The actress on finding a work-life balance through years of being a working mother
Nayandeep Rakshit (DNA; April 16, 2017)

Raveena Tandon Thadani was a rising star when she adopted two girls. She then had her own children Raasha and Ranbirvardhan. Her children come first for her, something we discover over a span of 30 minutes. In fact, her comeback film, due for release soon, is also about a mother. One who seeks revenge for the rape and murder of her daughter.

Here, the actress talks about finding a work-life balance, her parenting skills, her children and how they affect her choices...

Is it difficult to balance things as a working mother?
Probably. Right now, it has become a little difficult because everything has come together. I shoot for this show I judge, there’s my film’s promotions and a music video shoot. I might be short on time, but otherwise, I do space out my day really well. I know how to balance it well otherwise. I’d say, being a mother has not actually changed my choices, but enhanced them. That would be the right way to put it because after having Raasha and Ranbirvardhan, I look for a different kind of emotional connect with anything I do.

Your mom and dad brought you up a certain way. Do you follow the same with your kids?
Absolutely. I want them to be really good, strong individuals and I will support them in whatever they do. But like my parents, I also want a certain sense of discipline in my kids. For example, I have always earned my pocket money. And I want to bring up my kids like that. I have had this discussion with my husband as well. I don’t think we should give kids too much too soon. It’s very important to make them understand the value of things.

Do you consciously make sure they have a normal childhood?
I do think it is very important to make sure of that. I want to bring them up. I haven’t given birth to them so they can be handled by a nanny or a governess. They are my kids and I always spend time with them. They are my biggest priority. I want to bring them up a certain way. I normally keep them away from premieres and other places where I know media will be there. But there are places where we go and suddenly there will be photographers. Sometimes, I request them to not click the kids and at times, they listen and many times, they don’t. That much is okay. But I don’t take them intentionally to places where the paparazzi is going to be there. They are extremely young so I first want them to grow up, understand and absorb what this is, gracefully. I don’t want them ending up feeling they’re special in school or something.

Farah Khan said in an interview that after a few years, she will make son Czar watch a lot of serious movies to educate him on societal taboos. Your take on that...
I haven’t really thought of that, but I take it as the day comes. As of now, I have started making them read the newspapers every day. Then, there are so many things that I need to explain to them. I have actually brought them up, watching TV on Saturday and Sundays with Discovery, National Geographic and that’s why they love things about space and travel and nature. I love travelling with them — whether it’s a jungle or the mountains — I love showing the world to them. So for me, it’s a discovery of a different nature. I am not actually much of a movie person, to be honest. I show them a lot of history and classics like Broadway musicals like Hello Dolly, Tom Tom, Sound of Music, My Fair Lady and other educational dramas. I make them watch a lot of Charlie Chaplin because nowadays, these kids don’t even know who Charlie Chaplin was. And my kids love Charlie Chaplin. I do record a few movies, which come on TV which I feel is appropriate for kids their age. I want them to learn from experience, to travel and discover different places, different foods. I prefer that kind of an education.

How friendly are you with your children? Do they share everything they do with you?
My children and I are the best of friends. We love spending time with each other. So far that time has not come when they would tell me, ‘Mom don’t crowd around us, we want to hang around with our friends’. Every night, we have a Ludo championship. So before and after dinner, there have to be two-three games of Ludo, which we have to play and then sleep.

Twinkle said that her son’s friends lovingly call her savage. What kind of a bond do you share with your kids’ friends?
I don’t know about being nicknamed anything. But I definitely think my daughter’s friends are really comfortable with me. Her birthday was on March 16, so she celebrated it on April 1. I had these 30 girls with me and I took them out to watch Beauty And The Beast. So I was there with all of them. When I go to school to drop my kids, they all come to me and I give them hugs every time. So yes, I enjoy being with my kids’ friends as well.

Kajol said in an interview to us that that Nysa’s made her more social media-friendly. Does Raasha comment on your clothes and all?
Raasha’s not on social media yet. She is just 12. There’s a right age for that as well, for that kind of exposure. When she is 14 or 15, we will see. Right now, when she watches me go out to shoot or watches my episodes on TV, I definitely get my fair share of comments — what I should be doing with my hair or not and stuff like that. She has her opinions on the dresses I wear and is extremely fascinated by the idea of make-up. So whenever I am getting ready and doing my make-up, she generally comes and watches me or studies along when I’m doing it.

Have you both started sharing clothes as well?
Yeah, we have already been doing a bit of it. Not sharing clothes and jewellery that way because as I said, she’s still very young. But on her birthday this year, I took her for a week to New York. That was her birthday gift. We went there just for shopping and it was only her and me. We had some mommy-daughter time. We got the same shoes, same bags and had a blast. We will remember this trip forever. Then, we were stuck in the middle of a blizzard so it was all the more adventurous.

What interests do Raasha and Ranbirvardhan have?
Raasha has always chosen some major roles in theatre. My son is more of a sports buff, so he concentrates on his swimming and cricket, football and other sports. Raasha loves singing and dancing, the teachers are always proud of her. I don’t now which way they are going, but I will always allow them to follow their dreams and to excel in what they think they will do best. It’s completely their choice in life.