'I'd love to act with my dad'

'I'd love to act with my dad'

Gifted girl

'I'd love to act with my dad'

honoured Juhi Babbar

Being the daughter of yesteryear superstar Raj Babbar and veteran actress Nahida Babbar hasn’t stopped Juhi Babbar from carving a niche for herself.

Instead of doing cliched Bollywood films, Juhi opted to perform challenging roles on stage. And it is this decision of hers that proved fruitful as she was recently honoured with the biggest award in theatre — The Sangeet Natak Academy National Award – Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Rashtriya Puraskar.

“I am thankful to the academy for coming up with this award. Before, artistes used to be felicitated with this award only after giving their entire lives to the art,” Juhi tells Metrolife.

Juhi started her theatrical journey in 1999. Her first play was a Parsi style play called Yahudi Ki Ladki.

She was also seen in plays like Begum Jaan and Ji Jaisi Aapki Marzi, which were greatly appreciated.

“I help in costume designing backstage as well,” says the graduate from National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT).

When she is not on stage, she works with underprivileged children and with an initiative called ‘ICCHHA’, which stands for ‘I Can Create Hope Health and Awareness’.

“It’s about ‘theatre in education’. Theatre should be introduced as a mandatory subject in schools as it’s one of the most socially responsible arts.” Juhi debuted in Bollywood with Kaash Aap Hamare Hote opposite Sonu Nigam. She also did two Punjabi films.
But she wasn’t seen on the silver screen after that.

“I wasn’t happy with the offers I was getting. And everyone knows how easy it is to get work in the industry — all you have to do is stay around. It’s true especially for girls as what do they have to do anyway?” she asks.

“But cinema has undergone a great change now and girls are getting good offers. I probably would have gotten better work had I debuted now,” she adds.

Which actress does good work, according to her? “Vidya (Balan) is getting some good work and Kareena (Kapoor) has also emerged as a great actress.”

Juhi gets many offers from television as well but she calls TV “a money-making machine”.
“I did only one show called Ghar Ki Baat Hai, and that too because it was produced by Shah Rukh Khan’s production house and I am a big fan of his,” she laughs.

What does she think about her brothers — Arya and Prateik, who have been greatly appreciated? “They are both talented and gifted,” she says.  “Arya has had a huge struggle. He has proved that patience pays.”

 She adds, “There were times when he would just wait for roles. But he never let frustration get to him. He used his free time excellently and is now coming out with a graphic novel. He is also doing the upcoming films of big directors like Aneez Baazmee and Farah Khan.”

With her theatre company completing 30 years soon, she is all set to act in a new play. “But we are confused on what to pick as we want to be challenged as actors.”
Who would she love to perform with on stage?

 “I’d love to act with my dad. Like many others, my father drifted away from theatre as it doesn’t pay well. But it’s high time he makes a comeback to theatre.”

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