As Shivani gears up for her acting debut with the Telugu version of 2 States, the spotlight is on her family of celebrities. From the very beginning, actors Jeevitha and Rajasekhar have never been spotted without Shivani and her sister Shivatmika. Be it at an audio launch or the sets of a film, this family truly sticks together! This could be viewed as a ploy to keep their daughters in the public eye, maybe to nurture their dreams to become actresses. But turns out there’s more to this than meets the eye.
With Shivani preparing for her debut in Telugu, there’s a lot of excitement in the house. After all, she spent nearly a year deciding on the film she wanted to start off with.
“I knew as a kid that I wanted to be an actress and always indulged in passions that would help me reach there,” she says, adding, “I didn’t train in acting but I have watched my parents work and I have learnt from them.” Interestingly, both Shivani and Shivatmika are dance aficionados with their latest interest being belly dance.
Jeevitha and Rajasekhar have been sure of one thing, letting their daughters pursue their dreams. “I can never say no to my kids because I remember how bad I felt when my father first refused my wish to be an actor,” explains Rajasekhar. Hoping to be just like her father, Shivani is pursuing medicine. She’s presently a third year MBBS student in Apollo Medical College. Shivatmika is still figuring out what to pursue, except she knows she wants to get trained in
Actor Rajasekhar explains the tight bond they share. He says, “It all began when Shivani was born. She was a 10-day-old baby when I took her to Mumbai. And from that day till this moment, wherever we go, it’s always as a family. I can’t stay away from them.” The attachment is so strong that Rajasekhar started the Nature Waldorf School to make travelling with the kids easy! “Teachers always complained that we took them off for long periods from school! I might be the only father who decided to start a school for this purpose,” he jokes. Interestingly, the girls too have become so used to living this way that they find it hard to understand the concept of chilling without their parents.
The acting legacy
It’s very rare to see daughters of stars taking a plunge into acting. Despite the popular opinion that it’s easy for star kids, it can be difficult, especially for the daughters of stars in Telugu cinema, or so it seems as you listen to the girls speak.
“The fact that there aren’t many daughters of heroes who have come out to act is important here and that’s why people don’t know what to expect. I have seen filmmakers say they are sceptical about what my father or mother would think if they offer me a certain role. Such doubts and hesitations plague them before they even come to me. They feel they cannot be free in terms of sharing views. I think that’s one of the biggest challenges I face. But I am an artiste at the end of the day and will be professional,” explains 20-year-old Shivani.
Shivatmika adds, “We will do everything to make our parents proud. However, we are aware that there’ll be a lot of expectations from us. People would assume that since our parents have received acclaim, we’d automatically have inherited their talent pool. Maybe we have! Time will tell.”
As you sit with the family, you realise that the force that helps them all sail is Jeevitha. “She’s like the glue that keeps us all together. If we are all able to move ahead every day with everything in place, it’s because of her,” Shivani, Shivatmika and Rajasekhar say in