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Amrita Rao: I don't feel that safe in India any more

Last updated on: March 7, 2012 18:29 IST

Amrita Rao: I don't feel that safe in India any more

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Avni Mehrotra

Eight pretty ladies from showbiz tell Avni Mehrotra about the women they admire, their fondest Holi memories, the Indian cities they feel are safer for women, what being sexy means to them and how they plan to celebrate Holi this year.

Geeta Basra: I haven't seen a woman as hardworking and as beautiful as my mother

What does fashion mean to you?

According to me fashion should be anything which you can carry off confidently and slip into comfortably. If you have the confidence to flaunt it, then go ahead and wear it!

What are your plans for Holi this year?

I don't have any plans for Holi this year. I'll be probably working or maybe take the day off as my skin cannot stand the colours.

Any childhood memory of Holi you would like to share with us?

Yes of course! When we were in UK, I remember that we kids entered a hall and ruined it with water colours. Our Brit friends didn't know what Holi was but still we had a ball throwing water and colours at each other.

Is there any one woman who has been your idol and a constant support all through your life?

For me, I think my mother Parveen Basra would be that one woman. It was she who supported my acting ambitions and stood by me when I wanted to come to Mumbai. I haven't seen a woman as hardworking and as beautiful as her.

What would you like to do for her on Women's Day?

Well I don't think I'll be able to, but I am trying my best to make her come down to Bombay so that I get to spend the entire day with her. I will probably take her out shopping or make her do anything she likes.

The NCW chief Mamta Sharma just said that women should take the word 'Sexy' as a compliment. What is your take on that?

Well, I definitely feel sexy is a complement as I will be flattered if someone calls me sexy. To me it will be an appreciation to not just my body but also how well I present my personality. And obviously, when you are a part of the glam industry being sexy is the biggest compliment you can ever get.


Image: Geeta Basra
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

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What does fashion mean to you?

Well for me fashion would be something very comfortable yet trendy and stylish. It is all about wearing those clothes which look good and can be easily imbibed with your body style.

Your plans for Holi this year...

Well this year, I have no special plans for Holi. It will just be a very simple affair with my family.

Childhood memories of Holi...

As kids Holi used to be the most awaited festival for us. I remember we all used to get up at 6 am and fill colour balloons and throw them on anyone and everyone in our residential complex.

Any woman idol and a constant support all through your life...

Yes, for me my grand mom, Basanti Amarnani, is one lady I really look up to. Even after going through some really bad times, she has always maintained a stoic front and giving strength to everyone around her.

What would you like to do for her on Women's Day?

Well I make it a point to see her every week but this Women's Day I really want to make her Sunday special. I am planning to send a chef over to her place to cook her favourite meal or send some musicians who can play her favourite songs and make her day.

The NCW chief Mamta Sharma just said that women should take the word 'Sexy' as a compliment. What is your take on that?

Of course sexy should be taken as a compliment. We all love to be complimented and appreciated on our looks and I really think being called sexy is not at all vulgar or cheap.


Image: Anjana Sukhani


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Tell us something about your collection for this Fashion Week...

My collection for today is titled Kathputli Kathak which is inspired by the vibrant colours and puppetry art of Rajasthan. The silhouettes are global amalgamating the rich embroidery from India.

The sexiest women in India...

Well I think Kareena Kapoor, priyanka Chopra, Mahie Gill, Kangana Ranaut and Bipasha Basu are really very gorgeous and sexy.

What does fashion mean to you?

Being a designer I think fashion is another way to enjoy life. We all love dressing up and wearing good clothes as that is what makes us appealing and look attractive.

Your plans for Holi this year...

I do have a lot of plans for Holi this year. I love the festival and am really looking forward to dress up in white and throw colours on all everybody.

Childhood memories related to Holi...

