Namrata Shirodkar had to wait for five years to marry the love of her life Mahesh Babu. God knows how long she will wait to watch his new film Maharshi. “I never can bring myself to watch Mahesh’s films,” Namrata reveals with a laugh. “It’s way way too stressful for me. All his family members are eager to attend and enjoy previews of his films like normal people. Not me. I sit at home chewing my nails, praying, wondering if this one will be as big as the previous one, and so on. It’s agony. Mahesh tells me to chill. But that’s impossible to do,” laughs Namrata nervously as she monitors the opening box office collections of Maharshi everywhere.
Namrata is pleased by the figures. “The opening is stupendous everywhere. The praise is pouring in.” Ironically Namrata never really bothered about her own career at all. “You are right. I didn’t really care about my own career. I never sought roles never asked any director to sign me. I did some really big films like Vaastav with Sanjay Dutt, Pukar with Anil Kapoor and Jab Pyar Kissise Hota Hai with Salman Khan. I didn’t make any effort to cash in on their success. It was my sister (actress Shilpa Shirodkar) who was career-driven. I was laidback. I never bothered with box office, etc. I guess I’m making up for my own lack of interest in my career by being so keenly interested in my husband’s career.”
Namrata gave up her successful career in Bollywood to be Mrs Mahesh Babu in 2005. And she has never looked back. “There was never burning desire to be a top actress in the first place. I happily gave up my career to marry Mahesh. Touchwood, in the 14 years of our marriage there has never been a single moment of regret or bitterness. People find it hard to believe that we’re so happy together after all these years.”
Acting career for her children Gautham and Sitara? “I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s too stressful. But they are welcome to become actors if they so wish,” says Namrata who is full-time mother. “No compromise on the time needed for my motherly duties. Everything else comes later.”
It is said that Namrata runs Mahesh’s personal and professional life, that he doesn’t take a single decision without consulting her. She laughs, “It just seems that way. And of course he consults me on all important matters. But Mahesh is a fiercely independent-minded individual. He respects my opinion. But that doesn’t mean he will blindly accept all my decisions.”