1. What was your dream career in your childhood days? Tell us more about your growing up days.
I was born and brought up in Mumbai, it’s my hometown. I’ve always been a Mumbai girl. I studied in a girl’s school till the sixth standard after which I shifted to Jamnabai Narsee School, which is in Juhu because we shifted our houses. I was a brilliant student and I had no intention of getting into the movies. I wanted to study abroad but, life had different things installed for me.

I’m the eldest of three sisters and we’ve always been brought up in a very conservative background. We are from the Royal family, so when we used to go to our hometown, we were treated very differently, unlike the cosmopolitan Mumbai type of lifestyle. The lifestyle was very different out there compared to a metropolitan city.

2. How did you venture into movies when and how did the journey towards being an actor happen?
I had finished my 10th grade exams and we were enjoying our summer vacation. My neighbour happened to be Amol Palekar who is an actor and director. And he was starting with a serial called “Kachchi Dhoop” which is based on little women. The girl that he had selected to work in that serial “eloped” with her boyfriend, just one night before the shoot. So he came at night and asked me whether I could replace the girl and start shooting with him the next day.

So, it came quite a surprise to me because I had never acted before and never gone to any classes or my intention was to get into the movies or get into acting. He kind of convinced me saying, I put up a set and there’ll be too much of a loss, the money that we have invested in putting up the set. So he said me to help him out. His daughter and my siblings were good friends and we were always together. So he said, since it’s a kids program, you know, you will have fun on the set, what your friends do, you’re in the garden or our homes. You just be comfortable on set. And that’s how I started my career in acting.

3. Were there any kind of apprehensions entering the field of cinema?
No, nothing at all, because Amol uncle was almost like our family and we were very comfortable with one another and there was nothing like that in serial. Even when I did ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’ Sooraj ji’s parents, were known to my parents and, they in fact assured, my parents that they will take care of me as a daughter. Everyone was very protective about me. From my parents’ side there was never an objection. In fact, they told me that since you are working on something, that’s completely different, make sure that you are not just, learning your dialouges and performing there but understand what the craft is. Try to understand why a director takes a particular shot why, there is zoom or how the lights are placed, or how the editing is done. Actually speaking, they wanted me to learn everything at that point in time. Even during “Kachchi Dhoop” I have gone and sat down with Amol uncle when he would be at the editing table. It’s not like digital editing nowadays. It was a far more tedious process at that point in time, but yes, I’ve assisted them, even at that point in time. My parents were actually interested in making me adapt to whatever line I choose to work in.

3. Why did you decide to leave them leave movies so early in your career, did you have any regrets later on? What made you decide to come back after such a long gap?
My husband (Himalaya Dassani) and we knew each other since schooling and we were in love. My parents objected to the relationship for some time, so we spent time apart, but when we got back together after a year, we decided that we needed to spend the rest of our lives together. During which ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’ happened. We didn’t want to not have each other in each other’s lives. This career takes you onto a different path, I didn’t want to let go of my love. So I got married to him. For me, prioritising was important, so I prioritised him and the family over my career. Now that my children have grown up, I have time to get back to acting. Also, my children and my husband have been greatly encouraging me to do films once again, so I have decided to get back to acting. I have already acted in a few films in Tamil, Kannada and Telugu.

4. What have been some of the biggest highpoints of your journey so far?
The high point of my life has been my children; there was nothing that gave me greater joy than the birth of my son and my daughter. I look forward to, spending time with them, bringing them up, just being with them during their first word, teaching them things as children. Especially with my daughter, I had always shared such a strong bond that, it took a long time for me to let go of her. It was only when she went to London was when I could even think of being apart from her. So for me, my high point, my love, and my obsession have been my children.

5. How was the lockdown period for you?
During the lockdown period, we had lots of fun, as a family together. We could spend time with one another in a relaxed manner. My husband could experiment with growing vegetables at home, and my son would experiment with cooking. Avantika and I would enjoy making different kinds of cuisines and curving the rest of the family and eating together. So for us, lockdown time was a lot of family bonding. My mother-in-law and father-in-law stay with us. They were happy to have the grandchildren at home; because both my son and daughter had started working by then, so it was thrilling that they could spend so much time with them. For us, fortunately, the lockdown was a lot of bonding.

6. What are your other passions?
What I really like to do is traveling. What disturbed me during lockdown was traveling. I love to travel. It is very difficult to pin me down in one place. Be it for work or holiday, I like traveling and exploring new places. Also, everyone knows that I’m really fond of exercising and I love my fans and followers who keep motivating me on my fitness journey on my social media.

