Her last appearance was in Sunny Deol’s Ghayal Once Again, but then, Soha Ali Khan has always been choosy about the films she does. She is neither enamoured by the glamour nor the number games. For her, acting is all about passion, and that is what keeps her going.
About her role in 31st October, a film about the anti-Sikh riots following Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination, she explains: “I am playing a Sardani and we shot in Ludhiana in one go. My family lives in Delhi. It’s not a dialogue-driven film. I was aware of the events that took place in 1984. We had family friends who suffered in 1984. There was a family friend who cut his hair. Everyone was affected by it. We moved from Bombay to Delhi then. There were many Hindus who helped them and saved Sikhs.”
Soha says that there are many avenues to keep oneself busy and that she is content with travelling with the family, taking the dogs for a walk and just chilling around. “I love my life and it’s been wonderful. If you have the opportunity to be a part of this profession, you should do it. It’s not just about the glamour, the money, the exposure, but it’s also great fun. You are well looked after. Everybody in my gym wants to be an actor. You have to try doing one film at a time. I have spent 13 years (in Bollywood). I wanted to do one film and experience it. Now things are changing and actors are working in their prime age too. Digitalisation has taken place. I could have worked with bigger directors and done bigger films, but I never did. I don’t care who thinks what about me. I am happy. I am content with life and I am not ambitious” says Soha.
“For me, success is happiness. Sleeping well at night. We want to have our own careers and money, and make our own decisions, have that independence and do our jobs well. Some things are in control and some things are out of control. In our industry, things are always out of control, so there’s no point getting stressed.”
“I was a good student always getting three As. I went to Oxford. I got a good job in Citibank. There are people who are not getting work but still working hard. Anybody in this industry who has work enters the number position, but I don’t enter the number games. I take up films because I have loved the role. My mother says quote a certain amount and then negotiate, but if I like a film I can’t bargain. I want enough money to be independent, but not have high standards. I feel insecure as a woman sometimes and about my career.”
The actress says that there are many other avenues to explore in the film industry. “I can become a producer or create content using my skills or write a book. I am open to exploring short series or television or short films. I am doing television as a host. I am doing the Great Indian Homemaker show in which I play myself.”
About husband Kunal, Soha says, “Kunal and I knew each other very well. We lived together for two years before marriage. I feel weird when I see ‘Mrs’ on my boarding pass. I have lived by my own from the age of 18. My bedroom is my space. I can share space with him but not with others. We don’t build castles in the air. We have our share of fights and disagreements. Our fights generally end with Kunal saying sorry first.”
Soha’s relationship with her sister-in-law and Saif Ali Khan’s wife, Kareena Kapoor Khan, is fun. “She is fun and she compliments bhai. She knows a lot about everyone in the industry. She has a lot of gossip. She is becoming a mother for the first time and I am very happy for her. She is looking great. I am excited for her because bhai has gone through it earlier, but it’s the first time for her.”
Soha doesn’t discuss films at home. “We don’t watch our films. My mother (former actress Sharmila Tagore) has four-five friends who recommend movies. Everyone says I am like my father. He was calm and was always the diplomat. Bhai and amma have trouble communicating, and they call me and I am the mediator. My sister talks very less and keeps away from the limelight. She is the emotional one in the family.”
When quizzed about Saif’s children Ibrahim and Sara, Soha says, “He is 15. She graduated from Columbia. There’s talk about her joining films. She has grown up and is fun and they talk about everything.”