I wasn’t there so much for Saif Ali Khan as I was for Soha and Saba: Sharmila Tagore

Sharmila Tagore is candid and forthright while expressing her thoughts. The actress does very few films now and is happy to spend her time surrounded by family and friends. She shuttles between Delhi and her ancestral home in Pataudi. While son Saif recently became dad for the third time, her daughter Soha is now expecting her first baby. Here the actress talks about being a nani for the first time and the advice she has for her beti.

You became a daadi last year and will become a nani this year. How is it going to be different?

I don’t think there’s any difference as such in the family, but yes, it is a bit, as it’s my daughter now, who is giving birth. Kareena’s mum was more anxious when she was expecting as I am today when Soha is. It’s the mother-daughter bond. I think it’s quite a big decision for women to have children. In our time, I don’t think we thought so much about it. We just went and had them and of course, life is not fun-filled and not complete if you don’t have them. It’s a wonderful thing when you think about it. I felt so much closer to my mother after I had babies. It bonds a mother and daughter more.

Do you give Soha any advice on motherhood?

Of course I do, as all mothers would. Like my mother used to do when I was carrying Saif. I remember when Saif was a baby, the pediatrician had recommended that we give him orange juice to drink, but my mother said he was too​ small to be able to digest it and that I should dilute it with some water. I didn’t listen and Saif had a tummy-ache. I guess mothers do sometimes know best and it’s also the experience that counts. Yes, Soha does call me to ask for advice on what to do and I do advise her, but I also tell her to follow it up only after checking with the physician.

What stops you from moving back to Mumbai, where all of your kids live now?

Now that Soha is expecting, I will be coming to Mumbai more often. I like to come here, but I have my own life in Pataudi and Delhi. My responsibilities include looking after Pataudi. The palace needs maintenance and so, I need to be there for it. And I love meeting my friends whenever I can. But yes, I would love to come to Mumbai more often. Taimur is also growing up and I would like to spend more time with him too.

Soha is now expecting her first baby, do you recall the time you were expecting Saif?

I wasn’t there as much for Saif as I was for Soha and Saba as I wasn’t working so much then. I was very busy during Saif’s time and when he was growing up. I was doing double shifts, but I did have the support of my husband and also my neighbour Sunita Goswami, who also happened to be teaching at Saif’s Bohri-run school Saifee Mahal, which was a wonderful school run by Mrs Noorani. She was Saif’s second mother and she and her husband Jatin looked after him a lot. I was there for all his milestones, but I really wasn’t there for his day-to-day work.

And for Saba and Soha?

When the girls were born, I was less busy.

Between Saif, Saba and Soha, who shares your personality traits the most?

I think Saif does, Soha is more like her dad Tiger and Saba is a mixture of both of us. Saif and I are little bit more impulsive and less practical. He likes his freedom. As a child, he was more mischievous, Soha was more studious and practical, while Saba is the most creative one.

In your time, was Mother’s Day as big an occasion as it is today?

In my time, Mother’s Day wasn’t celebrated the way it is now. In fact, there used to be no Mother’s Day for a long time. After I became a mother, we’d have the traditional celebrations, where the mother or parents had to be honoured, though we didn’t have an English name for it. It was a part of every ritual that you had to follow with your family.


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