Namrata Shirodkar Exclusive Interview: 'If given the choice again, I'd still choose my marriage over acting'
Namrata Shirodkar's exclusive interview with Pinkvilla on International Women's Day. Mahesh Babu's wife and former Miss India, talks about being an independent woman, societal pressures and more.
Namrata Shirodkar, who was crowned Miss India in 1993, is undoubtedly one of the strongest women in the industry. Former actress, a beauty pageant winner, and a humanitarian, Namrata Shirodkar dons several hats with aplomb. This International Women's Day, former actress, wife of superstar Mahesh Babu, doting mother, and passionate entrepreneur, Namrata talked to me about her life as a mommy, gender equality, and finding an independent voice in her career choices.
She reveals her parents taught her to be independent and rise above societal pressures and she makes sure to instill the same in her kids- Gautam and Sitara. All this and more, in a freewheeling conversation. Read below.
Excerpts from the interview:
Women before were expected to follow traditional norms set by society but the women of today are not hesitant to acknowledge their worth and be self-reliant emotionally, mentally as well as financially. Sharing her thoughts on the same, Namrata said, "This change is a positive step towards creating a more inclusive society, where individuals are free to explore their paths without being restricted by gender stereotypes or societal expectations. However, there is still a long way to go in terms of achieving gender equality, and it is important to continue to advocate for the rights and empowerment of women.
Namrata Shirodkar is known for her roles in Hindi films like 'Vaastav', and 'Jab pyar kisise hota hai' and two Telugu films. One of them is 'Anji,' co-starring megastar Chiranjeevi, and 'Vamsi,' starring Mahesh Babu.
Namrata now manages Mahesh Babu's work besides taking business calls, brand endorsement deals for him and looking after their kids Gautam and Sitara.
Does balancing work and motherhood get challenging at times?
Namrata replied, "It can get challenging when there are too many things that demand my attention but with time, I've learnt to prioritize my tasks and balance both aspects of my life. Mahesh has been instrumental in helping me deal with challenging situations and sharing of parental responsibilities."
Even though we have come a long way and since you are also an entrepreneur, do you think we still have miles to go before we have an equal representation of women entrepreneurs in the business world?
Sharing her thoughts on the same, Namrata Shirodkar said, "Despite the incredible progress women have made in the business world, I still believe there are significant challenges, especially when it comes to higher-level leadership positions but we're slowly getting there."
Not many know that Namrata's grandmother, Meenakshi Shirodkar was a legendary actress in Marathi cinema. During our chat, Namrata confessed that her acting career was never planned and it came organically to her. However, she always looked up to her grandmother.
"My acting career was never planned and it came to me organically post Miss Universe but I must say growing up, I always looked up to my grandmother. She was truly ahead of her time. She dared to step outside of the norm in the face of criticism, which I find extremely inspiring," said Shirodkar, who started her career as a model and was crowned Miss India in 1993.
You have always said that you come ‘from a very middle-class family and know the real world.” As the lady of the house being in total command, do you put the same effort as a mother to bring in-game grounded nature in your kids?
"My parents always believed that it is important to stay humble and grounded at all times and I try to instill the same values in my kids. I believe that the real world is ever-changing and they must learn to sustain themselves in all circumstances," replied the mother of two kids- Gautam and Sitara.
There’s societal pressure every woman experiences in her life and life decisions. You faced it too, be it for quitting acting to marrying Mahesh sir?
"My decision to quit acting was rather a personal choice and was mutually agreed upon between me and my husband. I never let anyone's opinion come into play in my decision making and if given the choice again, I'd still choose my marriage over it, the ever-shining, independent and strong-headed lady signs off.
A post-graduate in journalism and an alumna of KC College, Khushboo, a Mumbai-based writer has a keen interest in...