What does romance mean to you?
I think romance is all about mutual respect and love. These are the ingredients that go into making the most solid relationships in your life. A big part of me is a die-hard romantic who loves big gestures, like celebrating birthdays or key dates and making the partner feel that I care and expressing how important he is to me and vice versa.
Being a die-hard romantic, you are single. Are you seeking love?
I have been having a long and sturdy romance with my work. It’s gone on for a while, and I don’t seem to mind it at all. It sounds cliché, but I have not had much time to focus on anything else, which is great. Also, I am a private person, and I don’t talk much about the life I lead away from the spotlight. Having said that, I do hope I am able to make some time for another kind of romance in the near future. I don’t think love is something that one can simply seek and get. It happens when it has to happen, organically, and perhaps, in the most surreal way. I believe in the energies of the universe — that things will happen at an appropriate juncture in life.
What sort of man would make a perfect companion for you?
People say opposites attract, but I feel that does not entirely ring true for me. There are qualities that I would like both of us to have in common. Compassion is one of them —compassion for nature, animals and human beings. Over the years, I have realised that I need this quality in abundance in my partner. Of course, he and I should also be able to respect one another’s ambitions, our drives in life and what and how we think.
Have you been fascinated by romance in storytelling — through books and movies?
Romance, as a genre, has always been very special to me. I don’t remember my absolute first brush with romantic content as a consumer, but the one that has stayed with me forever is the film The Notebook. I still remember what I felt when I first saw it. It’s the epitome of love for me. It impacted my mind in such a big way; I wanted that kind of deep, unadulterated love in my life. Titanic was another one where I saw the extremes that people could go to for love, and how love can run so deep within the heart. On the home turf, nothing beats Raj and Simran’s love story in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge.
How does Valentine’s Day play out for you? Do you do anything specifically to celebrate the day?
It just so happens that I end up having fun on every V-Day. Yes, it’s a day for couples, but I’ve always had all my friends over and we’ve had a blast together. I have a lovely family; they are my constant valentines, come what may. This year, I will be shooting for Badhaai Do in Rishikesh, which is full of memories for me as I have shot some of my best work here. That makes the celebration so much more exciting.
While finding love in a partner remains a basic need for most, what is also important is practising self-love. What do you think about it?
Self-love needs to be expressed every single day of the year. It’s so important for personal growth. You have to love the way you are, love the way God created you and what you are slowly blossoming into — with all your flaws and your plusses. You have to be positive about the way you’re turning out to be. It will give you affirmations in life. That is what I do. The most amount of quality time I spend in the day is when either I am getting ready in front of a mirror or when I am working out. I slip into a trance-like state which is beautiful; that’s the time when I am reflecting on myself and I gain a lot of clarity about where my life is headed. That is the source of good energy. The first relationship to work on is the one you have with yourself. Only when you are happy can you build a happy relationship with another person.
Women in different age-brackets are often socially expected to be in a certain phase of a relationship at a particular time in their life, like there are set societal markers for romance, marriage, motherhood and so on. It is slowly changing though, would you agree?
A lot of this expectation has to do with social conditioning, and that needs to stop. Today, women are making a life for themselves on their own terms, vis-a-vis the time when they were hugely dependent on men and were not empowered. If I want to be married, I won’t do it because I want to settle down, but because I have found a companion. Look for a companion who makes you happy. A partner should only play that role in your life. He should not be seen as a bank balance or a safety net. Become your own safety net. Also, I believe that now women are breaking away from societal norms and are engaging in relationships at any age in their life on their own terms. There was a time when being a single, unmarried woman had a stigma attached to it, especially after a certain age. But not today. Things are changing and they will only get better if we strive to change them for the future generations of women.
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