The very beautiful Namrata Shirodkar, better known in Hyderabad as superstar Mahesh Babu’s wife, is happier than she ever imagined she would be. “It’s been 14 years of marriage and 4 years of courtship before that. We’ve been together in every sense, through all these years and I feel we’ve been growing together. Now there are the two children Gautam and Sitara whom we’re watching grow up. It’s the most blissful feeling in the universe. I wouldn’t exchange this life of mine for anything in the world,” says Namrata who was never very career-oriented when she left Mumbai and Bollywood to become Mrs Mahesh Babu.
“I don’t have even a moment of regret for leaving my career behind. You know better than anyone else that I was never career-oriented, not in the way other heroines are. Of course I took my work seriously. But I never solicited work, never sought fame or money. I got what came to me. I remember getting a call from Mrs Jaya Bachchan after my film Vaastav (with Sanjay Dutt, directed by Mahesh Manjrekar) saying I should have got the National award for my performance. Those rare moments of acknowledgement were enough reward for my career.”
Once she met Mahesh Babu it was only he for Namrata. “I happily moved to Hyderabad. We had to wait for four years before we could marry. I used that time to wrap up my work and my family obligations in Mumbai and after marriage it’s just been Mahesh and now the children for me. I hardly socialize here in Hyderabad. Even if Mahesh has to attend a function I’d rather be home with the children with my hair oiled.”
Does she miss Mumbai? “My parents are no more. So the incentive isn’t there. My sister (actress Shilpa Shirodkar) was never around. She got married and left for England. She’s always on the move. So moving to Hyderabad to be with the love of my life was just the life I dreamt of. Funny, all my dreams have come true.”
At home the best time is when the family is together. “Whenever Mahesh is not working he is at home with me and the children. He loves to dance with our daughter Sitara. There is the one dance step that the two of them have been trying to master for weeks now. Neither father nor daughter is able to do it. As for me, the less said about my dancing abilities the better. Our son Gautam is very shy just like his father. So Mahesh has to pull him into the father-daughter dance binges.”
How does Namrata like being called the power behind the throne? “You know, people believe Mahesh does what I ask him to. That’s not true. He may look shy and gentle. But he knows his mind. All his career decisions are taken by him. He decides which film to do. But he does share the plot and script idea with me though in a casual way. As for the way he dresses up, well I do advise him on the clothes to wear. But again, the final decision is his. But yes, if he dresses differently from the other actors in Andhra I could have influenced his sartorial choices. I don’t deny that.”
Right now Namrata is celebrating the grand success of her husband’s latest release Bharat Ane Nenu which has already crossed Rs. 160 crore rupees.
She beams, “It is the biggest success of his career. I can’t tell you what a joy it is especially since Mahesh’s last two films were disasters. Mahesh hates to let down his fans. He feels a sense of responsibility towards them. When his last two films didn’t do well he was constantly questioning himself and his choices. Bharat Ane Nanu has answered the question on what his audience wants. I feel as though I’ve just won a marathon race.”
On top of the success is the news of Mahesh being waxed at Madame Tussaud’s. “The first actor from Andhra to be so honoured! We are both humbled and overjoyed. If he is seen as the face of Telugu cinema it’s not just my prayers. It’s also the prayers and love of all his fans.”
Mahesh, Namrata and the two kids are now off for a month-long holiday. “I feel we’ve earned this break. I am exhausted. I just want to meditate, do nothing for a month. Then there is the next film to worry about.”