Earlier we had a building with almost 30 people living in it and preparations used to begin a month before the festival. We used to take out pipes and throw water and colours on each other. On the day of the festival my father used to bring jalebis for everyone which was religiously followed by a visit to Juhu beach with all the kids and their families.

Woman idol and a constant support all through your life...

Yes, my mom, Basant Malhotra. She is the most beautiful woman according to me and I completely idolise her for the way she brought us up. Later when you grow up in life and become a parent you realise how important upbringing is in the way you deal with people, react to situations etc which my mother taught me really well.

What would you like to do for her on Women's Day?

I would like to do everything possible that I can for her and I always try to do that. But this Women's Day I will just give her something really simple like a card or some flowers to go with it to get that beautiful smile on her face.

The NCW chief Mamta Sharma just said that women should take the word 'Sexy' as a compliment. What is your take on that?

Well I completely agree with her as sexy is really a compliment. Sexy is all about being attractive to the opposite sex. That's the reason we dress up and not roam about shabbily. People who take it in a negative manner really need to evolve with their mindset.


Image: Archana Kochar
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

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What does fashion mean to you?

According to me anything which is trendy but customised according to your body type and comfort zone would be fashionable.

Plans for Holi this year...

This year I am going to be in Delhi shooting a movie. Sadly I will really miss Holi back home in Mumbai.

Childhood memories of Holi...

My first brush with film industry happened at a Holi party. Incidentally when I was a kid, Shah Rukh Khan had bought his house and he had hosted a Holi bash there. Luckily I got entry to that through a common friend. That is one Holi which I will always remember.

Woman idol and a constant support all through your life...

Yes for me my grandmom, Sushila Rao would be that lady and co-incidentally her birthday is on the 8th of March. It is inspiring for me to see the way in which she took care of her in-laws and managed the entire household with a very limited income. I think these are certain things which our generation really needs to learn.

What would you like to do for her on Women's Day?

Sadly as I won't be in town on her birthday I won't be able to do anything on that day but I am definitely meeting her tomorrow with a cake baked by me.

As a woman, how safe do you feel in India, or let's say Mumbai specifically?

To make a very honest confession, I don't feel that safe in India any more. If you look at the Amboli case that happened recently in the heart of Mumbai, I don't think even Mumbai is safe any longer for women.


Image: Amrita Rao


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The sexiest women in India...

I think Nandita Das and Sonam Kapoor are really beautiful. Also Kangana Ranaut and Katrina Kaif are really sexy in some of their get-ups.

What does fashion mean to you?

I think fashion has now become a part of everyone you see around yourself. Everybody these days wants to look fashionable and really cares about the way they are looking. It's really nice to see these changes which have drastically come about in people's perception of fashion.

Woman idol and a constant support all through your life...

Honestly for me it's very difficult to take any one woman's name as our family boasts of complete girl power with four sisters and just one brother. Yes my mom, Manju Kharayat has definitely been a constant support but I derive my strength from my entire family including all my sisters who have loved and supported me all throughout my career.

What would you like to do for them on Women's Day?

I am in fact leaving tomorrow for Pune as I will be celebrating my nephew's birthday. All the women that I love and admire are going to be there. So I think it will b easy for all of us to do something for each other there.

Your plans for Holi this year...

Well I am not at all a Holi person. Though I don't mind playing with Gulal but they have to be herbal-based as the chemicals can be too harmful for your skin. Hence I always tell all my friends to play safe and try avoiding synthetic colours as much as possible.

As a woman, how safe do you feel in India or let's say Mumbai specifically?

Well I have travelled all over the world and I personally feel Mumbai is the safest city to travel. There are times when I have to travel late at night and I don't feel lonely at all. Moreover the people are genuinely nice and ensure that you feel safe as a woman


Image: Kavita Kharayat


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What does fashion mean to you?

Fashion for me is anything that suits your personality and gives you a chance to enhance and flaunt it.

Your plans for Holi this year...

