Soha Ali Khan has been nothing if not picky with her roles in Bollywood. While she may not have been seen in a lot of Hindi movies, Soha has been plucky enough to stand behind her choices in films. And despite being surrounded by fame and royalty — from father Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, mother Sharmila Tagore, brother Saif Ali Khan, and sister-in-law Kareena Kapoor Khan — Soha has her own, effortless identity. The actress, who is currently enjoying motherhood after the birth of her daughter Inaaya, has turned author with a book. Titled The Perils of Being Moderately Famous, it seems like a tongue-in-cheek take on her own self. We speak to Soha about her book, motherhood and stardom. Excerpts:
So Soha, what’s the secret behind the title?
When I was approached to write a book, I said I would like it to be non-fictional. I want to share the experiences I’ve had in my life, and present it to readers in this amazing way. The thing is, I like to laugh at myself. I can laugh at other people too. Humour becomes a very important part of your life when you have to deal with so much. Because I come from an interesting family, where everyone is famous in their own right, I have also been able to view the world from an interesting lens. I’m often compared to them and I’m not entirely famous or non-famous. Hence, the title (smiles).
Is there a sense of insecurity when you’re surrounded by such famous names from within your own family?
I think it really depends on your mood. Sometimes it can be frustrating and sometimes it is what it is. It all boils down to being who I am, instead of trying to fight it. It’s good to embrace that identity.
There are many great things about being Sharmila’s daughter, many good things about being Kareena’s sister-in-law, or Taimur’s aunt for that matter. It can be a difficult struggle, but I am who I am, and I appreciate that. You should continue and strive, till you achieve your own identity.
As an actor, how important is it to have a reality check about yourself?
I think the reality check is about knowing your place in the universe. You know, I even have an interesting chapter about travel in my book. I think that when you live in a city like Mumbai, you can be forgiven for thinking that the world revolves around you and your city. The minute you step out of the county, you’re humbled. You’ll feel small, and you should feel that! It’s a humbling lesson. This is why I encourage everyone to travel — that’s where your reality check is.
So, how are you enjoying motherhood?
My mood is all over the place now! It’s all controlled by Inaaya. It’s an incredible journey, and watching the miracle of life is amazing. The thought that you feel is ‘wow, you created this life!’ It’s incredible, and there are no words to describe it.
While many actresses choose to take a break post-pregnancy, what made you and Kareena take up work again so soon?
Being physically active — being able to run around the whole day and yoga has helped me a lot. It’s all about achieving the right kind of balance that you want with life. Some people like to take time off, while some want to work again as soon as possible, and that’s a personal choice. I’ve decided to give it three months, after which I will take up work.
Do you miss being a star?
I don’t miss it. I can’t say I miss anything, actually. I don’t have regrets, and I’m very content with my life. Maybe people will call me unambitious, but I would prefer to say I am content. And that doesn’t mean I don’t look forward to working or accomplishing things. For me, it’s important to be working. I want to have a happy life, and I want to work and travel. I also want to spend time with my family.
How has your relationship with Kareena evolved?
I look up to her for who she is. She’s very much her own person and very comfortable in her own skin. She makes sure when my mother is in town, we all have dinner and spend time together. She is lovely to be with too. When I had Inaaya, she was constantly looking after me, and it’s nice to have that kind of a presence.
Will you venture into web series like your brother Saif?
Yes, absolutely. It’s an interesting platform for all actors now. The production value of all these things are very high. And just look at their writing of the digital product! I’m looking forward to seeing Sacred Games (Saif’s show). I have been offered shows, but none of them have been exciting enough for me yet. But it’s a space that I do want to explore.