Even though she’s the daughter of two of the most famous yesteryears’ stars and is now married to another successful Bollywood name, Twinkle Khanna could never feel tinseltown’s pull the same way that her close ones did.
Immediately after her wedding in 2001, Twinkle quit Bollywood to focus on interior designing. More than a decade later, the actress-turned-interior designer feels that she has finally found her own space, and she doesn’t mind it anymore when she’s described as a superstar’s wife. “It was the happiest switch in the world. I could get down, sit on the ground and wear track pants and you know… I remember even polishing tables myself and I thoroughly enjoyed it. My fantasy in life is to just walk aimlessly and have no one ever see me and do whatever the hell I want. It was a great decision… It was in the last two years of my career that I decided to take this decision. I wanted to quit for at least four years, but my mum kept saying that ‘you are making a great living…’ But I was already doing things like making candles on the side. So, I was already married, I was doing this on the side and I was still doing movies. But, I just couldn’t handle the movie business anymore. So, I told my husband – at that time we were doing a movie together – just get me out of this so that I can do whatever I want to do,” she says.
And he did. Twinkle says that even then, her husband, Akshay Kumar, was the biggest support. She says, “He believed in me when even I didn’t know that I could come and reach this stage. And he believed in me like no one did.”
Perhaps that’s one of the reasons she doesn’t mind it when people still introduce her as Akshay Kumar’s wife. She says, “In the beginning I’d feel that I want to be known for my work and I took that very seriously. But once you reach a certain place in life, you enjoy different aspects of it because you have done the hard work. Because if I hadn’t put in that hard work, I would’ve felt that I don’t have my own identity. Now that I have established myself, the rest of it is all fun.”
But not all of it has been fun, especially when she had to start from scratch in the interiors business. She says, “I studied engineering drawing, but not interiors per se. I worked for two years as a site supervisor for a very well known Bombay architect, which is a really dogsbody kind of a job. I was making sure that the work gets done according to what the architect has specified but that is really the way to learn. I wish I had gone to school for it – it would’ve been easier.”
While she worked hard to prove herself, Twinkle says she deliberately kept away from being termed ‘glamourous’. She says, “For a long time, especially when I started out in this profession, I would not use that aspect because I felt it was taking away and I felt that people were not taking me seriously because of the glamour quotient. But now having been doing this for 10 years, or after sort of making a name for myself, I feel that it is okay for me to use that part of my life also. Otherwise, I really kept that very, very quiet for many years because I felt that I have to make a name for myself despite the fame.”
But this working woman lifestyle is also important to Twinkle for another reason – her son, Aarav. She says, “In India, since we have so much family support and we have so much help, every woman should work because even your child respects that. If you are actively cooking in the house and taking care of your child and have no help at all, then it’s okay. If you are not doing all of those things, then I think every woman should work because even your child sees that as a work ethic, and grows up with that. He respects you for it and somewhere values you more.”