Of mothers and daughters

Karan finds out who the attention seeker is in the Bachchan family while Hema Malini confesses that for the past two years she's been on the lookout for a boy for daughter Esha...

Jaya on the Bachchans

Karan: You have come a full circle as a mother. You've been through Amit Uncle's health issues, his bout as a politician, his turbulence within the fraternity. You've been a strong support system to him. And then you went on to give the same support to your son when he went through the initial phase when he wasn't doing so well as one expected him to. How was that phase as a mother?

Jaya: It was tough. It was very tough because I felt that it is important for him to go through that struggle and learn the process himself. I was tempted many times to do things for him or tell him things like 'don't do this' or 'don't do that' but...

Karan: Well you were a tremendous support to your husband and now he's found someone special!

Jaya: Yeah! She's lovely! I love her!

Karan: You do?

Jaya: You know it Karan! I've always loved her!

Karan: Yes I know that! And would you say that she is the perfect choice for the family?

Jaya: I think it's wonderful that she's such a big star herself but when we're all together I've never seen her push herself and I like that quality. I like it that she stands behind, she's quiet, she listens and she's taking it all in! And another beautiful thing is that she's fitted in so well.

Karan: Into the family?

Jaya: Not only into the family. She knows this is family these are good friends and this is how one is supposed to be.

Karan: So you would say she is the ideal Mrs. Abhishek Bachchan?

Jaya: I think so!

Karan: Well that's wonderful because when I see you around her I get that. I get that you are completely thrilled.

Jaya: Yeah!

Karan: Does that ever bother you that she's coming with the baggage of being such a big star herself?

Jaya: Not at all.

Karan: And sometimes you know it can be difficult.

Jaya: I think she's a strong lady! She has a lot of dignity!

Karan: And that's what a Mrs. Bachchan actually needs — strength and dignity!

Jaya: I'm hoping maybe! Amitji the minute he sees her... it's like Shweta coming home!

Karan: Really?

Jaya: His eyes light up! And I think she will fill the vacuum that Shweta left. I don't think we've ever been able to adjust that Shweta's not in the family. She's out. She's not a Bachchan. It's tough but...

Chat with Hema Malini

Karan: How is Hemaji in Parliament?

Jaya: It's wonderful because we sit very far from each other and everyday I sort of look Hemaji aaj aaye hai ki nahi and the day I see her I feel good in Parliament.

Karan: Hemaji are you a head-turner in parliament as well? Too good looking for parliament?

Hema: I don't think so!

Jaya: Absolutely! She is!

Karan: You've enjoyed your dancing immensely as well as your role as a politician.

Hema: I enjoy my dancing and I give enough time to both.

Karan: But did you feel when you did Baghbaan that you will be flooded with exciting offers because Baghbaan was fantastic and you looked fantastic. Did you feel let down that you didn't get meaty roles?

Hema: Yes! I did. I don't know why they don't make films for us. I think I should tell you now to make a film for us.

Karan: I think in Hollywood still there are roles offered to women of a certain age.

Jaya: Not really.

Hema: I heard even Meryl Streep was complaining recently. If she can I don't know what will happen here.

Jaya: I do accept the fact that we're much older so obviously older people don't have much to do in their lives. I think we're doing a lot more than our children really. But even if it's a small role it must have something. There should be some character. I don't mind a small role but it has to contribute.

Karan: Did you feel Hemaji when you entered politics that you really wanted to make a difference? Is that why you ventured into politics?

Hema: No. I just by chance entered and I like it. I'm enjoying it.

Karan: So both of you — besides being members of parliament — have one big thing in common and that is 'Sholay' and that's something, which is so topical that it's wonderful to talk about at any point of time actually. What was your experience on the sets of Sholay?

Jaya: We hardly met! We didn't have any scenes together and Hemaji was reserved, period.

Karan: What's also strange is the husband-wife combinations were the main leads.

Jaya: I should have played Basanti! Because I loved Dharmendra. When I saw him for the first time and I was introduced to him, there was a sofa like this. I went and hid behind it.

Karan: Why?

Jaya: I was so nervous! I didn't know what to do. There was this fantastic looking man. I still remember what he was wearing — white trousers and a white shirt and he looked like a Greek God!

Karan: That is what everyone says. Hemaji said the same thing when she first laid eyes on him!

