing the reader directly? My book ‘Amma Mia’ is all me. It is my journey from being a young girl, to joining the film industry, getting married, having children – all in line keeping the backbone of the book intact. All these instances culminate in food. I felt a need to share my experiences as a young mother to other young mothers like me. It is essentially a book from one mom to another and is completely heart-felt.
Did you decide on the chatty tone of the book while writing it or it was pre-decided?
The tone of the book is easy- breezy, light and information that is first-hand experience from my life. The foreword is written by Jaya Bachchan. What are your memories of food with her? Jayaji is someone I absolutely adore and respect. She was my co-star in my debut film Koi Mere Dil Se Poocho. We hit off very well during the shoot of the film that took over a year-and-a-half. The shoots were in Hyderabad and Rajasthan and I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with her over food. She treated me like a kid and mothered me. We ate our meals together at the restaurant sometimes and I particularly remember her fondness for fruits. She enjoyed her bowl of fruits and encouraged me to eat fruits and said that they shouldn’t be consumed in the evenings after a certain time. She has impeccable table manners and I picked up so many things from her. Working with her made a stronger bond with her across the years. I had her on mind while writing the book and she read the entire book and very graciously wrote the foreword. A wonderful woman, a wonderful mother to two, she raised such humble, well-mannered kids.
What did you learn from the strong and independent women you were surrounded with?
Right from my childhood, I have been surrounded by strong independent women who mould you to be yourself. Your outlook towards the work is different and I think that is what has shaped me into the woman I am. Be it multi-tasking, working, being a mom at home, standing my ground when I wanted to be an actress, getting married, having a wonderful husband and we’ve created an identity – that we maintain all our lives. I am someone who doesn’t depend on anyone on anything– that is what I have learnt from my grand mom, mom and aunt. They have all been these incredibly strong women – a one-woman army.
Turning non-vegetarian – how did you cope?
I grew up in a vegetarian household and we only had egg curry if you call that cheating. We used to visit Luv-Kush’s home (actor Shatrughan Sinha’s children) and Poonam aunty used to call us when they made anda curry that we used to eat with rotis or rice with great relish. We so looked forward to thesevisits. (Laughs)
You have been a huge Sylvester Stallone fan and you copied his style of eating raw eggs too.
I have been a die-hard Sylvester Stallone fan. My room was filled with his posters and you couldn’t see the wall paint at all. His Rocky series is something that I have watched back to back. Somewhere I saw him eat raw eggs and since I was very active in sports and athletics in school and had to report to sports training early in the morning by the beach, I would eat raw eggs. I thought that it would make me strong. Besides that, I love watching food videos and films based on food especially the ones where people cook different kinds of things in their vans. I avoid watching these films when I am on a diet. As a child I have tried making strawberries with whipped cream because they were there in the films I watched.
What would you cook for your mom today?
Recently I made my mom, a mango dessert with chia seeds and coconut milk. She is a healthy eater but she loves sweets, so I made her a healthy dessert that she enjoyed. My in laws are big foodies and when they were over, I cooked an elaborate buffet for them that included a mushroom risotto, vegetables to go with it, some Thai cuisine and baked a cake too.
Self-care after a baby – how did you find time and indulge?
This is a very important question. It is not easy to be in tip top shape, give yourself the time to heal and your mind to acknowledge and accept the changes your body has gone through. After my first baby Radhya, I didn’t have time for anything. I would be seen in a loose bun, pajamas and a loose T shirt. It was quite tough. Five months after Radhya was born, I had to do a solo Odissi in Delhi and had to get moving quicker than normal. I realised that when I started my work outs, that you can lose weight because the body has elasticity. After Miraya though, I took longer.I eat healthy and stay away from junk food. The second time you are in for other things because having two kids is quite a handful. Fitness is tougher because it is difficult to find time for yourself. You want to get back into shape and look like you did before. At this time, setting realistic goals help. Do not expect to get into a bikini the next day. A short walk around the block, deep breathing, some yoga and meditation works very well.
Shooting, acting, writing a book, dancing, bringing up kids and being part
of a big family – what are the things to watch out to never let the balance topple?
In the current lockdown, I have been cooking every second day. My husband is a big foodie and is handing me recipes he fancies and I try them out. Also, cooking for kids is fun. Radhya loves pasta, so I make that for her. I have been baking a lot of cakes and making cute desserts. I have also reserved time for my work outs that is pretty intense.