Birthday Special | Shruti Haasan on her career choices and why marriage is not on the cards right now – Shruti Haasan celebrates her 32nd birthday today. The actress, who was busy juggling Bollywood and the South film industry, recently took a sabbatical to analyse her life. Now, she’s back with a renewed vigour and more confidence. Over the phone from Los Angeles, she talks to us about her b’day plans and how her life has taken a different turn, post her much-needed break…
How do you plan to celebrate your birthday?
This year, I plan to keep it simple. I’m celebrating it with my friends here in LA.
What has been your fondest birthday memory?
My parents used to make some amazing gifts for me. They have always planned something special for me. There are so many memories, so it would be wrong to pick just one of them.
Which gift has been closest to your heart?
It was a keyboard that my dad gifted me on my 18th birthday. That’s closest to my heart because I started making music on it. That’s like my lucky charm.
There have been rumours about you getting married. Is it true?
No, I’m not getting married. I wish everyone else also now stops planning my wedding, on my behalf (laughs). I want to concentrate on a lot of other things right now than just getting married.
Does the constant intrusion of paparazzi and social media into your personal life bother you?
I have a very healthy association with them actually. People aren’t even concerned about last Friday’s news today. So, I’m very relaxed with it. Also, I know my way around it so it doesn’t bother me.
Sonam Kapoor recently said that male actors are not asked the question about marriage. Do you also think that there’s a sexist approach there?
I really don’t want to jump into mud-slinging that way. There are a lot of other things that need to be discussed and done, in a categorical way before we reach to the point of marriage. I’m all for equality but a woman’s marriage isn’t the first step in that. There are other areas in the industry which have a more sexist pattern. It doesn’t affect me. Does it exist? Of course it does! A man’s career is never questioned that way. Will anyone go and tell a man, ‘Oh, you’re getting married so you won’t get these parts anymore’. I do feel there is a change, but, personally, I don’t let all this affect me. That’s just my approach and I think a lot of women are like that today. We all make the best of the opportunities that we get along with what we have to do in our personal life. So, it’s not about sexism in this perspective. There’s a much larger question of hierarchies and pay cheques. Getting asked about marriage is a really small thing in the bigger picture.
But today, marriage doesn’t put an end to an actresses’ career…
That makes me very happy. Thankfully, today women do what they want to do, whether married or not.
Have you given yourself any time frame before which you want to get married?
No, I haven’t given myself a time frame. There’s no plan like that. It’s far-fetched. Right now, I want to plan my career and that’s about it.
What about your parents? Do they nag you about settling down?
My parents are not like that. They have always been very free and wonderful and I lead my life on my terms. So, they haven’t really asked me to get married.
After doing several back-to-back films, you decided to take some time out. Did you perceive it as a risk?
My whole career has been a risk. At times, you pick films that other people say ‘no’ to. Sometimes, you make choices which people around you don’t approve of. Some movies work, some don’t. But I’m not going to stop myself from doing something because I’m afraid of it. I needed the time to step aside, and reassess my life. I don’t owe anyone an explanation for it. I’m happy I took a breather and now, I’m ready to do the kind of work that I want to take up.
In what ways have your priorities or choices changed?
I was working in three different languages. At one point, I was doing seven films simultaneously. It felt like the right thing to do as I was able to multitask. Then, I realised that people around me were happy with me doing this because they were like, ‘Accha chalo, keep up with this’, as if all of us were racing cars. But I don’t want to be in any race. You get caught up with more of the outside world and don’t get time to invest for your inner self. I wanted to balance films in three different languages. Ninety nine per cent of what I have done is something I’m proud of. But there’s this one per cent where there’s a difference between what should be done, what was done and what I really wanted to do. Also, sometimes there are people’s expectations which you need to break and create a new one. For that, you need to step aside. Now, I’ve become more confident about making decisions regardless of the outcome.
What’s on the cards now?
There are a few announcements coming up soon. I’m also doing something in Hindi, which will be out shortly. It’s exciting. I’ll compose a lot of music this year, which I’ve been really wanting to do for quite sometime. It’s something I enjoy a lot and have received applause for. It’s also another side to my artistic personality, so I want to give more time to it. I want to create a balance between this and the films that I want to do.