Juuhi Babbar Sonii has marked her comeback to the big screens with Neeraj Pandey’s ‘Aiyaary’.
“Maybe, it’s a comeback because I’m coming back to the screens after a really long time,” says actress Juuhi Babbar Sonii, daughter of the veteran actor – Raj Babbar. A theatre fanatic with ‘go with the flow’ attitude, Juuhi has faced the cameras for Neeraj Pandey’s espionage thriller, ‘Aiyaary‘ as army officer Manoj Bajpayee’s strength- his wife’s character. Why there wouldn’t be any other film better for a comeback, why did she shy away from the cameras, looking at political avenues, her life’s special event, finding love the second time with Annup Sonii, her son Imman and her relationship with half-brother, Prateik Babbar, who is all set to tie the knot with girlfriend Sanya Sagar – the actress has literally poured her heart out in this candid conversation with mid-day online.
How has it been working for Aiyaary?
Super-good, fantastic! I couldn’t have asked for something better than this.
After spending so many years in the film, television and theatre genre, do you think to term your work as a ‘comeback’ justifies you?
‘Comeback’ maybe because I am back to the screen after very long, which is fine. I’m not sure if it is a comeback because I don’t know if I have really come back. I cannot say that right after tomorrow I’ll be shooting back to back and now I have arrived and there’s no looking back. For years and years, I did not take up cinema because I was not getting the kind of work that I wanted to do. So, a lot of things were happening and my past life was taking weird turns and then finally Anuup Sonii (husband) happened to me, which is probably the most amazing thing to happen. Even more amazing than Anuup is the arrival of Imaan (5-year-old son) in my life. So, the role that became more pre-dominant was motherhood.
I’ve just been with Imaan, I’ve hardly been performing theatres, priority wise there has been a change. So, I had thought that when Imaan is around 5, I will once again consider films. There were film offers now and then. But then it was at stages when I was expecting my child, or when I had just had him. Television offers came in bulk. Thankfully, every month I would get 4-5 calls. Television has really long working hours and I don’t need to do that. Gratefully, my husband has been very supportive. There is no ambition as such, there is no crazy rattle when you are younger and in the heroine category, there’s much pressure. But now, one is looking at good roles and character actor. If it happens fine or else I have a bigger role to play at home.
Do you and your husband discuss work with each other?
Yes! In fact, he is the reason that I have done ‘Aiyaary’. I got a call from Neeraj Pandey and he asked me to meet him. I asked Annup, ‘Should I go, I’m not too sure about the length of the role.’ So, he said that you should go and meet Neeraj sir and even if he asks you to do one scene, just say ‘yes’. You don’t come without saying a yes to this house. He said, ‘You’re getting a Neeraj Pandey film just by sitting at home, are you crazy to reject it?’
How was it working with Manoj Bajpayee?
Fantastic! What better than a Neeraj Pandey film and an actor like Manoj Bajpayee! I couldn’t have asked for anything better. I play Manoj Bajpayee’s wife in the film and all my scenes are with him. There aren’t any crazy, dramatic moments; she is diligent like an army officer’s wife. The strength, the confidence, the concern, the standing by, keeping secrets, all these characteristics are all evident in those many scenes.
How was it to know Sidharth Malhotra?
Actually, all my scenes were only with Manoj. We, of course, met on the sets and I think for Sidharth this is a very important film. I give him a lot of credit for this because being from this generation and breaking the rules, experimenting different avenues with niche cinema is really commendable. He’s looking good in the movie and has worked very hard.
You’ve directed many theatre plays. Any plans of directing a feature film?
I don’t really know. There are a lot of acting opportunities that are coming up. I know that there is a director in me somewhere and I had left everything behind. Let’s see what all comes in the forefront.
Do you ever feel the urge of directing a particular actor from the current generation, if you take up direction for a full-fledged film?
I am very fond of Ranbir Kapoor and Ranveer Singh. They are also very lucky because they’ve really got roles that showed all kinds of shades of them. I would also love to direct my dad, Raj Babbar.
Any political aspirations?
I have campaigned for my dad every time and they have been really strong, if I may say so. Right now, not definitely. My son is only five. Let’s see if I get more work in cinema then I’ll be happy doing this. I don’t say no to politics but the time hasn’t come yet for sure.
Also, Prateik is soon going to get married, what kind of an equation do you share with him?
I am blessed because I have a mother like Nadira Babbar, who has always taught me to look at Aarya (brother) and Prateik (half-brother) with the same eye. Prateik has matured in a way that is beautiful. Seeing that the situations of the relationships are so sensitive that it can get so complicated but God has been very kind to us. There is this beautiful bond between us. It seems funny that he is getting married because I still see him as a baby. That’s the problem when you’re the elder one and have younger siblings, who have literally played in your arms and now suddenly they are getting married. I am really looking forward to this wedding because he’s a great lover. I’ve seen him the way he loves and pampers his girl. Now I want to see what kind of a husband does he become.
Also, women’s day is on March 8, any message for the women around?
Well, I am a huge supporter of motherhood and I would love to say this to all women that ‘by choice’ have a child. I have friends who say that we have decided not to have a child. You’ve not even gone through this. So, how do you know? I think we have been created by God to procreate and are incomplete without it. I could be wrong because some feminists might say that I’m saying the worst thing. I think that my personality, my confidence or my womanhood has come alive only after I became a mother.