Chit Chat

I get devastated at the idea of marriage: Shruti Haasan

Shruti Haasan, 27 is a fiercely sensitive and independent person who is selective about the people she likes. She is deeply emotional, but hides it. She is a trained Hindustani classical singer who sung her first Ilaiyaraaja song at the age of six. While she considers her father’s acting more comprehensive, she has taken after her mother’s spontaneity as an actor. Ahead of her upcoming release ‘Ramaiya Vastavaiya’, she talks to TOI about her normal childhood, why her parents’ separation did not bother her as much and how she considers herself a dark horse whose time is yet to come. Excerpts:

You had star parents (Kamal Haasan and Sarika). What was your childhood like?
I was born and brought up in Chennai. My dad is an Iyengar and my mom a half-Maharastrian and half-Rajput. The Iyers have the better looking boys and the Iyengars the prettier girls. When I was five, I had the privilege of seeing my parents getting married. Though we were already a family, my parents wanted two children and my mom wanted to get married only when they had the second child. So as soon as my sister Akshara was born, they got married in a beautiful ceremony at home. My mum tells me I was upset that day as I was not getting any attention. I went to a utopian montessori school not based on money. My mum wanted us to have our own identity and we went to school in a bus and learnt through tactile practical application. I was not good at studies but my school encouraged us to do what we were good at. Each of us, who graduated from the school, developed unique personalities — a little cracked but it became what each of us were good at. My mother stopped working when I was born but she worked on costumes for my father’s films and was thus always on the set. So I have memories of doing my homework next to the generator van on the set and hanging out in papa’s makeup van after school. I had normal, non-filmy friends and did not even know children of other actors. We lived in our own bubble.

Did the separation of your parents trouble you?
Firstly, they are only separated but still married. From a young age I have learnt to accept people for what they are and I have always looked at my parents as individuals and tried to look at life from the other person’s point of view as I expect other people to do that to me. I didn’t care if they were together or not but just wanted them to be happy. What tends to happen is when you are growing up and you have famous parents, it’s all about them. Then whey they have problems it’s again all about them. So you feel, ‘Who the hell am I?’ While they did not do it on purpose, it forged me to build my own personality. I took to music that became my life and my outlet.

Did your father support you financially?
My mother moved to an apartment in Chennai with Akshara and me when I was 15. Since then, she has been financially independent. We grew up in this mansion with a swimming pool, but we were attached to the home and not to the house. I remember while we were living together, my dad asked us if it was ok to mortgage our house for a movie he was producing and we said yes because for us being together was more important than living in that house. When we moved out even though we could not splurge on cars or expensive clothes and knew that we had to cut corners, we were comfortable. I have been financially independent from my first film and proud of what I have earned, be it my house or car. My mom is a great cook and I have to buy her a big house with a giant kitchen.

What was the lowest period in your life?
When my heart was broken and there is only one person in the world who has done that. I realised it was not meant to be and really loved the person. If a movie does not do well you can do another one, if a song is not good, you can change the chorus but when you choose somebody, you are at the mercy of that person’s love.

Let’s talk about your mother?
She is one of the most determined women I know. She decided to act after 20 years and won a National Award. Now that I am acting, she is more a friend to me and my relationship is stronger with her as there is so much I can share with her and relate to. She is particular about certain things, so the tameez thing is big in our house. So we will call our parents mammaji and bappuji and touch their feet before we do something important. We called him Bappuji as he really likes Mahatma Gandhi. My mom is a simple person who will still take a rick many a times and will prefer a Linking Road handbag to an expensive branded one. She is extremely sensitive to how her kids are feeling.

What about your relationship with your dad?
He is my greatest inspiration as an artiste and is a person who knows something about everything. He is extremely hardworking even at the age of 60. He starts at 5.30 am, does not party at all and all he does is cinema. He looks all serious and intense, but is a really funny person.

You seem to be fiercely independent.
I am extremely independent right from when I was a kid and would not let my mother help me in my homework. I will always solve my problems myself. While I love my family, I need my space and I’m one of those people who likes to wake up and sleep alone. Which is why I am devastated at the idea of marriage.

Do you see yourself getting married?
Yes, but I don’t know when. The person I get married to has to be kind which is difficult — you find the ones who smell well, talk well, look nice and the ones who win their awards but at the end of the day it boils down to someone who can make you laugh and is kind. But he also needs to be having that fighting spirit in life. He could be a doctor or anything else, but needs to be talented at whatever he does.

Were you dating Dhanush?
He is my artistic best friend and I am not going to go around justifying that to people. For me, he is one of the most wonderful actors to work with and my film 3 with him was the turning point in my career. He is brilliant be it in acting, writing or in music so for me it was like finding a friend in the industry who was on the same wavelength. I can proudly say that he is a friend of mine and I would like to work with him in the future.

Are you religious?
My dad’s an atheist and we never had a puja room in our house while growing up, but I would sneak out to visit the church and the temple even then. I get a lot of my answers through my faith in God and always feel that there is some power looking after me.

Any learnings from the industry?
Neverbitch someone out unless you can do it on the person’s face. Also, don’t bother about what others are signing, or earning or whatever else. I just have this faith in the universe and believe that I have a time and am a dark horse in a long race. Vidya Balan and Irrfan are examples of that. Apart from the fact that she is a Tamilian, she is a rockstar who has found her own way and is so good at what she does and is also content. I have also learnt to not care about opinions of others as I know that they are not going to act for you and they will not pay your bills.


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