Rani (Mukherjee) was telling me that before she started shooting for Hichki, she didn’t want to let go. She wanted to be with her daughter all the time. But, it was so wonderful to be back on the sets and that she had missed it.
I had finished Ki and Ka, it released in March when I found that I was pregnant. I started shooting immediately after I gave birth in December. I was on the sets in June. Right through my pregnancy, I was shooting in various shapes and sizes. I was never really home, even when I was eight-and-a-half months pregnant, I was up and about.
Do you get a lot of parenting advice?
Everybody becomes a doctor, a mother, everybody wants to give you parenting advice, which is lovely. I listen to everyone, but no one can give you advice on being a parent. You have to experience it yourself, you have to go through each day and each day is different, every morning there is something new to learn. It’s pretty much my own journey, and I am pretty much doing it my own way.
Who picked out Taimur’s name though?
Of course, it’s a bit unusual. It was Saif, obviously. He loves history, he is very articulate on the warriors he likes. He had a neighbour whose name was Taimur, he was fascinated by him, and he used to play with him a lot. And the name kind of stayed with him. That along with the fact that the name means iron.
Your name is an abbreviation of Karenina?
Yes, my mother was reading the book (Anna Karenina) and she loved the name and she thought of Kareena. It’s a Russian name. My grandfather loved Russia, and, in an instant, everyone gave their go-ahead for the name.
You were sent to a boarding school?
I went to Welham Girls’ in Dehradun. It was brilliant. I loved it. Just the fact that I came from a protected home and went to stay in an all girls’ boarding school in Dehradun, up north, so far away from Mumbai, was a completely different type of atmosphere. But I think it laid the foundation for my independence. It set me up for the profession I am in. I was really set there. When I was leaving, I was crying.
You have never been afraid of speaking your mind. You have always projected your beliefs very clearly. Recently you said that you believe in gender equality, but you are not a feminist.
I don’t like the word. Trolls can troll me, they can continue to do that.
But you have always rooted for equality.
Absolutely. I just don’t want it to be tagged that I am standing for feminism. I don’t believe in these words. I do believe in equality. There are a thousand versions of feminism. Everyone has their version and take on what it is. That’s why I said, I won’t to be branded as anything — that I am this and I am that. I am a person, I am a human being, who believes in equality. Now, whatever you want to do, troll me, call me, it’s up to everybody else. I would like to be known as Kareena Kapoor, but I am also Kareena Kapoor Khan, and I am also Mrs Saif Ali Khan, I am absolutely fine (with it).
Saif has obviously been a huge influence in your life. What’s the best influence he has brought to your life?
There are many things that he has added to my life and personality. He has allowed me to be exactly the way I am. He has allowed me to live the life I wanted to. He has supported me in that. I think the biggest thing is when a man can add to your life, rather than subtract from it.
Do you think it’s a great trend that Hollywood and Bollywood actresses are now sticking to their natural sizes instead of trying to fit into a standard size?
Absolutely, I think if you are doing it for a part, it’s great. But I think, otherwise, one should just be comfortable the way they are. As far as fitness is concerned, one should be fit and healthy, that’s something every girl should aspire to be. And I always say, size has nothing to do with being healthy or being fit. It’s about how comfortable you are.
In this phase of your life, do you see yourself making an effort to do an international project?
I don’t think I have that drive. And I don’t think I have that sort of ambition. I know exactly what I want and what I enjoy doing. I am happy with what’s on my plate.