Charged and ready

By Onkar Kulkarni


“The thought of marriage makes me nervous at this point”

In 2018, she took a two-year sabbatical and moved to London. Cut to two years later, Shruti Haasan returned to India fully recharged and ready to get back to work. From getting started in the OTT space to doing interesting projects South, the actor has the wind in his sails. In conversation with Bombay time, she confides in this new professional path in which she embarked on, the new chapter of her personal life and why the idea of ​​marriage makes her nervous. Continue reading…


In 2020 you returned to India after spending two years in London to start a new chapter here. How has it been so far?

It’s going really well this time around. I feel rejuvenated and full of energy to take on new challenges. I have to say that 2022 is looking pretty promising. It started with the release of my web show, for which I received immense love and appreciation. With that, I can’t wait to take more Hindi projects. I have a few projects in the South, including Salar with Prabhas, Chiru 154 with Chiranjeevi and NBK 107 with Balakrishna. I’m also happy with the kind of reception South Indian films are getting today.

What is happening on the Bollywood front? In one of your recent interviews, you said that Hindi filmmakers feel you belong more in the Southern film industry.

Recently, there have been several discussions with Hindi filmmakers. As I said, my recent web show has got me doing more Hindi projects. You see, I started my acting journey with the Hindi movie Luck (2009), and since then I have only tried to balance my career by making movies in multiple languages. After Behen Hogi Teri in 2017, I took this break. After my return to India (in 2020), I took over a few projects from the South which came out consecutively. When it comes to me, people only look at the surface. I am happy to have been approached for the web show. I want to work across languages ​​and mediums, but I will choose stories that appeal to me. I get that Mumbai looks like the center of the universe to so many people, but it’s not the center of some people’s universe. I don’t think anyone should apologize for where they choose to spend most of their time working. I’ve been in this race where people say as an actor you have to do one Hindi movie a year. I moved to Mumbai since my parents separated. I have lived here for many years. I speak in Hindi with my mother. So when I call Mumbai my home and the city calls me their home, then how can someone in the Hindi film industry say things like, “Oh, but you’re a South Indian.”

Today, when you look back, how significant was the two-year sabbatical from showbiz?

It was necessary because I wanted to realign myself. I felt like I was doing things that didn’t make me happy, personally and professionally. At that time, a lot of people thought it was a crazy move that I was doing, but getting off the treadmill was important at the time. There was a time when I stopped enjoying movies and music. I needed a moment of calm to reinvent myself as an artist.

How did you reinvent yourself during the course?

I set out on a path where I aimed to purify my mind, body, and spirit. I wanted to start from scratch. So I moved to London. I focused a lot on the music. I started writing my own music again and I collaborated with music producers. I started to play live and I liked to do concerts.

This was also the phase where you had therapy. Was it the result of your 10 year battle with anxiety?

Yes, because anxiety has definitely hindered my journey. At first, when I was diagnosed with anxiety, I thought I had to deal with it myself. After so many years of struggle, it was in London that I turned to therapy and found answers to discussions I didn’t even want to have with myself. I recommend the therapy to those who are also dealing with anxiety. After all, your parents, siblings, or friends aren’t certified professionals in helping you manage your stress. Professional advice can be of great help. It took me 10 years to find my own way through anxiety. The two things that are always misinterpreted as noise or violence – heavy metal music and MMA (mixed martial arts) – are the only things that gave me balance during these difficult times.

What do you think of marriage? Do you intend to get married soon?

The thought of marriage makes me nervous at this point. This is something I wouldn’t skip right away.

Does marriage make you nervous because your parents (Kamal Haasan and Sarika) separated during your childhood?

I think my parents had the best intentions for their marriage. When it worked, it was a fantastic marriage and that’s what I chose to get out of it. Things may or may not work. I like to watch what was the good side of this one. My parents went through a lot and they stuck it out. Just because their marriage didn’t work out doesn’t mean I would give up on the idea of ​​marriage. When it worked, they were a brilliant couple, and that’s what I chose to watch.

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