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She’s a proud Mom
Soha Ali Khan with mother Sharmila Tagore

Soha Ali Khan may be receiving a lot of flak from different quarters for not being able to do justice to Khoya Khoya Chand’s Nikhat Bano. But there is one person who has complete admiration for her performance. Her mother Sharmila Tagore.

“Soha was very good in the film,” the proud mother tells t2 from Mumbai. “I liked the others too. I liked Shiney (Ahuja), I liked Rajat (Kapoor), I liked the guy who played Khosa (Saurabh Shukla). And I liked the music (by Shantanu Moitra) very much. The film is (director) Sudhir’s (Mishra) own vision... you may or may not agree with the way he has presented the period, the way he has structured the film... but it is the film-maker’s prerogative. When you make a film, you want to make it the way you like it.”

Sharmila has not just watched Khoya Khoya Chand once... she has seen the film twice. “First I saw it in Mumbai at the premiere and the next day I saw it again at the premiere in Delhi,” says Sharmila. “I liked it better the second time because in Mumbai, I thought, the sound was not very clear for some reason. The Delhi projection was much superior.”

During the making of Khoya Khoya Chand, Sharmila had helped Soha in getting the perfect look of a Sixties heroine. “She joined the industry a bit later but she was around when all the great actresses like Madhubala, Meena Kumari and Waheeda Rehman were at the top of their act,” Soha had said earlier to t2 in an interview. “I am sure these legendary leading ladies must have been an inspiration to my mother too. So, I would talk to her to get the pitch right. But it is the look for which she helped me a lot.”

But ask Sharmila which actress of the Fifties and Sixties Soha reminded her in the film and she comes up with a surprise answer. “Soha has played the role with the vulnerability of that age but with the strength and security of today’s age which I found very interesting,” says Sharmila. “I don’t know whether she has done it consciously or not but she has been able to bring a today’s confidence in that period character.”

Comparing Soha’s screen avatar Nikhat with her real self in that period, Sharmila is all praise for her daughter. “We were very paka in those days, always wallowing in self-consciousness,” she laughs. “But Soha has been able to bring the verve and energy which you get to see in only the actors of today. Of course, Madhubala was very vivacious but we were more daba hua, more sehmi sehmi, more nyaka... What Soha has done best is play the character as a younger actress rather than a mature person. We have seen enough of mature performances. Her performance had a newness in it.”

But Sharmila also claims to be Soha’s biggest critic. “She repeatedly says that herself,” says the veteran actress. “Because it is difficult to be a mother and also be truthful. I have told her what she was lacking in Ahista Ahista. When everybody was praising her in Rang De Basanti, I told her that she could have done the shot in which she looks at Madhavan after he proposes to her much better. So, I have been very critical. But in Khoya Khoya Chand she is indeed very good and it really makes me a very proud mother.”

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