Neha Dhupia and Angad Bedi welcomed their second child, a baby boy, a few days ago. In the middle of all the chaos at home, Neha takes some time off to promote her upcoming film Sanak, in which she plays the role of a cop. We spoke to her about the arrival of her new baby, working during the pregnancy and whether she plans to get back on a set anytime soon.
It’s just been 10 days that you delivered your second baby and you are already doing interviews.
I am just glad that I have the strength of getting up on my feet, mentally and physically sooner than a lot of people do. I think it is my bouncing back mentality that shows out here. I am also happy that the release of my film Sanak is coinciding with me giving birth. I feel like the surround sound is just that as women, we can do anything that we put our minds to.
How is the environment at home?
It is really an overwhelming feeling. There is such a positive environment in the house with a lot of love pouring in from everyone. With that, the sleepless nights have returned too (laughs). Especially as a mother, because a baby needs them more than anyone else. But I am not complaining as Angad tries to be there as much as he can. He is really cool and calm. Angad has been really hands-on and has taken over all the responsibilities of Mehr (their three-year-old daughter). As parents, Angad and I don’t want our daughter to feel misplaced or displaced by the presence of another baby as she is too young to understand. I am just making sure that a lot of my time is dedicated to looking after the baby, my health, Mehr and of course Angad and I are taking one day at a time with immense amounts of patience.
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How is Mehr reacting towards her baby brother?
Mehr is very excited. All through the pregnancy, Angad and I were getting her ready about having a sibling and that she will soon have to share her room. We also taught her that sharing is caring, so she shares all her favourite toys with the little one, although he has no clue what is happening. And after a minute or so, Mehr would be like, ‘I am done sharing. I am taking my toys.’ So it’s really cute. Before going to her classes, she waves to him and says a loud goodbye. Just yesterday, she was leaving for her class in the evening and she said ‘bye’ and mother replied, ‘Bye baby,’ and Mehr was like I am not a baby. She knows she is the elder sister now. She also gets curious when he cries so it’s really nice to see her bonding.
How different has it been this time around?
I was in a different mind space both personally and professionally during the first pregnancy. Professionally, I started work really soon but it was tough to come to terms with the mental, emotional and the physical changes. This time I was a lot more prepared and I told myself the sooner I get to terms with my condition, the faster I’ll be able to bounce back. The biggest relief was there was very little parental advice coming my way this time around. The one advice that I got was to treat Mehr in the most tender loving way even more than before and I have followed that to the T.
How has Angad been as a father?
Angad is a fantastic father. He is always there and gives his 100 per cent. I don’t have any complaints whatsoever. There are a lot of things like feeding the baby that he can’t do. But at the same time, he has taken up all the responsibilities of Mehr. From putting her to bed, to keep everything ready for school and other activities, he does it all. We have consciously divided the duties.
You were working up until your due date…
(Cuts in) I haven’t told this anyone, but I was working through labour and contractions. Like I was in the middle of contractions and was shooting. On a lighter note, you can put the crown back on my head which I won 20 years back (referring to her Femina Miss India pageant win) that I was working while having labour and contractions (laughs). But, I didn’t decide like that. I just felt that any opportunity that comes my way, and if I like it, I should not miss it. I just feel like if you have professional aspirations and personal dreams or vice versa, it shouldn’t be an option in a woman’s life. I have been in the business for 20 years, I have come a long way and I have a long way to go. I am aware of what my shortcomings are. Having said that, if I base my life and entire career on relevance and a little bit on talent and the name that I have made for myself, just because I want to start a family, I don’t want to take four years off. At the same time, I respect every mother and the choice she makes. If a mother wants to take a long maternity leave that should be completely acceptable.
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But is there a pressure of bouncing back?
There is a huge pressure to bounce back as the like that kind of doubles up as mothers and actors. And that’s what you need to fight. That is one of the reasons when you have to work through your pregnancy because you don’t need to be in a situation where you are gone. The one thing that has changed is it depends on the kind of roles you actually want to do. You mentioned the difference between two pregnancies and I want to tell you is that during the first one, I was creating opportunities for myself and during the second one there were opportunities that I wanted to create and were getting created. During Mehr, I was doing my own production and a few reality shows, this time around I was working on two films.
Are you already planning to get back to work?
No. I haven’t planned anything but there is a lot of mental calculations going around. One thing that I know is that I have these two little cute munchkins at home and the opportunity that comes my way including films, should really be good enough to leave them home. I am not sitting on a set or in a vanity van if it is not worth my while.
Tell us about Sanak.
I started shooting in December, and it was through the course of the film, I came to know that I was pregnant. But I am really proud of myself that I was firing pistols and ducking through the bomb blasts for the shoot and physically stretching myself to do a lot more. Luckily I wasn’t hired to do the front flows and the backflips because we had Vidyut Jammwal doing that in the film (laughs). Thankfully, in the first trimester, you don’t have physical changes so I am really happy that I could do this film.
Lastly, have you shortlisted any names for the newborn?
No, not yet. We are just enjoying our time right now and we will do it when the time comes.