Tuesday, Feb 20, 2018 | Last Update : 07:17 PM IST
Even as the Sooraj Barjatya joint family culture is prevalent in Bollywood families, young stars are increasingly leaving their nests.
When Ranbir Kapoor decided to move out of the Kapoor house, his parents Neetu and Rishi Kapoor both backed his decision. In fact, Rishi even took to Twitter to express his gratitude to Gauri Khan, who designed Ranbir’s house. “You have made a home out of Ranbir’s house. Beautifully done! Both Neetu and me are overwhelmed (sic),” he said, thanking the interior designer. Bollywood draws from a long tradition of loving your parents, both on screen and off it. And many star kids are known to live with their parents, long after they’ve become names to reckon with in the industry. Take for instance Abhishek Bachchan. The Dhoom actor continues to live with parents Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan in a joint family with wife Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and daughter Aaradhya Bachchan.
A-lister Salman Khan too lives with his whole family, who occupy a whole floor in the famous Galaxy Apartments situated in the posh Mumbai suburb of Bandra. Salman may command a lot of moolah for his act on screen, but off of it, he shares his house with his parents Salim Khan, Salma Khan, stepmother Helen, brothers Arbaaz Khan and Sohail Khan, as well as their families. However, even as these old star families still choose to live together through generations, the newer crop of star kids have wished to spread their wings, and fly away from their nests.
More often than not, it’s because they wish to experience life for themselves. That was one of the main reasons that prompted Dear Zindagi actress Alia Bhatt to move out of her parents’ house. “I believe it is important that everyone know how to live alone, live independently,” she says. As someone who likes to have her own space, the actress now lives with her sister Shaheen Bhatt in their own home in Mumbai.
This isn’t something relevant to only B-Town celebrities. Akshara Haasan, daughter of Tamil industry star Kamal Haasan also lives by herself in Bandra. However, even as living separately might come easy for some star kids, Akshara admits that the opportunity comes with its own set of challenges. “Actually, not many people know that I live on my own. To be fair, it hasn’t been that long,” she says, adding that she only made the move a few months ago, in August. Telling us more about her share of the challenges, Akshara says that it was quite tough in the beginning. “When I first moved out, I was pretty lost. To the extent that I actually froze,” she recalls. However, this doubt was short-lived. “Within a week’s time, I got used to it,” she shrugs. Since the actress likes being on her own, it isn’t so bad, she says.
With more and more stars claiming that the act is fulfilling, and shouldering one’s responsibilities by oneself is imperative, others are more traditional in their beliefs. Sooraj Pancholi, the actor who was constantly involved in controversies way before his film career even kicked off, has lived away from his parents for 12 years. But now, he wants to change that. “For me, true independence is all about taking care of my parents and repaying them for everything that they have done for me all these years,” he says. After spending all that time living away from his parents, his home, the actor now wants to move closer to his parents Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab, and sister Sana Pancholi. “I want to spend more time with them now,” he admits. The actor now lives in a separate flat, which is closer to his parent’s place, with it being in the same building.
However, there are a handful of newer stars who simply do not entertain the idea of moving out of their parents’ roofs. Sonakshi Sinha lives with her entire family — parents Shatrughan and Poonam Sinha, along with brothers Luv and Kush Sinha. “I love living with my parents — it’s really comfortable,” she says. “So very comfortable that the thought hasn’t even crossed my mind. You could say that I have dependence issues, but I actually can’t imagine living without them.” While this sheds light on the two preferences star kids have when it comes to living once their careers have kicked off, it does bring up the point that independency really is a subjective cause. Sonakshi explains, “Just because I am a star kid still living with her parents, it doesn’t mean that I am not independent, right? I am a working professional, I earn my own money and I pay my own bills. And that, for me, is independent enough,” she retorts.
But for those who choose to take the big decision of stepping out, comfort and luxury are two corners they aren’t willing to cut. They command big bucks on the box office, and then get the swankiest celebrity designers on board to make sure their abodes aren’t lacking of anything. Quite like how Ranbir entrusted Shah Rukh Khan’s wife Gauri with this responsibility, interior designer Richa Bahl pored over her plans for Alia and Shaheen’s house. “The idea was to design Alia’s house like a home, and not a hotel room,” she reveals to us over the phone call in the midst of a busy day. “And the inspiration for the designs came from multiple sources.”
On further prodding, Richa gives a low down of her work at the Kapoor and Sons star’s home. “When you walk into the house, you won’t feel like you’re in Mumbai. The space has the vibe of an apartment in some place like a New York or a Paris,” she says. The interior designer adds that they sourced antique items from multiple places. From high-end antiques to home designing items from local spaces, everything was handpicked. “The end product was a rustic space that Alia and Shaheen would find comfortable,” she smiles.
Now, while one might think that the stars would have everyone at their beck and call, it comes to a surprise to many that most of them prefer to work around it by themselves — almost therapeutically. Like Akshara, who makes no bones about the fact that she manages her work herself. She explains, “I clean my own house, I cook for myself and do my own house chores.” It wouldn’t, however, be wrong to say that these young actors have managed to successfully live by themselves, because their decision is backed by extremely understanding parents.
Alia’s mother Soni Razdan, for instance, took the news of her daughters moving out really well. “I think it really is a subjective decision — if you want to live with your family under one roof, or if you want to live separately with a roommate or friends. Nowadays, young people are experimenting — they live with their friends for a year and then see where it will take them from there,” she says. Fully supporting her daughters’ decision to move out, Soni explains that as long as everything is under control, it doesn’t matter. “And support, why not? As long as you are not harming yourself, or your family, and there is no trouble, they will have all the support they need,” she says, beaming with pride.
The support even comes as an understanding, and a subtle nod towards the fact that living alone largely is about giving these young yet powerful actors, their breathing space. Zarina Wahab, Sooraj’s mother, understands this, even as her son has moved closer home. “After a certain age, children just want their space. And, as parents, we need to give them that because that really is what pushes them to grow and learn,” she explains. Soni nods in agreement with Zarina. “We need to support them with their experiments. Maybe, in some time, they will get bored of coming back home to an empty house and will want to come back to live with us. Who knows! But that needs to be their decision,” she smiles.