Kareena Kapoor Khan has always wanted to become a Bollywood actor. Luckily, she never had to look beyond her family for inspiration. While her sister, Karisma Kapoor, was a successful film star long before Kareena made her acting debut, the actor has, on many occasions, credited her mother, Babita, for “giving up her whole life for her children”.
After Kareena got married, she found another idol at home, in the form of her mother-in-law, veteran actor Sharmila Tagore. This International Women’s Day (March 8), Kareena tells us more about the three most important ladies in her life.
On her mother, her confidante and friend
“For me, my mother is like God. She is, literally, the person I pray to. She is the sunshine and the oxygen in my life,” says Kareena, adding that it is her mother’s courage and constant support that has made her who she is today. “She has done everything for my sister and me. She is a true woman of substance. All I know is that I can’t live without my mother. The mother-child relationship is one that you can’t put into words,” says Kareena.
On idolising her sister
“She’s my older sister, but I think I kind of bully her sometimes. I fire her, and I also give her advice. But eventually, she’s the person I have grown up aspiring to be. Even the way she conducted herself back in the ’90s — she was a very private actor — was inspiring,” says Kareena, adding that it is Karisma’s simplicity that sets her apart. “Her simplicity is her beauty and charm. That’s why, all her life, everyone around her has bullied her. But everyone who is a part of my life knows that if Lolo (Karisma’s pet name) has said something, then it’s like gospel truth for me. And what I admire the most is the dignity with which she has conducted her life, her career, and single-handedly brought up her children, despite a lot of media stress, in terms of her marriage,” she says.
On finding a friend in her mother-in-law Sharmila Tagore
“She is the ultimate actor in the film industry. She’s a living legend. I also look up to her for the way she has lived her life and brought up her three children. She has been an amazing wife and mother. I aspire to strike that balance in my life,” says Kareena, adding, “Even today, her beauty is breathtaking. I sometimes stare at her and wonder, ‘Wow; someone like her truly exists’.” The actor says she considers herself “blessed to have got such a mum-in-law. She has worked all her life. So, that’s something I admire the most. And she’s not been very insular in this industry. She has her own life. She’s always travelling, giving talks. She’s also been the perfect homemaker, even at the peak of her career,” says Kareena.