For someone who has been often ridiculed for his filmy failures, and his looks, the last year saw Tusshar Kapoor earn widespread support and acclaim as he made headlines by becoming a single father through surrogacy.
“ I was amazed. I did not expect this kind of immediate acceptance. It’s overwhelming,” says Kapoor, as we meet him in the marble-inlaid study of Krishna Bungalow in Mumbai, which is dotted with many trophies celebrating the jubilees of his father’s various films. But Kapoor is not the first in the film industry to have used assisted reproductive treatment. Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Farah Khan and Sohail Khan have all walked the path.
In the West, celebrities from Michael Jackson, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Neil Patrick Harris have availed of surrogacy to expand their families. Kapoor was introduced to the idea by director Prakash Jha on a flight. “Two years ago, I was frustrated. I always wanted to be a dad. but I was not married, and wasn’t ‘settling down’; I was kind of lost. And then I met Prakhash Jha, who talked at length about surrogacy.
He said, ‘It’s not the end of the road for you; unmarried people can also have children.’ He introduced me to Dr Firuza Parikh, who handheld me through the whole process,” says Kapoor, 40. What followed was intense research and preparations for the impending arrival of the baby. While, Kapoor himself was ready, his parents were apprehensive. “Once the decision was made, the process was underway, and the date of Laksshya’s birth came closer, there were concerns. I did wonder how people would react to this? Is this too out of the box? Will people attack me? But given the overwhelming support and encouragement that we got, I am glad. This really shows how Indians are actually very liberal.”
Kapoor feels he would not have been able to do it five years ago. Once the baby arrived, Kapoor’s parents Jeetendra and Shobha even released a statement voicing their support and encouragement. Sister Ekta took to Twitter and welcomed the new addition to the family. The film fraternity including Karan Johar, Abhishek Bachchan, Riteish Deshmukh and Farah Khan took to social media to extend their congratulations.
In a country like ours where the birth of a child is celebrated, but pregnancy is still something that is hushed up, he found it heartwarming to see such universal acceptance of surrogacy. “When I was going through the process, privacy was a key concern for me, which thankfully the doctors understood. But once the baby came, it was a conscious decision to get the news out. I wanted everyone to know that I had become a father. And I have not faced any stigma or judgments for availing surrogacy. I even took Laksshya to the film sets and the cast and crew went out of their way to accommodate us,” says Kapoor, whose next release Golmaal Again is slated to hit theatres this November.
Kapoor feels that surrogacy is a godsend for people like him. “I think, the paternal instinct is innate in most of us, and we should all be able to experience it. Surrogacy has helped many people. And now Karan Johar has also had his babies through surrogacy. I think this will help in creating more awareness and making it acceptable,” says Kapoor.