'Life's working out finally' Sushmita Sen
At her beachhouse apartment, she's catching up on the TV news while her daughter sleeps on her lap. Sushmita Sen's home is totally refurbished since she needs space for Renee. She talks about her birthday bash. "I can't believe I'm 26," she booms...
which entices my first question:
Is that why you want to settle down? Seems you're all set to marry Sanjay Narang in June 2002.
Initially, I'd heard that I was getting married on Valentine's Day next year, now it's June. I like the way everyone's so keen on my marriage. Believe me, the day I decide to settle down I'll announce it to the world... after all, I'll be getting married for the first and the last time. I've never hidden my relationships, so why would I hide my marriage? I'm not one of those girls who believe in having a clandestine relationship or marriage. Anyway, right now I don't even know whether I'll get married or not. I may just remain single all my life. Frankly, I'll think of settling down the day I've kept a substancial amount of money aside in Renee's name.
The buzz is you're quitting showbiz.
I've heard this one too. I've three films on the verge of release. I'm already committed to doing Farah Khan's film with Shah Rukh Khan and Vishal Bhardwaj's Barf. I know I don't have too many films on hand... but it's always been that way. I've never taken on more than two to three films at a time. There's more to life than the movies. I haven't said this before but the reason I pursued a film career was because of a broken relationship. My man didn't want me to be an actress even after telling me to go ahead. He went back on his words but I couldn't go back on mine and... the relationship had to end. I'm a professional. I would never leave my man for a career... similarly, I would never leave my career for a man. Yes, I don't want to be an actress all my life. I want to move on. I want to start my clothesline. I want to spend more time with my daughter, I owe that much to her. At the age of 26, I'm very clear about what I want out of life.
I don't have a frivolous life anymore but I do have a life. I've matured. I feel I was 18 years old just yesterday... but it was such a long time ago. My destiny number's seven. So actually my birth has been last year.
Years ago, an astrologer had predicted death by accident for you at the age of 25. Do you still believe in such predictions?
No, not 25 but 35. A lot of people have told me I'll die young which is strange because I already feel I've lived a lifetime. Honestly, I don't believe in all these predictions and soothsayers because if they were so correct then they would all be millionaires by now. Sometimes I do hear them out just for my own amusement.
What's the most memorable experience of your life so far?
Definitely my daughter Renee. Right from the first time I saw her to the day I adopted her legally... and the first time she called me mama... I've cherished every moment. She has made my life complete.
Don't you think Renee will be insecure when you have your own kids?
Renee's a very happy child. There could be a real traumatic thing happening... and she'll be like, "So what?" She has a positive attitude. I know when I tell her that she's an adopted child, she won't be affected. She's possessive about me but to a point. I also know I could leave my babies in Renee's care. She'll never be insecure because she's a special child. She's come from my heart if not my womb. She's a perfect baby. She doesn't have my flaws yet she's so much like me. Strangely, she even looks a lot like me.
Have you inspired other women to become single mothers?
A lot of women write to me, telling me they want to adopt a baby too. I wish they'd do it because having a baby's the most beautiful gift. I always wanted to adopt a baby but I wasn't ready financially. I know because of who I am, everyone's like Sushmita's so great she's adopted a child. But if an unknown girl would do a similar thing, she'd be looked down upon. Believe me, I'd have adopted a baby even if I wasn't Sushmita Sen. I'd some insecurites before adopting Renee but they all seem so insignificant now.
How's Sanjay Narang with Renee?
They share an amazing friendship. She'll spend an entire day with me but the moment Sanjay comes over, she's with him totally. And I'll say this loud and clear Sanjay will always be a part of our lives, irrespective of the fact whether we get married or not. Earlier when a relationshp would be over, I would face the music alone. Today I've to be careful about the guy I'm involved with because of Renee. I don't want her to be tossed into unwanted situations. It took me nearly two years to become a mother. So I cannot expect Sanjay to become a father overnight. I've to see him as a father... only then can I think of getting married. I haven't allowed their relationship to develop into that of a father- daughter. If things go wrong later, it wouldn't be fair to Renee.
How's it going with Sanjay?
He's a total workaholic. In the initial stages of our relationship, he did take a few days off but now I don't get any special privileges. (Laughs) Right from the beginning there's been a verbal commitment between us. He respects me. Now I know respect is more important than love. Hopefully things will work out for us.
M.F.Husain dropped you from his project Do Kadam Aur Sahi because he wasn't sure whether you were truly committed to it. True?
Husain saab called me one day, asking me about an interview which had quoted me to the effect that all the actresses he works with get married. I told him I was quoted out of context and that wasn't what I'd meant. I explained to him that I wasn't planning to get married for the next two years at least. I can't get anyone to believe what I'm saying with a gun aimed at his head. If Husain saab chose not to believe me, it's okay. I was looking forward to working with him ...
What else are you looking forward to now?
I'm very excited about Filhaal. I can proudly say that I've arrived as an actress. After the trial show, I wept because I knew I'd done a good job. The film has shaped up exactly the way it was written. Both Meghna and Tabu were great. I've been a brat because from day one, I've been claiming I'll win the National Award for Filhaal. Even if I don't win any award it's okay... because I've won my award which is appreciation for my work in my own eyes.
You seem so indifferent in Kyo Kii Mein Jhuth Nahin Bolta. Why?
Not true! I was told I had to be the serious one in the film because Govinda was doing the comedy and this kind of combination would bring in the laughs. I haven't sleep walked though the film. It was the role of a bimbette with my favourite director David Dhawan and I did it with full honesty. I guess it was difficult for the audience to accept me in such a role.
Are you in touch with any of your former boyfriends?
See, none of my relationships ended on a bitter note. I've learnt from each one of them and those experiences have made me the Sushmita I am today. I bumped into Vikram Bhatt at a trial show and I cracked up. He has put on weight and has become dark too. He told me that I was finding faults with him because I wasn't seeing him with rose tinted glasses anymore. The truth is I don't hold any grudges. Life's beautiful for me, it has shaped up just the way I wanted it too.
Is Sanjay Narang a romantic sort of guy?
Absolutely! He's done many romantic things for me. One night, he picked me up from my shooting and we came home. After a while he said he was feeling claustrophobic and wanted to go up to the terrace. We went and I noticed a red carpet from the steps to the entrance, he'd done up the whole terrace in white and the whole thing looked as if it was set on the beach. It looked so beautiful... at the corner of the terrace, three of his men were cooking and in the centre there was a table with a champagne bottle. We sat drinking, looking at the waves, it was awesome. At the end, he said, "I can't take you to the French Riviera, so I got you here."
Have you been as romantic with him?
No, because he's so busy all the time. My idea of a perfect romance is that at the age of 65, Sanjay and I will be sitting on our rocking chair holding hands. Ooh.
What do you fear most?
Earlier, I was reckless. I would drive rashly, I wasn't scared of a thing. After Renee has come into my life, I fear for her all the while. I don't want anything to go wrong for her ever.
Finally, are you happy?
Yes, that's why I'm ecstatic. For me life's working out finally. I couldn't possibly ask for more.