I am really looking forward to play Holi this year because if I do it will after three years. I might be in Delhi for the festival and plan to celebrate it there.

Childhood memories of Holi...

Yes there is a very mischievous memory that I have of my school days. I remember once when I was with my school friends, instead of playing Holi with colours, we played it with mud. It hence turned out to be a very muddy Holi.

Woman who has been your idol and a constant support all through your life...

For me it would be my mother, Renuka Anantharaman. She is not just my idol but also my guru as she has taught me a lot about spirituality and positive thinking and how doing that helps you bring out the best in you.

What would you like to do for your mother on Women's Day?

Honestly I haven't as to what will I gift her this women's day but I am pretty sure that I will spend the entire day with her and make sure she does whatever she likes to.

The NCW chief Mamta Sharma just said that women should take the word 'Sexy' as a compliment. What is your take on that?

I would definitely take sexy as a compliment because that means I am doing a good job being a woman and taking perfect care of my looks and appearance.


Image: Lekha Anantharaman


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What does fashion mean to you?

When it comes to daily wear it's very important fashion should be something you are comfortable in which very importantly suits your body type and goes with your personality.

Your plans for Holi...

With two fashion weeks back to back, my plan for Holi is to just stay at home and rest. Also I am unwell today, so I will just take it easy on the festival.

Childhood memories of Holi...

All my life, I have never even once celebrated Holi. But as a child I remember throwing water balloons at people whom I didn't like in my colony just to annoy them.

A woman who has been your idol and a constant support in your life...

Yes for me it would be my mother, Cinderella Pinto who has always stood by me and supported me. I can't take anyone else's name as I have grown up seeing and idolising her as a woman

The NCW chief Mamta Sharma just said that women should take the word 'Sexy' as a compliment. What is your take on that?

I think a comment like this is really stupid coming from a respectable person like her. I don't think Indians are mature enough to take it in an appropriate manner. If everyone starts calling out women sexy, then we will be taken for granted in no time at all.

As a woman, how safe do you feel in India, or let's say Mumbai specifically?

I have visited a lot of countries across the world, but I really feel safe out here in Bombay. You step out at any time in the night and you will find someone or the other on the road, it's not a dead city at all. There are people who are ready to help you in case of any difficulty giving me all the more reasons to come back to Mumbai.


Image: Candice Pinto
Photographs: Sanjay Sawant/Rediff.com

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What does fashion mean to you?

I think fashion is something that constantly keeps changing according to people's likes and preferences. The best bit is that how some clothes never get old because the changing fashion keeps adding that contemporary feel to them.

Your plans for Holi...

This year I haven't made any plans as yet for Holi as my parents are in Bangalore and I would be here. Just think I would be working the whole day.

Childhood memories of Holi...

I think the last time I celebrated was quite some time back. I once remember me and my school friends went to a huge playground and played Holi for the entire day. It took us almost a week to get rid of the colours!

A woman who has been your idol and a constant support all through your life...

I know it may sound cliche but it just has to my mom, Anuradha Babu. She is a yoga instructor and has supported me in everything all throughout my life. She is like a friend to me who knows everything about me. I don't think I would want to look up to anyone else apart from her.

What would you like to do for your mother on Women's Day?

This Women's Day if I could I would really want to take her out for shopping, get her a spa treatment, go for an exquisite lunch and dinner and give her that one day of relaxation.

As a woman, how safe do you feel in India, or let's say Mumbai specifically?

I feel of all the cities in India, Mumbai is the safest as compared to Delhi and Bangalore. Though as a woman I don't feel so safe in India. Wherever I go, I always need company and avoid travelling alone by all possible means.

The NCW chief Mamta Sharma just said that women should take the word 'Sexy' as a compliment. What is your take on that?

I don't think sexy nowadays should be taken as anything cheap or vulgar. It is just another way to compliment a person. Honestly I'll be flattered if someone calls me sexy.


Image: Kritika Babu


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