You are back as Nandini Salgaonkar in
Drishyam 2. How has the journey with the
character been this time around?
Director Abhishek Pathak has pushed the envelope further this time around. It’s a strong character and though she is helpless, she wants to
protect the family. It’s a well-written character
that you can relate to, and the scenes are
extremely intense… I would say even more than the previous film. I know the crux of the story, but I haven’t watched the Malayalam original. I think it’s better to approach a different language adaptation as a standalone film, as it has its own style and treatment.
What was it like to work with Ajay and Tabu?
Ajay doesn’t talk much, he is a man of few words and gives you enough room to react as an actor. Maintaining that longevity as an actor for decades isn’t easy and he has achieved that. He acts, has directed and produced films… it’s inspiring to work with someone who is constantly reinventing and growing. I love to work with Tabu as well. She is so easy to talk to and is involved in every scene.
Your Indo-Russian real-life love story is what fairytales are made of. How did you meet your husband?
It was very random. We met on a boat in the Maldives and there was an instant connect. We both love travelling, are self-made and started working from a young age. His mom’s a teacher and dad’s an engineer, we had similar upbringing and background. We knew it might work. From the time we met, we travelled everywhere together for a year, and then our parents suggested we get married. We got married a year later on the same day that we had met for the first time (April 19).
What are the pros and cons of a cross-cultural
Of course, you need to explain a few things, but there’s a lot of beauty in diversity. I didn’t tell him that he doesn’t need to fast for Karva Chauth, he only found out this year that he didn’t need to (laughs). He has been fasting with me before that. He loves rajma chawal, roti sabji and ghar ka khaana over restaurant food. He is completely Indian now.
What does your husband Andrei think of the celebrity and paparazzi culture here?
We are based in Mumbai now as my work really got intense. He is quite funny and he loves the paps. For a Halloween bash, we were both dressed as Mumbai cops, and he enjoyed it. He kisses me when someone’s taking a picture because it’s cute. He is still learning the cultural differences as to how it’s not common for people to kiss in public here. He knew that I was an actor before he came here, but he didn’t know that I was a known face. He is not overwhelmed by the shutterbugs at all. I think my baby loves the cameras as well.
Has motherhood changed your perspective towards life?
It has taught me a lot. Yes, our lives have changed. We had a bohemian lifestyle, where we wouldn’t follow a set pattern. After marriage, we decided to go to Spain out of nowhere because we wanted to learn a new language or start a business. For some reason, that didn’t happen, so we went to South America instead and lived there for months. I would head back to India for my films and then go to London, we were constantly on the go. During the pandemic, our daughter was born, and our lives are drastically different now. She is like an anchor in our lives, and every life-changing experience makes you a better actor.
Is it tough being a globetrotting working mom?
The moment your child is born and you hold your baby, your heart is no longer yours. It changes you forever. Becoming a mother was beautiful, and I wanted to get back to work for her. I wanted her to know that I am a working mom and have always been a hard-working woman. Also, getting back wasn’t easy. I had to shed all my post-pregnancy weight and get back into shape within seven months. It was extremely hard, but the toughest was to leave her at home and go to work. I want the best for her, but I also want her to see who I am. The first time I travelled for work without her, I couldn’t sleep at night. You constantly ask yourself if you are doing the right thing. Perhaps, I am more serious about my work now because when she sees my films, I want her to say, ‘Mamma, that was great. I am happy you did this.’ She is 22 months old and says ‘Bye’ when I leave and hugs me when I return. I want her to be a child who sees that you need to work hard for the things you want.