Juuhi Babbar Sonii is a virtual powerhouse of energy and emotions, both on and off the stage and silver screen. When you converse with the actor, you realise why she is such an instant hit with children. Honest, expressive and gifted with a sparkling sense of humour, Juuhi slips with ease into theatrics as we talk. Blame her genes: with dad, actor and political stalwart Raj Babbar; and mom, theatre major Nadira Zaheer Babbar of the famous Ekjute Theatre Group, acting is in Juuhi’s system. She strikes a balance between acting and raising her son, Imman A Sonii, with actor husband Annup Sonii. Excerpts from a conversation with Express Parenting:
Has Imman attended your famous summer workshops for children?
Yes, he has. Imman turns eight this year. The eligibility is six years for my workshops at Ekjute. By God’s grace I share a deep connection with children. I simply love acting, it is in my system.
How well do you make use of your theatrical ability, as a mom, with Imman?
Honestly, I create excitement even in the simplest of conversations. For instance, when I am asking him about things that happened during the day. I show through my expressions that I am very curious and interested – which I truly am, but the difference is that I show it clearly, unlike most of us who will listen to our children, but while doing other tasks. It is very important for your child to read in your eyes and on your face that you are genuinely interested in what she or he is saying. Our conversations are very animated as I develop the narrative through my inquisitiveness.
How important is ‘talking’ per se in your relationship with Imman?
I talk a lot with Imman. It is vital to our relationship. Imman is a very expressive child. I have always had a logical conversation with him to probe what is bothering him, if he is upset. Then we reason it out: is crying the solution? Then continue sobbing. Else, we can resolve the issue. He is very sensitive and emotional. As a family, all of us run very high on emotions!
What about Imman’s bond with his grandparents?
My father’s sheer persona – his stature in films, politics, in the family tree – precedes him. As kids, we dared not even touch his special chair. It was reserved for him. Cut to 2020. When Imman enters nana nani’s house, my father tells him “You are my boss” (eyes round in disbelief). Can you imagine the level of pampering? My mother behaves like a five-year-old around Imman. My father is a shade better. He behaves like a 10-year-old around his grandson. Anything that needs to be done, or ordered, when I ask him, he retorts promptly “Ask my boss”!
Shilpi Madan for Indian Express