‘The joint family, which was an integral part of our Indian culture, is slowly disintegrating as we follow the West, but I’m all for it.’
Photograph: Kind courtesy Juhi Chawla/Instagram
Juhi Chawla is one of the few actresses, who successfully keeps her marriage off the gossip columns.
How hard is it to make it work after so many years?
The actress, seen recently in Sharmaji Namkeen, shares her secret with Rediff.com‘s Senior Contributor Roshmila Bhattacharya, “I’m just lucky and blessed to have very loving and caring in-laws, and it’s because of them that we don’t explode the way we would have otherwise.”
After Sharmaji Namkeen, we would like to see more of Juhi.
(Laughs) I’m doing some work. It will happen because that’s something I know a little more.
If something interesting comes up, I am always game.
There’s reportedly a series called Hush Hush.
Yes, that will come out later in the year.
What about getting back to production given that the OTT boom lets you explore interesting, off-beat subjects?
Production is a different ball game altogether and today, I don’t know if I can handle so much.
My hands are full and rather than take on more work, I want to specialise, do whatever I take on to the best of my ability.
Everything takes time, energy and attention, so though the options are many, I need to pick and choose.
IMAGE: Juhi and husband Jai Mehta. Photograph: Kind courtesy Juhi Chawla/Instagram
Are your children, Jhanvi and Arjun, showing signs of following in your footsteps?
They are both camera shy.
Jhanvi is very keen on cricket, Arjun I don’t know.
They will both find their own passions.
Talking about cricket, the IPL season is on and both Shah Rukh Khan and you must be egging on your team, Kolkata Knight Riders?
We are always keen that our team wins. But now, I get so stressed during a match, particularly when I’m on the field, that I mostly watch on TV.
(Laughs) Every time a KKR wicket falls or we get belted, I run away, and someone has to relay what happened.
My daughter Jhanvi is a cricket buff.
IMAGE: Juhi at the KKR-Sunrisers Hyderabad IPL 2022 game at the Brabourne stadium in Mumbai, April 15, 2022. Photograph: BCCI
One spots your husband Jai Mehta at the ground occasionally, and from the contented, serene, looks on your faces, this is one Bollywood marriage that has weathered well. Raaz kya hai?
(Laughs) Ours is just like any regular marriage with a mix of fun and bad moments,har ghar ki kahani.
I’m just lucky and blessed to have very loving and caring in-laws, and it’s because of them that we don’t explode the way we would have otherwise.
Somebody or the other is always around to make you feel that everything will be all right and they are good for the kids too.
The joint family, which was an integral part of our Indian culture, is slowly disintegrating as we follow the West, but I’m all for it.
My in-laws may not always be around, but they keep us grounded.
IMAGE: Juhi with her children Janhvi and Arjun when they were younger. Photograph: Kind courtesy Juhi Chawla/Instagram
What’s happening on the music scene? Any plans of cutting an album?
Once I had made plans but after the lockdown, I have realised that it is best to do something you love without always having a reason for doing it as that can ruin the pleasure.
So now, whenever time permits, I learn, I practice my music and I am at peace.
The pandemic and the subsequent lockdown has suddenly woken up the world to climate change and conservation. How does that make an environmental warrior like you feel?
As far as the environment goes, the lockdown was a golden period.
From our home, across the sea, we could see every window of the Oberoi Towers. It was that clear.
The sky was blue, the trees were green and the air was the cleanest it had ever been.
But the traffic is building up again.
Every time a car passes, I can smell the fuel and I’m like, ‘Oh God, look at us, here we go again!’
During the lockdown, air pollution was in double digits. Now, air quality is back to being 300 plus.
But I am more environmental conscious than ever, mindfully promoting organic stuff and natural products, that I would use myself or on my kids.
As an influencer, I have realised that it is important to act responsibly, do whatever it takes to make the world cleaner.
I want to do this for the kids, not just my own, but everybody else’s too, because they are going to inherit this planet and we need to give them something better.