Juhi Babbar, who has acted in seven films including Kaash Aap Hamaare Hote and Yaaran Naal Baharan, was born in a family of film and theatre personalities. Father Raj Babbar is a noted actor, who later became a politician, and mother Nadira Babbar is a well-known theatre personality.
Juhi’s siblings, Aarya Babbar and Prateik Babbar, are also popular film actors.
The 43-year-old, who made her film debut with Kaash Aap Hamaare Hote, received rave reviews for her role as Harman Kaur in the movie Yaaran Naal Baharan. She got a role in a short film Reflections, a silent movie.
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Juhi played an advocate in Unns: Love Forever, which released in 2006.
Among her latest movies are the 2020 movie It’s My Life and Faraaz which was released last year and got screened at the London film festival.
Juhi wears many hats and she has more than 500 plays to her credit, and many of them got popular because of her commendable performances. Her latest play With Love, Aap Ki Saiyaara is not only written and directed by her but she has also acted in it. It got a standing ovation in Mumbai recently.
Married for 12 years with actor and anchor Anup Soni, she is a mother to a son and is enjoying her family life too.
Patriot’s Santosh Mehta spoke to Juhi about her recent experience in film and theatre:
Q: How do you like the roles played by your father in Bollywood films?
A: I loved his performances in many Bollywood films but he is known for his role in Hum Paanch during the 1980s. I also loved him in Prem Geet, Umrao Jaan, Nikaah, Aaj Ki Awaaz, Angaarey, Shapath and Insaf Ka Tarazu among others. His role as a villain in Insaf Ka Tarazu was loved by the audiences.
Q: How has been your experience working in a web-series? Or any upcoming film project?
A: I have worked with [media company] ENDEMOL for online platform (OTT). I have been shooting for my upcoming film with Reel Life Productions (Alvira Khan and Atul Agnihotri’s company). My role, which I will be playing for the first time, is good but challenging. I hope the audience loves my performance.
Q: How do you manage your role as professional actress with that of mother and wife?
A: As you know, women are gifted with the ability to multi-task and I have seen so many women balance professional life with family responsibilities. I am not an exception and am glad that I am doing the same and discharging my role as a responsible mother, daughter, wife and actress. Being trained professionally, I am able to handle these things but credit goes to my family.
Q: You have been away from limelight, what’s the reason?
A: I have not got good work and the kind of roles I wanted to play. I have waited for some time. Being an actress, I am always looking for roles which can satisfy my inner soul and entertain my audience. The other reason for not doing films is that I have got married and have a family. Later on, my son was also born, so I had to take care of my home and family as a priority.
Q: How did you get your role in Faraaz in Hansal Mehta’s film?
A: I am fortunate that the famous casting director Mukesh Chhabra suggested my name to Hansal Mehta Ji. So, I got this role. I was lucky to be part of the eminent film-maker’s project.
MOTHER’S ROLE: Juhi played the role of the mother of the protagonist in Faraaz
Q: You have played a variety of roles in films and plays. How do you like your role as a mother in Faraaz?
A: Yes, you are right. I have been acting in various roles like that of an advocate, playing lead female role and wife of famous painter M.F. Husain but this is quite different. I played the role of mother of Faraaz. I really enjoyed playing my beautiful character. As you know I am also the mother of my child, so this helped me do justice to my performance.
Q: Have you learnt your acting skills from the National School of Drama?
A: No, I felt there was no need to go there. Most of the critics also ask me this but I am fortunate to have two genius persons from that institution around me. One is my respected mother (Nadira Babbar) and the other is husband Anup Soni. Both are from the National School of Drama and I am glad to have them in my family. They support me from time to time.
Q: How do you like Delhi?
A: Delhi has a special place in my heart. All my relatives, uncles, aunts and cousins live here. I have spent a lot of time in Delhi during my childhood. I am always busy but I love to visit Delhi whenever I get time.
Q: Would you like to tell me some places in Delhi you love to visit?
A: Yes, I love to go to Sarojini Nagar for shopping. Khan Market is another attraction for me. Greater Kailash is my favourite place to visit and most of my friends live there. I enjoy eating momos in Delhi.
Q: Any unforgettable incident you would love to share with our readers…
A: Yes, I was shooting for my upcoming filmin old Delhi, close to Jama Masjid and the shooting lasted more than 30 days. I love the historic structure and surroundings, all these things attract me. I love Chandni Chowk. I cannot forget all those moments while I was shooting.
Q: Who do you credit for your success to?
A: I am thankful to my mother who gave me all the support and brought me into this beautiful world. She is the one who put me into theatre in Mumbai. Then my husband Anup Soni, who is dedicated in his profession. He has good command over Hindi and other languages. Besides these, he is technically sound and helps me in my cinematic work. Thus, my mother is a role model for me and I thank God for having them. Whatever I am today, it is because of my mother’s support.
Q: Any message for aspiring artists?
A: Yes, as an artiste or an actress I can say that work hard, do rehearsals. Do a lot of practice for your role. I love Hrithik Roshan’s dance steps. He works so hard. One has to put in serious effort, watch other actors’ performances to become a good actor. It’s not a casual job like any other profession. Getting into films is not an easy job as common people often think. One has to master the craft with sincere effort. I also teach fresh students and prepare them for cinema. I am a coach to them. Most of the newcomers focus on their hair and fitness but getting correct dialogues, speech therapy helps them. Everyone thinks he or she can become good actor but that is not the case. One needs to sharpen one’s acting skills and learn a lot.
Q: These days, a lot of unwanted and vulgar stuff is being shown on OTT platforms or web-series. What do you say?
A: OTT is the biggest entertainment platform these days and web-series are extremely popular. I agree that a lot of unwanted stuff is being shown. It affects children. As a responsible parent, one can decide what is good and what is not good for the kids. Due to increase in digital content, one cannot control these things but can decide not to see that stuff. Even on Youtube, there is a lot of stuff online but as a mother I am always conscious about what is best for my child.