Blissfully married to Telugu star Mahesh Babu for over a year and awaiting motherhood, Namrata Shirodkar has taken to domestic life like a fish to water.
"I'm totally enchanted by my new life. Mahesh Babu and I live in Jubilee Hills. We shifted to our house six months ago. This is just our temporary dream house. We're building our real dream house brick-by-brick."
Namrata, who now lives in Hyderabad, is cut off from Mumbai.
"But in many ways Hyderabad is like an extension of home. My mom and dad visit me every six months. Then friends from Mumbai keep dropping in on their way to Tirupati. Tabu is shifting base from Mumbai to Hyderabad. So, I keep bumping into her."
Namrata has always been a bit out of Bollywood.
"I've put on weight. I was never career-driven. Now when I'm married to a superstar I'm just happy being part of my husband's success. Whoever says marriage is scary doesn't know what she's talking about. Marriage has sobered me down. Not that I was ever wild."
She did have to go through a long period of suspense before getting Mahesh Babu's parents' consent.
"It was people around them influencing them, I guess. But I'd say the wait has been worth the while. And that period of expectancy gave Mahesh and me a chance to know each other really well. Mahesh's family and I get along famously. In fact, his elder sister and I are very, very close."
She raves about her husband.
"Mahesh is the best thing to have happened to me. Yes, he has a huge female fan following. But I feel really, really secure with him. The females are crazy about him. They call on my number asking if they could talk to him. I've stopped answering strange numbers. His latest film is the biggest rage. But no temple for Mahesh. That's a very Tamil and not Telugu thing."
Namrata is no stranger to a fan following.
"But there's a difference between Shah Rukh Khan and Mahesh Babu. These people in Andhra (Pradesh) go into a trance when they see a star."
She rarely misses the arc lights.
"I was fond of my work. But I'm so happy in my new life that I don't miss acting. But yes, I do have a lot of time on hand. Mahesh has been really busy. But for the past week he has been home. So I got some precious time with him. He has been working really hard."
When asked if she looks after her husband's career, Namrata jumped: "Are you crazy? He's not the kind of husband who'd want me to interfere. You know one doesn't really get to know a person until you actually live together with him. Mahesh and I have our spaces worked out."
Namrata sighs in deep contentment.
"Hyderabad isn't as fast-paced as Mumbai. At the same time it's a fun place. There're lots of parties and dinner but I'm confined till the first week of October when our baby is expected. I'm so nervous."
Plans of coming back to films?
"Right now I'm just looking forward to playing the role of a mother. Maybe later."