You and Harbhajan were very close for the longest time and were written about a lot…
Trust me, it was not an easy time for me. Those days were very different. Being linked to someone was a very big thing. I remember a very big actress who got married in those days had to leave a film because that movie’s producers were worried that she would soon become pregnant. On similar lines, I had got lots of offers after my debut film ‘The Train’ but they never made a headway.
I was facing stiff challenges. I was not an established actor. It took me a hell of a long time to justify that I am not marrying in near future.
Not that I was replaced by a star kid or an established actor, but yes I was replaced by someone or the other. And mind you, two of those 4 films which I consequently lost went on to become hits.
At the end of the day, it was my word against the papers because Harbhajan and I were often spotted having coffee and people failed to believe that we were not in a relationship. After my debut film ‘The Train’, Harbhajan and I were friends for nearly 10 months. Yes, our relationship blossomed into love and I am very glad about it- but that happened much later. Anyway, today, I am in a very happy space- very content and not in the rat race.
I started missing my family and I was not focussed into having a relationship. Plus, I was very skeptical of entering into a relationship with a cricketer because you get to hear many stories like- they are flamboyant, have girlfriends and girls line up to meet them.
Yet you remained in India?
Yes, I stayed on.
Purely for Harbhajan and your love for him?
Were your parents okay with that?
They were cool about it because they were clear that if I was genuinely happy, then I should continue with my personal life.
You had invested so much into the relationship. Did you at any time feel apprehensive about its future?
I have grown up with Harbhajan. I was 21 when our love story began and 30 when we got married.
Why did you never confess that you were dating Harbhajan?
Relationships then were still some sort of a taboo. The media kept us marrying off several times. It was quite chaotic. And then, I started getting films again, starting with ‘Zilla Parishad’ in 2013. After that, I did ‘Secondhand Husband’ and ‘Lock’. You see, the time then was not right for admitting to things. An actor’s (mine) shelf life was at stake. Today I am very happy that OTT shows have surfaced which gives an actor a lot of scope that’s far more than he/she had in those times and his/her age has become just a number.
Will you be comfortable with bold scenes, which have become common parlance in OTT shows?
I won’t be comfortable with certain scenes, definitely. But I am game to good content and every web series is not explicit. Anyway, now my focus is on my 2nd baby who’s on his/her way.
How did you inform your daughter Hinaya about your second pregnancy?
It was a personal moment. Let’s say I told her that she’s turning into a big sister.
And what did she say?
For her, it’s like a toy. She would be happy, either way, whether she gets a brother or sister. She’s already a responsible, elder sister. I can sense it. During my first pregnancy, I don’t know why but I had a gut feeling that I was carrying a boy. But do you know I wanted a girl first? The bond between a daughter and a father is to be seen to be believed. A case in point is Harbhajan-Hinaya.
Who kept the name ‘Hinaya’?
People suggested that we should combine our names and come up with something. I said: ‘Hargeet? No way!’ (laughs). Then we settled on Himaya. One day. my mom said that people will end up calling her Maya. There was something about my daughter that the name Himaya didn’t suit her. At that time, Harbhajan suggested ‘Hinaya’. I got very excited. I just didn’t want her to have a common name and Hinaya is not common. Nowadays, many people message me that they are naming their daughters as Hinaya (smiles).
If and when Harbhajan has a bad day in the field…
Obviously, he feels it. Cricket has been his life ever since he was 17, it’s his passion and pride both. Whatever he is, it’s because of the game. Any player who tells you that he is not affected by what happens on the ground, is lying. BUt the very sight of Hinaya erases all the bad memories. Family comes to him the first.
I am planning to do something exciting.
We have heard that it will be a show where Harbhajan and you will feature together…
The show has him too, but I can’t say anything more on that now.