Every little thing that Kareena Kapoor Khan does is a news magnet. Her personal fashion choices, gym routines, airport trips and photo shoots help churn the everyday online news cycle, as do appearances of her son, Taimur Ali Khan Pataudi. With Saif’s Sacred Games becoming successful on Netflix, the actor stands validated. Between the both of them, Kareena and Saif are riding a crest, making them a desirable and highly aspirational couple for Indians.
While Kareena’s success with her comeback post motherhood is also unprecedented, another aspect of her often doesn’t get due attention. In more ways than one, Kareena is a balanced family person. Be it her marriage in a prestigious royal family or her relations with her husband’s children from his first marriage, she has managed to maintain her identity and equanimity in her personal life with grace.
Often, house parties and family get together of the Kapoor Khandaan get featured on social media handles and clicked by paparazzi. It is evident that Kareena does a fine job of keeping Sara and Ibrahim, Saif’s children from his marriage to Amrita Singh, close to the fold. As she had stated on Koffee with Karan a few years back, she is not a mother to them. They have a mother in Amrita; instead, she is a friend. Kareena shares a positive equation with her mother in law Sharmila Tagore, an esteemed movie star and celebrity; and sister in law Soha Ali Khan. Her position as a luminous movie icon has not interfered in her ability to personally navigate her relationships with in-laws. Yet she retains the position of being a movie star in her own right.
Kareena’s ability to manage multiple relationships and wear multiple hats could be an outcome of having come from a broken home. One doesn’t want to crystal gaze or read tea leaves here. But both Kareena and Karisma Kapoor, her elder sister, have suffered because their mother Babita was separated from their father, Randhir Kapoor. Always the first to credit the protective caregiver role that her mother played, and the unquestioned support that she got from her sister Karisma, Kareena faced the least brunt of family separations. She aspired to become a heroine when her sister Karisma had already cleared the path; having faced rejection and struggle as the Kapoor Khandaan at large, didn’t approve of her career choice. Yet, to live life in the shadow of a powerful family, and not really gain much from the surname, couldn’t have been easy for either sister. Undoubtedly, both were talented actors; one can safely say Kareena always shone out as a natural born actor. She chose to play different roles whenever she could for in her heydays; there weren’t that many un-clichéd female characters to pick from. Despite a solid flop run for years, she emerged on top with Jab We Met. Basically, she survived the challenges of an actor’s life with flying colors.
Marrying Saif Ali Khan brought about a paradigm shift in Kareena’s overall persona. She was calmer, composed and less reactive. Quite amusingly, she began to read. While it was Robert Galbraith, it is still a start. She began to sound sophisticated and mature. Over time, this trait has firmed up too. A continuous flow of pouty pictures from various couches, sofas and table tops at house parties with BFFs can be exhausting (yawn!). Look beyond the superficial gloss, and it’s not hard to spot that she has grown up. She is confident, self-assured and sure-footed about her choices. It’s this ability to balance it all that has diluted the reality that Saif’s daughter Sara is now set to make a film debut as heroine. In the past, Kareena might have been forcibly retired as ‘too old’. Not anymore. In her ability to stay in form, fit and very fashion- forward, this Kapoor scion has sustained her stardom quite successfully.
While nanny’s pay makes news, constant media glare seems to have become more of a part of the life of Kareena, Taimur and Saif than an intrusion. She smiles and waves at cameras with or without makeup and styling. That’s confidence speaking for you. Now a host of a radio talks show, Kareena is making an effort to present her conversational, thinking self out there. Despite the finesse, one would be hard pressed to find her intellectually driven. However, her aspirational value more than makes up for it. The fact that she respects her sister-in-law Soha and husband Saif for their high-minded dinner table chatter, at least in public, works to her advantage. In the end, Kareena Kapoor Khan embodies the successful new age career-driven mother and wife in cinema today.
Most of life for a woman is managing things, irrespective of her position in the professional universe. Kareena has mastered this art- of managing multiple tasks and demands on her time. There’s a lesson there for most of us.