Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has a fan, and it’s not because of her acting skills. Sister-in-law Shweta Nanda lavishes praise on her for being a good mother too.
“There isn’t much room for any of our inputs, because Aishwarya is doing it all by herself,” says Shweta. “As a result, Aaradhya is doing a lot more than my kids were doing at her age. She’s forming words, saying them, listening to everything we say and absorbing it. She’s even taking steps on her own now. Aishwarya’s determination is evident.”
She’s happily settled in Delhi, with her husband and two kids, but every time there’s an important event in the Bachchan family, daughter Shweta Nanda is always around for support.
“Lately, I’ve been coming down quite often — once every month or two — but only for up to a week at a time,” says Shweta, who recently shot for Vogue — her third magazine cover — in Pune. “I was shy and awkward, but thrilled. The crew helped, but I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the camera,” she laughs.
Aren’t you used to having your pictures taken? You’re from the Bachchan family, after all.
I’m probably the only member of my family who has managed to have a private life. Even as a child, I was very sheltered. Abhishek and I were not very exposed to the glamorous side of things. Then we went off to boarding school. Within a few months of coming back, I got married, and now I’ve been in Delhi for 16 years.
Bachchan family pose together at Amitabh Bachchan's 70th birthday celebrations.
At any point in your life, did you want to be in the film industry?
I’ve never received film offers. I don’t think I have what it takes. Abhishek always wanted to do it subconsciously, but not me. I’d been studying literature and might have done some production work. Before that could happen, I got married. At 23, I had my first child too. In any case, I’ve never been very ambitious.
Describe a day in your life.
It isn’t very interesting (laughs). I wake up and organise meals for the kids, speak to them and find out about their day. My daughter is in boarding school in England, so usually it’s just my son and me. I make sure he attends his soccer and squash coaching. My husband works hard and till late, so he only wants to eat and go to bed when he’s done. I’m like a regular housewife, and I enjoy it. I love reading and watching TV shows — everything from MasterChef to Grey’s Anatomy.
Tell us about your equation with your family.
I’d describe my mother as my template. Everything I’ve learned about running a house and raising children is from her. She’d always be around to have lunch with us after school and spend time with us. My father (Amitabh Bachchan) is the busiest of the lot, but he still manages to BBM me every day and ask what I’m up to. We share an unconditional love. He’s my hero. He lights up when I’m at home, and I’m happiest when I’m around him. Abhishek and I have always been close. We’re constantly in touch, joking all the time.
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Shweta Nanda, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan
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(With additional inputs)