Last August, Kareena Kapoor Khan and husband Saif Ali Khan made their second headline-making pregnancy announcement. In the 21 years since Kapoor Khan’s debut in 2000, curiosity around the third-generation star has never really waned. Her marriage to the older, father-of-two Saif Ali Khan and their coupling soon became paparazzi gold and industry lore. Then came Taimur, who, courtesy social media, became, from that very first swaddled image in the hospital, a viral sensation. This pandemic pregnancy promised to keep the shutterbugs busy, and Kapoor Khan didn’t disappoint. “The hardest part was dealing with the fear,” she tells me over Zoom, about her second time around. Kapoor Khan is now settled in her new home in Mumbai, wearing her signature kaftan, her hair in a top knot and that famous Kapoor skin glowing, with no vestiges of new-mum tiredness. “I was petrified to even enter the doctor’s clinic. How can anyone be prepared or know what to expect? It was just about trying not to get Covid and to protect the baby.”
ALL GUNS BLAZING
Pandemic notwithstanding, for the actor, it was business at a socially-distanced usual: shooting Laal Singh Chaddha (slated to release later this year) with Aamir Khan in Delhi, recording her radio show, supervising her new home and gathering at family lunches. All this, as her well-documented bump grew progressively in a series of fitted knits, shirt dresses, kurta co-ords and her favourite kaftans. Kapoor Khan is a proud working mother, and the misconception that pregnancy and mothering cannot co-exist with a career is one she’s tired of. “This time around I was judged a lot more. ‘She’s carrying a baby in Covid and working, and being lackadaisical.’ They did not see that I was taking all the precautions and trying to make myself feel better. And I don’t think these statements should be made, anyway.”
It’s partly what brought her, just a few months post-partum, to writing her own guide to pregnancy with Juggernaut Books. When publisher Chiki Sarkar approached Kapoor Khan with this idea, she jumped at it. “I’ve been very open and vocal about my pregnancies. If I could share the things that I went through and document my journey, why not?” For the book to succeed and have heft, Sarkar stressed that it was essential for her to be completely transparent and honest. “I was like, of course,” says Kapoor Khan, with emphasis. “If I’m going to do it, it will be all guns blazing.”
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