Do not ever doubt yourself and be confident in your abilities

Advises veteran actor Himani Shivpuri on International Women’s Day

Do not ever doubt yourself and be confident in your abilities
Veteran actor Himani Shivpuri.

On International Women's Day, Himani Shivpuri aka Katori Amma from &TV's Happu Ki Ultan Paltan talks about what it takes to be a woman, some of the women she admires and about portraying a strong woman character. Here are excerpts from a candid conversation with her:
•    What does International Women's Day theme on 'Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world' mean to you?
•    As the unfortunate pandemic hit the world, women across different walks of life came forward to rescue people in the form of healthcare workers, scientists, care givers, police, so on and so forth. And while they were individually managing their professional and personal lives, they were always on their feet. This is what defines the real contribution towards achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world. Women today be it in metro cities or tier two cities are bold, go-getters and confident in their dreams and there is no stopping them. 

•    Who is the most inspiring woman to you and why?
•    While there are many women who have significantly contributed and played a big role in my personal and professional journey, my mother stands out as she has always been my constant source of inspiration. Right from imparting the right knowledge and values in me, she did everything to the best of her ability. She was the one who introduced me to the term ‘the show must go on.’ and taught me the real meaning of it. Hence even when she fell ill and, on the day, she passed away, I tried to give my best performance in a play that I was doing at that time as a tribute to her.   

•    For the past year, we have been battling the pandemic situation in the country. How have you managed to keep up with your work at a time when recession and economic slowdown hit the world?
•    There is no doubt that the pandemic caused a lot of discomfort and instability, but I along with many other people had to bounce back. So, even when I was detected with the virus and hospitalised, I decided to fight it with a lot of positivity and get back to my normal life. I focused a lot on my mental health, spent time meditating and doing yoga. After things started opening, I tried to adopt many safety procedures as I joined back work so that while I stay safe, others around me are also safe. But I must mention, the one thing that kept pulling me through that time was the love I received form my well-wishers and fans. And like me, many women around the world would have faced a similar situation or worse but always remember, positivity is the key to a good life.

•    What do you think is the biggest issue today facing women of your age, especially the working women having to find a work-life balance?
•    We women often tend to be over-bearers especially when it comes to our family, but what happens in the bargain is that we ignore ourselves completely.  We make time for our family, children and jobs but make no time for our health and wellbeing. This I think is one of the biggest issues we as women face even today. While many do blame the society for making us like this, I think we should start selfishly looking out for ourselves. After all a healthy woman makes a healthy family!

•    Your character has struck a chord with the viewers. What according to you, is the USP of this role/character?
•    Katori Amma is a stubborn, unpersuadable old lady who has her own special charm. She is the one who believes in living life truly to its fullest. Her bindass nature is what makes her stand out from other people at her age. Katori Amma is shown as a strong mother figure, she is full of vigour and knows how to get her way. She is full of life around her grandchildren, and a stern yet loving mother to her son Happu (Yogesh Tripathi) and a mother-in-law to Rajesh (Kamna Pathak). Hers is a multi-dimensional role with the subtlety of a motherly role.

•    What does it mean to be a woman, according to you?
•    This question reminds me of a well-known song’s lyrics that go like “…Yes I am wise, but it's wisdom born of pain. Yes, I've paid the price, but look how much I gained. If I have to, I can do anything. I am strong. I am invincible. I am woman!” I think being a woman is staying true to yourself and your thoughts. And while many may pass on their thoughts or force it upon us, we as women should ultimately do what we think is suitable for us. 

•    One message for all the young girls and women you would like to give?
•    Dream big and work towards fulling and living your dream. Do not ever doubt yourself and be confident in your abilities.