Jaya: Poor you! You are stuck because of that! (Laughs)

Hema: Yeah! I am stuck because of that! (Laughs) I saw him at a premiere and I was just shocked.

Karan: He had that impact on women!

Hema: Ofcourse he has!

Karan: And he still does!

Hema: Yes! He has still...

Karan: Today Indian cinema is Sholay. How does it feel?

Hema: We are proud to be a part of that film.

Karan: How does it feel now that it's being remade? How do you feel being an actor of the original Sholay?

Jaya: Why are you asking me this question? I'm already in trouble with Ram Gopal Verma and Amitabh Bachchan.

Karan: Why? You went and said something to them you shouldn't have?

Jaya: Well, I was coming out of the parliament and the Press asked me and I said, 'No, it should not be made.'

Hema: I also said the same thing. It can be seen again and again, not made again and again. But I'm sure he must be making it in a little different style.

Jaya: He should call it Ram Gopal Verma ka Sholay!

Karan: That's what he's doing, isn't he?

Jaya: I hope so!

Karan: His own adaptation or his own perception of the film. But you'll see another Basanti and you'll see another Radha and I wonder how that would feel?

Hema: I think these two characters should not be there in the film. Make somebody else!

Jaya: Or change the names. Who are playing these two roles?

Karan: I think Sushmita Sen is playing Radha and Nisha Kothari is playing Basanti. Will you go and see the new Sholay?

Hema: Of course I would love to see it.

Jaya: I will "have to" see it! (Laughs)

Karan: You don't have any choice there do you?

Jaya: No!

Karan: When you heard the wonderful news of Abhishek being with Aishwarya how did you feel that?

Hema: Great! I feel so happy for him.

Jaya: You know I feel so terrible you're asking her this because just about last week Hemaji said, "So when is your son getting married?" and I said, "Hemaji I really don't know!" and then when this whole thing happened she was the first person I thought of that "Oh my God, Hema is going to think Jaya has lied to me!"

Karan: But some things are private.

Jaya: No No! but none of us knew what's going to happen. I mean this guy suddenly calls you and says, 'I'm getting into the flight and I have done it!"

Karan: You've had a good equation with Abhishek yourself, haven't you? He's always been very respectful.

Hema: Yes. Very respectful, very playful, very lovely person.

Karan: You feel bad for Esha sometimes because she is constantly being pressurised that she's Dharmendra and Hema Malini's daughter?

Hema: I do. But she has to come out of it. A lot of struggle is there for these kids.

Karan: What about your other daughter Ahaana? Does she have any aspirations to be an actor?

Hema: She keeps saying 'No' at the moment, tomorrow we don't know what will happen. She keeps getting these offers and I tell her if you want to you can do what you want. Tomorrow she should not say 'You never told me!" I always tell her, opportunities are there. If you want to, you can pick it up. But she wants to be behind the camera. She wants to direct.

Jaya: She's very shy.

Karan: She's not like Esha and you?

Jaya: Esha was always confident. I remember even as a child.

Mother-daughter relationship

Karan: Esha, you've had a great equation with Jayaji.

Esha: My first film. Whatever I've learnt about acting, all my expressions, everything.

Jaya: You better be good after saying this on camera.

Karan: And you didn't learn anything from your beautiful mother?

Esha: Of course! Mother is there in the blood!

Karan: Shweta, you are the only Bachchan who hasn't faced the camera. Do you ever feel now that your brother has emerged as a big star in the last 5-6 years. Do you ever feel that I have this big father star, big brother star, your mom's a star. Do you feel less important?

Shweta: Not at all! I was just telling Esha, I don't know how you guys do this everyday — the makeup, the clothes. I'm so happy where I am. I mean I really respect what they do but I'm very happy being very normal.

Karan: You never miss the glamour and the glitter?

Shweta: Actually it's very easy for me because I get all the perks but none of the responsibilities.

Karan: Really?

Shweta: Yeah! I can live the most semi-normal life unlike all of them and then I enjoy the fun things like coming on your show!

Karan: Esha what about you? Is it difficult being your mother's daughter? Was it tough initially?

Esha: Initially not that much. After a couple of films were out it was tough!

