Women’s Day 2022: ‘My daughters told me I should do what I want for myself without feeling guilty,’ says Akanksha Malhotra on her comeback – Times of India

Remember Salman Khan donning the uniform for the hit flick ‘Garv’? Well, he’s not the only star who is vividly remembered as the film garnered a lot of attention for actor Akanksha Malhotra as well, who rose to fame with her impactful supporting role.

Post ‘Garv’, the actress went missing from the big screen as she shifted base to New York and took up new roles as a wife, a businesswoman and later a mother of two daughters. As we celebrate International Women’s Day today, ETimes had a quick chat with the actress who is now all set for a comeback against all odds.

How are you prepping up for your Bollywood comeback? Are you looking forward to reuniting with Salman Khan?

I have been working out a lot, trying to do my best to be in good health and shape, and look good. I am doing some workshops and catching up on all the shows that I have missed.

Working with Salman in ‘Garv’ was indeed the best thing I had experienced and working with him again is going to be just another blessing in disguise. I have deep admiration for him and respect him a lot.

Bollywood has changed a lot since your last film ‘Garv’. Are you nervous about the expectations?

There has been a huge change and I think the change is great. Things have become a lot more professional and a lot more streamlined. There are so many platforms today and so much work is happening today that I am actually really, really excited to get back. I am looking forward to doing some great quality content.

From being an actor to a businesswoman to mother of two kids, how has it been for you? Do you think it’s a lot harder for women to mark their place in the industry?

It’s been a beautiful journey – being an actor, starting a business from scratch, being a daughter, a wife and a mother of two gorgeous girls – these experiences I have had playing all these roles have actually helped me in so many ways. It helps me now to adapt myself to any character that comes my way with ease. There’s no better way than to use our life experiences on-screen. I think today women are at par with men and the industry has changed and come a long way.

You left your acting career behind and started a family. What made you think that this is the right time to return? How has your family reacted to it?

I left Mumbai and lived in New York for seven years, thereafter I was in Delhi and finally moved back to my hometown, Mumbai this year. Acting is in my blood and it’s the one thing I am most passionate about, but because I had responsibilities and didn’t live in Mumbai, I couldn’t pursue it. Now that my children are older and independent enough, knowing how passionate I am about working, it was they who told me that I should do what I want for myself without feeling guilty. I feel we women get so emotional and feel guilty to do things for ourselves that we forget our own identity. My decision to move back to Mumbai, the support of my parents, husband and children have pushed me to come back to the industry.

What are your thoughts on sexism in Bollywood?

I think the industry has evolved a lot. There used to be a phase where men and women were treated differently. Men were given better and more prominent roles and paid higher, but now I think there is a change. Today women are given the same respect and looked upon with equality.

Behind every successful woman is another strong woman. How would you describe your bond with Shilpa Shetty and Shamita?

There are truly no words to describe my bond with Shilpa and Shamita. We are soul sisters in the truest sense and I can’t begin to think of life without them being in it. They are both very different people and my bond with each of them is really special. We are each other’s strength and we would do anything for each other.

Shilpa’s strength is her attitude in life, her positivity and her manifestation of the best. No matter what she is going through she always has a calmness and a smile on her face. She always looks at the positive even in the negative things, and this is something I really want to try and implement in my life.

Shamita, on the other hand, has qualities that no one of us have. She is brave, strong, independent, fierce and practical as can be. With her, there’s no grey, it’s either black or white. In short, I am blessed to have these two people.

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