On the occasion of International Women’s Day, we asked six prominent celebrity men in the city, who the most influential woman in their life was. No prizes for guessing — almost all of them ended up picking their mothers! Were they playing safe or just being chamathu mommy’s boys? We’ll let you decide!
Sivakarthikeyan: Who else but my mom, Raji? She didn’t study much, and was entirely dependent on my appa — until his untimely, sudden death. Life changed for us in a matter of minutes. What could have faltered many, instead rejuvenated her — she rose from the tragedy, and ensured her daughter and son achieved Masters degrees, completely sacrificing her own happiness in the process. The biggest lesson I learnt from her was this: there’s very little time left for hatred and bad-mouthing; so let’s just walk away from such issues. I’ve always lived my life that way. Even today, she continues to inspire me — she only utters two or three sentences when she watches a film of mine, but that’s enough for me to gauge the outcome! Despite being well-settled today, my amma also makes it a point to watch my films back in our hometown along with the local audiences to get a real taste of how its faring... it’s unbelievable what she — and other mothers of the world — do for their kids.
STR: Women play such an important role in both the professional and personal spheres of my life. Despite being emotional and sensitive, they display great strength and dynamism always. Homemakers in the family also generate such positive vibes, which is so important. There are many who have influenced me — but it is my mother, Usha T.R who’s been a rock-solid source of support to me during the utmost highs and lows in my life.
Madhavan: There were essentially three women who actually shaped me into becoming who I am today. First, is my mother Saroja; a successful professional, an awesome homemaker, and a great wife/mom! She is very ambitious and straightforward. As a bank officer in Bihar, it was a tough thing at that time, but she always told me, “If you take Rs 50 today, that does not belong to you, you will lose Rs 5000 at a later stage for sure!”
The second was this amazing lady called Bhanumathy Neelakandan who was the president of the school I studied in. She is a Tamil lady who settled in Bihar, as her husband was working in TATA Steel. She had set up a school called Dakshina Bharatam Mahila Samaj. She saw the potential in me when nobody else did. I was being forced to go into a mould that was enforced upon every student in Jamshedpur at that time — but she and her husband gave me many second chances. They shaped me into a confident young man by the time I was in Grade 12!
And, the third woman is my wife Sarita. She’s my silent partner; her tenacity, her ability to be an extraordinary daughter-in-law and a mother had made me fall even more madly in love with her! All the three women have taught me that being dedicated to what you believe in, will help you achieve what you want to — I’m forever indebted to them.
Karthik: Though it might sound clichéd, my mother Geetha and my wife Ambika have had immense impact on my life. My mom has been there for me whenever I’ve needed her and in fact, she was the one who molded me during my formative years. For the past ten years, Ambika has not only been my companion and my friend but also an honest critic. That’s probably her best characteristic, as she never tries to be diplomatic whenever she finds any of my work unimpressive!”
Arya: Undoubtedly, it is my mother Jameela and it goes without saying. Movies had been very tough for me. I had to wait for four years for my first film to get released. At the crucial point, she never discouraged me and was always supportive of what I did. She even adviced me not to fret, but to pursue my dreams. I was an athlete in school and always idolised PT Usha, whom the whole world was worshipping then. She inspired me a lot and my aim was to become an athlete like her. Although I drifted to a different field, atheltics is always my first love. Whenever I get time, still I play football and cycle and keep myself fit, thanks to PT Usha madam.
Dinesh Karthik: Women make you stronger! In my case, it’s none other than my wife Dipika Pallikal. She’s been a calming influence on my life. What’s so pleasing is that in spite of all her numerous achievements on and off the court, she has been a humble, caring and an inspiring wife.”...