'A mother is she who can take the place of all others but whose place no one else can take.' Actress Flora Saini echoes a similar sentiment. For her, her mom Kamal is a superwoman.
"I am someone who gets stressed easily while I am never seen my mom getting stressed for anything. She believes that every problem comes with its solution. It teaches you something. There's so much to learn from her. I wish I was at least one percent as talented as her," the Stree actress candidly confesses with a laugh. Well, life doesn't come with a manual, instead it comes with a mother.
On the occasion of Mother's Day, actress Flora Saini, known for films like Stree, Begum Jaan and web series like Aarya and Paurashpur, in an exclusive tete-a-tete with Filmibeat, gets candid about her equation with her mom and narrates some interesting anecdotes from her life.
Excerpts from the chat.
Q. How significant has been your mother's role in your life?
A. It's been very significant. Being the only daughter and the only child, it comes with its benefits as your parents are over-protective. My father was in the army. When I started schooling, my mother also joined the school as a teacher. She was my class teacher when I was in first or second standard. We used to go to school together.
I never went to college because I started working early. When I started doing movies in the south film industry, coming from an army background to a civil environment where people speak a completely different language, I was so blessed that I had a mom who thought that I am her only responsibility. Her life revolves around me right from whether I ate my food to with whom I am going out.
During the lockdown, I realized how blessed I am to have my mom with me. I had some major ups and downs in my life. She has been a constant support especially in times when I have messed up or broken down. Sometimes I think that tomorrow when she won't be around, what will I do because my whole life revolves around mom and her life revolves around me. We are soulmates, we are sisters, we fight but we love each other. We can't live without each other. We have seen the ups and downs together in life. Whenever there's any problem, she's the one who handles it better.
Q. Has your dynamics with her changed over the years?
A. I think my mom has always been a friend to me. I was a very shy, reserved child till the age of 24-25 years. Then, there was a dark phase where nobody could believe that things had happened to me. So, my mom has seen so many of my phases and I thank her for bearing with me. (laughs).
I remember when I was in the nursery, I used to travel by school bus. One day when she was giving me a bath, she saw blue marks on my body. She asked me about it and I started crying. I told her that there was this boy in the bus who used to pinch me. As a kid, I was someone who would never say no or ask 'why you are doing this?' My only reaction used to be crying. Next day, she accompanied me in the bus. I was scared because I thought that if she scolded that boy, everyone in the school would turn against me and nobody would want to be friends with me. My mother sat next to that boy and started pinching him. She told him, "Dekha aise dard hota hai. Aise hi usko dard hua tha jab tumne pinch kiya". (laughs)
Another incident happened when I was in school. Once, I was left hungry as a group of girls ended up eating the food in my tiffin box and ate theirs too. The next day, she visited the school and gave them a earful saying, "It's okay if you share a tiffin. But it's not okay if you take her tiffin, eat yours and hers, and leave her hungry." In short, my mom has taken up fights for me.
She would buy movie tickets for me and my friends. She would take all of us in her car, drop us at the theatre hall and make sure that we enter the theatre. I used to tell her, 'Mummy, this is not bunking. We want to bunk school to watch movies post exams. You are technically not supposed to know this." In turn, she used to say, "You are bunking. I don't know about this." My friends are also close to my mom and take relationship advice.
I don't know how but a lot of time, the things that she says come true. I remember this one time, I started liking a guy and told my mom that I wanted to invite him home. She agreed and that guy came home late. I introduced that guy to her and she gave him an unwelcome look. Once he left, my mom told me that she never wanted to see that boy ever again in the house, and I was like, 'Why? He's so nice." She replied, "Have you seen his eyes? I can judge him from that. He is not good." I wasn't convinced by her reason. And guess what, my mom's words turn out to be true.
Q. If you have to imbibe one quality from your mother, what would that be?
A. The thing that she doesn't stress about anything in the world. I have never seen my mom stressed, worried or sad. She is one happy soul who is managing the show and everything is on time.
When things were not going great on the work front, somebody suggested me to change my name. They told me the name 'Flora' is not lucky for me. So, I changed the spelling but I didn't like it. Then, someone suggested me to change me name to Mayuri and I did that for a brief time. My mom told me, "Listen, don't change your name. Even if your name is Amitabh Bachchan but if your time is not right, you have to go through the drill. When your time is good, your name does not matter. Everyone has to go ups and downs. Your name Flora has my vibrations and I can't go wrong. I fought with my family because everyone was unhappy and asked why I chose a Catholic name for you."
My mom had heard the name Flora in a play on the radio when she was expecting me. She loved the name so much that before my birth, it was decided that if it was a baby girl, she would name her Flora. When I was born, everyone said, "Yeh kya naam hai. Punjabiyon mein aise naam nahin rakhte." She refused to listen and told them, "Listen, my daughter, my name."
Trust me, the name 'Mayuri' never worked; what worked for me was the name 'Flora'.
Filmibeat wishes all the readers a very Happy Mother's Day!