Jaya: I have to tell you what she did. On the first day she came on the set she was looking fabulous. And everyone told her, "Wow, you look just like your mom!" and she was like "Stop it! I don't want to hear that!"

Karan: You must be fed up of hearing that constantly that you look like your mother?

Esha: But she's a good-looking mom!

Karan: Tell me something, do you'll fight? Like all mothers and daughters do?

Esha: Yeah!

Hema: Those things should be there in life. You fight, then everything is patched up.

Karan: What do you fight about?

Hema: Small small things. Like she'll want to go somewhere and I'll tell her not to go and I'll want her to come with me and she'll say she doesn't want to.

Esha: Most of the fights are when mom wants to attend a wedding and I'm her only arm candy and she wants me to dress up and come and I refuse to do that.

Hema: But I have to attend!

Karan: And what do you guys fight about? I'm sure you do, I know you do.

Shweta: Everything I think!

Jaya: We don't fight. We get angry.

Shweta: We fight Ma! Don't sugar coat it! We really fight!

Jaya: Then we bang phones!

Shweta: You bang the phone!If I bang the phone, Mama will call me and say, 'You are much younger than me, how can you bang the phone on me!'... and then she bangs the phone!

Karan: Oh basically she wants to dominate that! The banging the phone business. The men of what I understand are the quieter members of the family...

Jaya: Not at all!

Shweta: Yeah mom they are! Come on!

Jaya: They're quiet? Abhishek is quiet? Abhishek talks non-stop. He has an opinion about everything. There's no way.

Shweta: Abhishek is so smooth. He butters up everyone just the right way! I'm the one who gets into trouble because I have an opinion about everything. When Abhishek's with Mama he's like, "Yeah, you are right, mom!", when he's with Dad he's like, "You're right Dad!" He is not a fence sitter. He jumps whenever convenient.

Karan: Are you close to mom? Do you tell her about your relationships, about boyfriends? Are you'll like buddies?

Esha: Completely.

Jaya: Liar!

Esha: What liar?

Karan: So you know everything that's happening?

Hema: Both the girls. Whatever's happening, they tell me.

Karan: Do you get shocked sometimes when they come and tell you details?

Esha: We don't get into that many details!

Hema: I told them from the beginning — whatever's happening, come and tell me. I don't want to hear it from out you know.

Karan: And read in the magazines. Sometimes do you hide articles? Like sometimes people write all kinds of rubbish.

Esha: No. But right now, no one is writing any kind of rubbish about me also. It's so boring!

Karan: And you get constant marriage advice? How to handle your home, relationships with your husband, kids?

Shweta: No. I get panic attacks when mom comes to Delhi because I feel that she has x-ray vision and she's going to spot dust and dirt and something that's not done properly. And something that the normal human eye will not spot. So it really panics me mom when you come.

Where men are the attention seekers

Karan: But you yourself are so particular Shweta. I know that both of you'll have this hygiene fixation.

Shweta: Yeah! But her's is on another level.

Karan: Do you think that the men take prominence in the house?

Shweta: Yes! They're attention seekers!

Jaya: The biggest baby takes the most attention.

Karan: Which is your son?

Jaya: No!

Karan: Oh! Your husband!

Jaya and Shweta: Yes!

Karan: Do you think he's the biggest baby?

Jaya and Shweta: Yes!

Karan: Really, so the focus is always on him?

Shweta: Yes!

Karan: There will be Ash now who will come in and take some burden off your shoulders.

Jaya: I'm hoping that she takes a lot more than just some!

Karan: You want to give her lots more?

Shweta: Don't do that mom! It's very scary and intimidating in the beginning. Slowly ease her into it!

Karan: Ease her into the Bachchan way of life!

Shweta: Its not that hard. She'll do a very good job!

Karan: Are you petrified Esha that one day your mother will start talking marriage to you?

Esha: She's started!

Karan: Oh! The match making process has started Hemaji?

Hema: Yeah Yeah! That has started since the past one or two years. I think as a mother it is our job to see somebody come and it is up to them to decide whether now or later. I just want her to decide on somebody and make him wait!

This interview appears courtesy Star Middle East Ltd. Episode 10 of KOFFEE WITH KARAN features Jaya Bachchan, Shweta, Hema Malini and Esha. Tune in to the exciting episode tomorrow @ 9pm on Star World

More news from City Times