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Navya Naveli Nanda gets candid about her podcast What The Hell Navya

‘I realised that all three of us are exactly the same,’ says Amitabh Bachchan’s granddaughter about her mom Shweta Bachchan Nanda and grandmom Jaya Bachchan

Sameer Salunkhe Calcutta Published 04.03.24, 05:10 PM
Navya Naveli Nanda

Navya Naveli Nanda Instagram

Navya Naveli Nanda’s passion lies in creating impact and no, it is not through acting in films. The young entrepreneur is set on making a difference in people’s lives through her non-profit initiative and, among other things, through her popular podcast, What the Hell Navya, where she has thought-provoking conversations with her mother Shweta Bachchan Nanda and grandmother Jaya Bachchan. In an exclusive chat with us, Navya Naveli talks about her show, her family, her entrepreneurial journey and her millennial side.

How was your podcast show What The Hell Navya born?


Navya Naveli Nanda: The show was the brainchild of my mom (Shweta Bachchan Nanda). We live together, so this is something that we do every evening — sitting on a couch and talking about different things. During the lockdown, we would talk for hours on different topics. We would have agreements and disagreements.

My mom suggested, ‘Why don’t we do this as a podcast? If we have these tough conversations on a public platform, we could make having these conversations normal. We could encourage people in society to be transparent about the kind of topics we talk about in the show.’ Some of these topics are still stigmatised and people don’t often speak about these things.

The first season was only audio and we were kind of thrown into it. It was quite natural and organic. We shared our unfiltered opinions about what we felt. In the last year, I have grown personally as well as professionally. I think this season has a lot more about what I feel and my opinions as a Gen Z woman living in India today and the things that my generation wants to talk about. In this season, we have tried to dive deeper into some of the conversations that we had in season one and also touched upon some new topics. It’s been a great journey so far. It’s been a learning experience.

Was Jayaji game for the podcast instantly or did you have to convince her?

Navya Naveli Nanda: She was very happy to do it. She also equally believed in the idea that if we have these conversations openly, it could inspire people to open up at home with their families. She was very much on board from the beginning to do this. She is a great sport.

What have been the revelations for you about your mother, grandmother and yourself through the conversations on your show?

Navya Naveli Nanda: The biggest revelation was that I’m very much like them. I thought that because I’m younger and from a different generation, I’d have different opinions or I wouldn’t agree with them on many things but I realised that all three of us are exactly the same.

What I have learnt about both of them is that they are very open to learning. They are open to understanding new concepts. They want to know what younger people are talking about and thinking about. I think that is really a great quality. Big kudos to them for having these conversations with me and being fearless enough to share their opinions on a public platform. I hope that I imbibe that in my personal as well as professional life.

You mentioned in the second episode of the second season that you’re more like a millennial than Gen Z.

Navya Naveli Nanda: I think I am kind of an old soul. I appreciate technology and social media but as a person, I am very quiet and shy. I am not out there as much. It’s about doing my work and going home. It’s the smaller things that make me happy and more millennial than Gen Z. On my social media handles, I post mostly about my work. I am very happy sitting at home and reading a book. I get happiness out of little things.

I’m sure you get this a lot, but did you never feel like getting into acting or any other aspect of filmmaking?

Navya Naveli Nanda: No. I am not very creative in that way. I am happy being an entrepreneur. My dad’s side of the family has been into entrepreneurship for many years. I think that side came more naturally to me and it is something that excites me a lot.

Was there a particular moment when you decided that you wanted to become an entrepreneur?

Navya Naveli Nanda: I grew up in Delhi. Our family business is based out of Delhi. The women in our family have always been entrepreneurs. They have always worked and had their businesses. I grew up seeing that around me and wanted something similar for myself. It was after I graduated college that my journey officially began. I started my non-profit business.

I don’t think there was a particular moment but there was a clear intention as to what the business would do. It was clear in my mind that it would be about women’s empowerment or supporting women in whichever way I could, whether it was financial independence or health. I didn’t want to run a business for the sake of running a business. It has to genuinely have a larger impact on the world, especially for women.

You’re working towards gender equality. What have been the positives in that endeavour and what areas are still a struggle?

Navya Naveli Nanda: I think the most fulfilling part of this journey has been meeting and interacting with people. Their stories are very inspiring — knowing about their experiences and then using those experiences to create solutions for them.

The struggles, I would say, there’s always more that we can do. There’s always more that you can get as support in terms of partners and things like that. There’s so much that we need to work on. I think it’s about sticking to it and taking it day by day, and not measuring the success or growth of a particular project by numbers but also how deep an impact you’re leaving on an individual.

Your families on both sides have a legacy. Do you ever feel the pressure of that legacy in the way you’re leading your life?

Navya Naveli Nanda: I think all of us have the responsibility of making our families proud and taking their legacy forward. I don’t think of it as pressure. I think it is a great opportunity. I am very grateful that I am able to take that name forward in whatever small way that I can. I’m just playing my part to the best of my ability.

You use social media mostly for professional commitments. But having more than one million followers can be overwhelming…

Navya Naveli Nanda: I am very grateful that people have been supportive of the work that I’m professionally involved in. It’s very kind of them to acknowledge that and be supportive. Everyone has faced the negative side of social media in some form or another. It was an active choice that I made to be on social media, to have a public profile, and to put myself out there. The work that I do is pretty much for the public, so I’m always open to receiving feedback.

I take criticism constructively because I feel that if my job is to do something for society, then if they have something to say, I must acknowledge it and think about what I can do as a professional to improve myself in the work I’m doing. It’s okay to have people give you feedback and not take it personally all the time.

What are you most passionate about in life?

Navya Naveli Nanda: The motivating factor about what I do is that it’s about helping people. I love creating impact. If it’s selling a tractor, I’m impacting a farmer. My non-profit is impacting women in some way. So, my passion lies in creating impact. That’s what I fundamentally believe in as a person. Whatever the venture, it has to create an impact.

You recently ventured into sports as well with WPL team UP Warriorz…

Navya Naveli Nanda: It’s a first for me. Everyone loves cricket. I am a big cricket fan. Women’s sport is getting the recognition it deserves. It’s having a big moment in pop culture today, and I am happy that I’m a part of that. Again, it’s about creating an impact – not just watching the sport but also participating in it. And I’m looking forward to it.

I have to ask you about your grandfather Amitabh Bachchan. What have you learnt from him?

Navya Naveli Nanda: His discipline, hard work and honesty stand out for me. I hope I can implement these in my life. He is an institution and I’m very grateful that I have him in my life to guide me.

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