I can’t believe Sonam is actually married. When I first saw her she was a little more than a child on the sets of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Black, bustling around trying to make herself useful.Dressed in a suitably…umm…black Salwar-Kameez she was every inch the functional assistant on the set.
Clearly she was enjoying the part, though an edge of nervous anxiety was evident.
Shouting across the room to ask a slightly noisy junior artiste to calm down or running across to give the director his tea, she was touchingly eager to make herself useful. Sanjay and I would look at each other and smile at her enthusiasm.
During breaks she would run to the film’s leading lady Rani for some girlie gossip. Rani was Sonam’s father Anil Kapoor’s heroine and though there was some gossip about them I saw no awkwardness between the two girls as they shared breaktime chana and tea. Rani asked me to join in.
The second time when I met Sonam she was my friend Sanjay Bhansali’s heroine. Both Ranbir and Sonam came to the Taj Lands End with Sanjay to meet me , my daughter , my niece and nephew. Sonam was warm but not excessively so. She was vibrant and childlike. In her enthusiasm , she had dropped one of her ear rings in our hotel room.
At dinner Ranbir was given the chore of ordering food . He ordered enough food for a famished battalion at the war front.Lots of wastage .Sonam preferred to just chat and be nice to the children.When it comes to being friendly and reaching out she remains naturally gregarious, like her father(and unlike her brother).
A day before the premiere of Saawariya we were all at a Chinese restaurant in Mumbai celebrating my daughter’s birthday. Sonam was the only one thoughtful enough to bring her a present.
Most importantly unlike her co-star Ranbir Kapoor in Saawariya she kept her relations with me going over the years.
Doing Saawariya was not easy for Sonam. She had to work hard to get her lines and scenes right.I remember sitting and watching for hours while she tried to master a few steps for a song. Ranbir had got them right in the first take.Sonam was struggling with her steps.She was close to tears .We sat watching in misery.Adding to my woe was the fact that Sonam’s sister Rhea insisted on calling me ‘Uncle’
Eventually there came a point in the shooting when Sanjay was ready to shut down the film. His sister Bela and I had to intervene.
Finally after Saawariya released Sonam was compared with the legendary Waheeda Rehman.
But more than any predecessor I think Sonam is her own person. Self-willed and extremely conscious of her image as a fashionista, she doesn’t take her life in the movies to be her raison d’etre. Over the years she has learnt to take her acting career seriously.
I think Neerja was a turning-point in Sonam’s career. Veere Di Wedding which comes just after Sonam di Wedding would amplify her keen desire to remain an active actress after marriage. Nothing will change for Sonam after marriage. She will continue to be the fashion queen, albeit one whose husband will be cheering for her as she walks the ramp in every fashion pageant held in Paris and Pathankot.
I can only wish a blissful wedded life for Sonam. She deserves