Posted by Fenil Seta
Unfazed by critics and trolls, straight-talking Mira Rajput Kapoor is ready for all that you hurl at her, and another baby
Aastha Atray Banan (MID-DAY; July 2, 2017)
On the wet Wednesday evening we meet her, Mira Rajput Kapoor sits on a couch in the plush Juhu apartment she shares with actor-husband Shahid Kapoor and 11-month-old daughter, Misha. She is pretty as a picture, just as she appears in photographs. She comes across as warm and hospitable, never flinching at the tough questions. She answers most of them with an amused expression. At 22, she faces the challenge of making a success of a life-changing transformation, from a Delhi college student to star wife. With it have come privileges and luxury, but also severe criticism. In her head, she is just a girl, who married a boy she fell in love with. Edited excerpts from the interview.
We fixed this interaction via your PR representative. But you say you are secure in the role of a homemaker. Then why have a PR?
I am open to interviews because a lot has been said about me - good and bad - and I thought I should express myself and show them who I really am.
But you have a knack for shooting from the hip. The 'Misha is not a puppy' line set Twitter on fire. Do you come away wiser after each episode?
For long, I have been used to speaking my mind, without a thousand people sharing their opinion. Motherhood is a phase you need to experience [before you react]. It's difficult to judge it when you are not in it. You are emotional and vulnerable. I was coming from a place [when I said that] where I was being protective of her. I was speaking for moms who may want to get back to work although their heart is at home. You should not feel pressured to stay away from work, or go to work. It's your choice.
Did you, in hindsight, feel that some women don't have the choice you've made? They must raise their child and they must also work?
I completely understand that. Being a working woman is something to be proud of. I am very proud of being a mother who stays home. And a working mother will be proud of what she does. You can't judge two parents with the same yardstick. All I was trying to say was that I didn't want my child to think she didn't have enough time with me. There is a fine line between being independent and being negligent. Parenthood is a responsibility, and your time is theirs. What I said wasn't meant to hurt anyone. [My comment] was misconstrued, and I have learnt to be careful with what I say. It's a game of Chinese whispers. I want Misha to have a childhood like other kids. I wish that she is grateful for all she has. I want to be unconditional with my love, but frugal with privileges.
You seem okay being papped, sharing Misha's pictures on social media, and open to scrutiny. Does that come naturally?
I wasn't comfortable in the beginning, but I have grown used to it. I am learning to deal with it. Practice makes perfect. I have got a lot of love and support from Shanatics [fans who are fanatic about Shahid], and I applaud them.
You said in an interview that you were surprised you have fans. Are they still around?
When I said that, I think it was because I was flattered. Shahid has worked in the industry for 14 years and built a fan following. To me, stardom has come relatively easily. I've transitioned from being someone who wasn't in the limelight to people supporting me, without really knowing me.
We are certain there are star wives wars, and considering you are an 'outsider', you couldn't have had it easy. What's it like?
I maintain safe distance. I have my own friends, my family, and I enjoy being cocooned in my environment. But the industry is friendly. Friendship takes time to evolve, and in due course, those [new relationships] will build too.
But do you fear being judged as the celebrity wife?
The concept of the star wife is outdated. You can either brush it aside or give it importance. I am a wife, yes, and my husband is a star. If you wish to put the two together, you are going to get a star wife. I love him for who he is; I don't care that he is an actor. It's part of the package. I can't say, I love you, but I don't like your profession. Before I got married, it was easy to say 'this one is like that' or 'so and so is that kind of a person'. Now, being on this side of the fence, it's extremely difficult when I am scrutinised.
Like the time a college classmate reacted to the Feminazi comment [she equated staunch feminists with male chauvinists] with a post that accused you of body shaming peers?
I don't even know that person. It was an open letter [the post]. I had a great set of friends in college. When there is an opportunity, people raise their hand and speak. But I am who I am.
Viewers got a whiff of your personality when you featured on Koffee with Karan, taking on his sexual questions with ease. Did you prepare for it?
No. Karan is extremely comfortable in his own skin, and he makes sure the environment on set is relaxed. I was having a conversation with two people I know. I wasn't breaking it down, and saying, I am going to say this, so I get perceived like that. I was speaking my mind.
The age difference between you and Shahid cropped up in the KJo interview too. If it isn't a big deal, why bring it up?
I have answered this over and over. Age is not a criteria. But, we are different. His tastes are set and I am open to trying new things. I will say, 'I want to do 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 things', and he will say, 'Listen, 4 and 5 may not be a good idea'. Recently, I made him try a seven-course meal. I enjoy food. Actors don't have the time to sit and have a long meal. He hates what I love, and vice versa.
What sort of a husband is Shahid when he is in the midst of a challenging film, like say now?
I don't want to seem like I praise him incessantly, but he balances priorities well. There was something going wrong today, and I called him. He was all ears. He said, yes, I have work, but tell me. He has a work mode, but he never forgets family.
When you first arrived in Mumbai, there was talk of you wanting to work on a movie.
No. Never. I don't know how that story came up.
Do you plan to pursue a career?
Yes, I would love to work, especially in a field that is creatively stimulating, but also allows me time with family. Perhaps something with food, or lifestyle.
Do you have a deadline for it?
No, because I am going to have another baby, and then decide.