7. You are a star in your own right on social media and post a lot on fitness. What is your vision and dream in this field that you have made a mark for yourself in?
Exercise keeps the negativity at bay. For me, that’s more like meditation. Exercising really makes a lot of difference and releases the endorphins that keep one happy. I like to learn more about exercise. I like to learn more about nutrition, the kind of food that we should eat. So I’m very health conscious. I like to study and learn more about health and fitness. I believe in this idea “our bodies meant to heal themselves”, my whole vision is around this thought. All my posts are simple lifestyle driven content – both nutritional and fitness. We need to understand our body, select routines, understand the nutritional benefits of the food we intake. And adopt the same in our day to day life.

8. Your views on the fitness industry?
I would like to inculcate a lifestyle change. I believe in the mantra “Fitness is an Essential, not a luxury”. And thus encourage home workouts. Home workouts do not leave space for excuses to go to the gym. They are a validation of giving your body the care it deserves. We must learn to prioritise health to be able to live well. It is important that we infuse stamina, agility to enable the smooth functioning of our joints, muscles and balance out our calorie and food intake with the calories we expend.

9. What kind of person are you in your personal space? How do you like to spend your me-time?
I’m a homely, people-friendly person. I like to balance home, responsibilities, work commitments whilst I still have all the fun with family and friends. My Me time is when I travel. I also love to read and of course exercise. Before the world shut down I have travelled to most of the destinations. In India I love the hills of Uttarakhand and have kept going there in pre and even post Covid period. I love to travel with friends, hubby, children and even solo on work.

10. You have tied up with a lot of brands? What do you see in a brand that you associate yourself with? Also your views on social media and how much time do you spend on it?
While associating with a brand, I mainly check if I can relate to the ethos and the brand promise. Social media is direct communication with your fans; it’s changed the way fans can get access to the stars they love and vice versa. It took me some time to understand social media. Actually I’m still learning. It has given all of us a platform to communicate, educate and entertain in our own style, pace and time. I am enjoying this engagement and going forward have some interesting plans lined up across all my social media handles.

11. Who are your close friends from the industry?
Close friends from the industry who travelled with us for a long time was director sholay, director ramesh sippy and his wife kiran sippy.

12. Describe the relationship you share with your daughter?
I was always too attached with my daughter, even after she had grown up the umbilical cord had not been severed. It was only when she left for London that I grew up and learnt to live without her. It was very difficult for me. It took almost a year not to cry at the very mention of her name.

13. Please share some of the most romantic things your husband has done for you?
Love makes my world go round. My hubby is extremely romantic. We go out on dates even now after so many years of marriage.

14. What do you have to say about the South Indian film industry? You recently acted in a few movies in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada. Tell us more.
I recently did a Tamil film called Thalaivi, where I played Kangana Ranaut’s mother. The film was based on the life of the late actress turned politician, Jayalalitha. I also acted in a Telugu film called Radhe Shyam with the Bahubali actor Prabhas and Pooja Hegde. Prabhas is such a gentleman and it was such a pleasure acting in that movie. He has such a larger than life image after Bahubali, but he’s just the opposite in real life. It was a wonderful experience playing his mother on screen. He welcomed me on the sets with delicious Pootharekulu, Hyderabadi sweets. I also did a comeback cameo in a Kannada film called Seetharama Kalyana. It was my comeback to Sandalwood after two decades. I had acted in Ammavra Ganda in 1997 opposite Shivarajkumar. So I have acted in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada films recently. I have thoroughly enjoyed the process, although they were different in their genre and making style. I have always enjoyed the way the South Indian film industry works and have met some really wonderful people here. I look forward to doing more work here.

15. How would you like to describe your fashion statement?
Simple and elegant. It has to be comfortable too.

16. Your fitness and beauty regime?
I workout at least six days a week, doing functional training which is a mix of pilates, calisthenics, yoga, cardio and weight training. I love eating veggies, so that takes care of the nutrients that my body needs. I also believe that our body needs adequate rest to rejuvenate itself, so my seven hour sleep is a must. And of course, hydrate… since our body waters needs to be replenished.



1. What are the projects you’re working on currently?
My role in my debut OTT project MITHYA on Zee5 was something that would have scared anyone… but I took it upon as a challenge and gave it my all. Infact I was surprised when the director called my mom on my second day of shoot and said, “You don’t have to worry about her. She is brilliant. She brings so much to the table even without being guided. She is spontaneous and strong character driven”. It was a huge compliment and truly after seeing the web series, my mom and everyone we knew said, “I don’t think anyone can question her craft.”

They have already planned the second season and I will begin work soon. I am also doing a Telugu project tentatively called Ring with Ganesh Bellamkonda which seems very exciting.

2. What is your view about films in the OTT world of today?
OTT is tomorrow’s world. I am already a part of it. Films here can explore different genres; tell more relatable stories without that extra hype.