EXCLUSIVE: 'Mom has two dimples, I have just one', Sikander Kher pours his heart out on Kirron Kher's birthday
On Kirron Kher’s 70th birthday, son Sikandar Kher is all affectionate and full of admiration for his mother.
Tresses rippling down, eyes sumptuous with kohl, sarees handpicked as her jewellery, signed off by the classic dimples… Kirron Kher cuts a mural-like frame. So much so that she once left Hollywood biggie, Oliver Stone, stunned at a party compelling him to compliment her as the ‘most interesting face’ he’d come across in India.
Behind the well-groomed persona, however, lies a woman of grit. Someone, who was willing to foot the cost of her choices. Walking out of a marriage in the ’80s, was not a humdrum occurrence those days. Bringing up son Sikandar singlehandedly putting her own dreams on pause. Making a late entry in films and yet sweeping awards and acclaim for Sardari Begum, Darmiyaan: In Between, Bariwali, and Khamosh Pani. Matching this glory with mainstream relevance in films including Devdas, Main Hoon Na, Veer Zaara, Rang De Basanti, Fanaa, Dostana, Om Shanti Om. To this add her television outings, her tryst with politics, and her recent combat with malignancy, and it’s been a chequered trail for Kirron. “I’m an ordinary woman, who has lived an extraordinary life. I have reached here through a winding path,” she once said. The summation couldn’t have been more precise.
On her 70th birthday, son Sikandar Kher reveals why hers has indeed been a life extraordinaire…
In Sikandar Kher’s own words:
What I have always associated with Mom is her generous affection and warmth. I remember her abundant hugs and kisses throughout my childhood. I guess that’s made me an affectionate person too. One memory I cherish is of her feeding me with her own hands when I was around six or seven. Those would be the tastiest morsels. I was brought up by Mom mostly. Dad (Anupam Kher) was always shooting. She’d take me along wherever she went, even if she was stepping out for dinner. I was a complete mama’s boy. Earlier, I even carried her picture in my wallet.
Mom was not a disciplinarian as such but sometimes my mischievousness would annoy her. Bahut badmashiyaan karta tha! I used to get whacked for that. I’d keep hurting myself. Once I fell and broke my head. When she came home, she was shocked to see my state. A compounder was trying to put a bandage around my head. Her heart sank watching the blood. Being Sunday, the clinics were shut. She called up Dad, who was shooting and asked him to come immediately as I needed to be stitched up.
Mom had come to Bombay to become an actor. But she gave up on that dream so that she could look after me, missing out on her prime years. She didn’t take up any work assignments during my growing years. The way she has sacrificed her dreams for me, I wonder if I could have done the same. That extent of selflessness is rare.
Eventually, she did enter films and left a mark. She poured life into her characters and won acclaim. I’ve seen her work hard as an actor. Punctuality and perseverance are her strengths. Off screen, her sense of aesthetics and style has always been written about. "Badi shaukeen hai! She always enjoyed dressing up and looking pretty. As a kid, she used to watch her mother (late Diljit Thakar Singh) do that. Mom’s admired for her hair, her dimples. (Smiles). Incidentally, while she has two dimples, I have just one."
Mom has an exotic collection of sarees and jewellery. Over the years she has travelled so much, she’s picked them up from different places. She looks best in a saree. She does it like nobody else. Now, she wants to give all her sarees to her ‘daughter-in-law’. For that she wants me to get married. Main bhi bol bol kar thak gaya ke Maa main pehen loonga! Above all, she wants a granddaughter.
Jokes aside, where marriage is concerned, there has to be unconditional love. You live together, you share the same space, you see the worst in each other – whether its anger or irritation. Finding love in each other unconditionally is a tough task. I can’t marry just for the sake of it or for having children. It will be a great disservice to that person and me. Loneliness is a scary feeling though. But I am a positive person and I hope for the best.
Where my career is concerned, Mom and Dad have always supported me in whatever I chose to do. I didn’t have to worry about khaana kahan se aayega, rent kaise bharoonga. Meri zindagi ek raja jaisi hai. I am eternally grateful to my parents. They are like Bhagwan to me. Had it not been for them, my life would have been different.
My parents have been in the business themselves. That’s a huge plus point. They have experienced highs and lows. They have seen others go through highs and lows. I have seen people undergo that too just as I have been through the same. The industry indeed is a tough place. But my parents have a practical attitude toward the uncertainties. Their stance is, ‘This is the line you have chosen. It’s not always going to be great. Tomorrow will be a new day. So just carry on doing work. Like bad times, good times also don’t last’. When you keep hearing these things, it strengthens you. Or else it can take a mental and emotional toll on you.
When I feel low, I usually don’t share it with Mom. It would make her feel worse. So I avoid doing that. But during certain situations, when I have shared things with her, she has listened patiently. At the end of the day, all you need is a sympathetic ear.
The atmosphere at home, thanks to my parents, has always been liberal. My first girlfriend would drop in. We’d hang out at home. There was no need for me to hide anything. I have an outlook that doesn’t view men and women differently. My attitude towards women is influenced by the fact that I was reared by a strong woman.
Mom’s love for life is remarkable. Her love for life, for people, for cinema, for her clothes is amazing. She’s so passionate about everything. She has her own mind and speaks it with passion. She had the support of my Nanaji (late Colonel Thakar Singh), which gave her a lot of strength to make her decisions. She went against the norms – she got a divorce in the 80s (Kirron was earlier married to businessman Gautam Berry). Those days people feared social censure. She brought me up almost single-handedly. She went on to become a successful actor. She has constantly battled odds and come out trumps. I wish that strength and passion for every woman. Thank you for everything Mom. I am the luckiest person. You gave me a life even after you gave me life.