Life in full circle

Life in full circle

In conversation

Life in full circle

She is basking in the praise that has been flowing her way since the release of her comeback film Singh is Bling, busy wrapping up brand endorsements galore, bringing up her three-year-old daughter Saira, hopping across the globe with her husband, tennis ace Mahesh Bhupathi, and getting two more films under her own production house’s banner, on the floor. The elegant, erudite, tough-mettle Lara Dutta is certainly a force to be reckoned with.

“I’ve calmed down a lot,” she confesses. “Saira’s arrival has made me look at the world through kinder eyes.” Back to the film, Lara says, “My actor friend Akshay (Kumar) called me, and said that the role was virtually tailor-made for me. To be honest, the prospect of working with filmmaker Prabhu Deva also excited me a great deal. I landed on the sets on the first day, with my ankle in a cast, and was amazed at the flying around that was happening. The entire experience of shooting was a lot of fun. Saira was present with me on the sets most of the time. For her, Akshay is ‘Nitara’s papa!’” She laughs.

Of course, Lara was quite cagey about exposing the little one to the limelight initially, zealously protective, but has learnt to strike a balance between her own career and playing a sincere mommykins.

Home & beyond

With Mahesh travelling across the world for over 33 weeks in a year, Lara chooses to move with him “Or else we wouldn’t have a marriage!” she exclaims, laughing. “He is used to reporting on the courts at 5.30 am since he was three years old. I have joined in now, by getting up at 5.30 am as well, to meditate for an hour, before the activities for the day take over, as our daughter leaves for her school. I love to drop her off and pick her up. Both Mahesh and I are quite hands-on as parents. That is the only way to go, as no nanny accompanies us when we travel together,” admits Lara. “When we were expecting our child, we made a pact. We vowed that one of us would be around with her all the time. Since Mahesh is mostly on the move on the tennis circuit, unless we are accompanying him, Saira moves with me wherever I go. That is what I love about my job. It gives me the flexibility to balance things out with my child.”

Of course, she has shed plenty of weight running around Saira. “It is a full day for me, on the run. I tuck in goji berries and lime to hold me in good stead,” she says, explaining the reason behind her glowing skin. “I think finding an eating pattern that works for you is half the job done. I prefer to split a hearty breakfast over three tiny meals across the morning hours,” she reveals. “That certainly works much better for me. And yes, I have been doing yoga for the past 15 years. Of course, I am big on spas. Even our honeymoon was spent 80 per cent in the spa, and 20 per cent outside the spa,” she laughs.

Fit as a fiddle

So how has life changed since becoming a mother? “I have become more subtle, definitely more patient, and I have learnt to become more humane,” she confesses. “There have been moments of humour that have helped me and Mahesh in maintaining our sanity, like the first time he attempted to change Saira’s soiled diaper while I was away.”

Back to movies. What’s next? After mentoring young Miss India aspirants in a reality television show, Lara is busier than the proverbial bee.

“Each day brings in something new for me. At the moment, I am working now on Azhar, the biopic on cricketer Azharuddin’s life, with my friend Abhishek Bachchan. Then there is Fitoor. Also, two films go on floors under the banner of my own production house, by next year. So it is a hectic calendar ahead,” she says. Time for another sibling for Saira? “Let me get my bearings! It hasn’t been easy getting back into shape after the baby.

Quite contrary to the popular misconception that you spring back into an enviable shape once the baby is out, and begin gracing magazine covers, it took me 18 months to get somewhere close to slipping into my pre-pregnancy jeans! That is the reality of life. Anything that anyone else tells you is untrue. But if you ask me the secret behind my ability to multi-task, I always believe, simplify your life.” With that glowing skin and athletic build, we believe you, Lara. Shine on!

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