Despite hailing from an illustrious family, Bollywood actor Soha Ali Khan says she has lived most of her life in the shadows of the arclights than basking in their glory.
The actor, who has turned author with her debut book, The Perils of Being Moderately Famous, says being a recognisable public figure, one’s experiences can be both equally frustrating and amusing.
In her book, Soha talks about finding herself in different capacities – as legendary cricketer Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi and veteran Bollywood star Sharmila Tagore’s daughter, and actors Saif Ali Khan’s sister and Kareena Kapoor Khan’s sister-in-law.
Soha says, “I belong to a family of superstars. My parents achieved the highest level of success in their respective professions. My brother is a very successful actor, my sister-in-law is a superstar. Even Taimur (her nephew) was trending on Twitter even before he opened his eyes.
“There are all sorts of famous personalities. For most part of my life I was completely non-famous. My only identity was, I was a sibling or a daughter to these other famous people.”
Soha, however, is aware that being moderately famous has its own disadvantages.
“You’re recognised but a lot of people don’t know your name but they’ll know your sister-in-law’s. ‘Oh we are big fans of Kareena Kapoor,’ they’d say. I have spoken a little bit about what that feels like, whether good or bad.
“I’ve also joked with people who’ve stopped me and said ‘Are you Saif Ali Khan’s sister? Can we have a picture?’ and I’ve said ‘only if you can tell what my name is’.
The actor says she does not regret being “moderately famous”.
“Absolutely not… One shouldn’t get upset by all of this. This is a huge part of my identity which I’ve embraced – I’ve got a lot of security, comfort, warmth and respect out of being who I am, the things I didn’t earn but my parents did,” she says.
Talking about constant comparisons with her mother as a actor, Soha says being a star kid, it is one of those things that cannot be controlled.
“My first review, I remember, people said, ‘She looks her mother but acts like her father’. My father said, ‘I don’t know what that means. I am a very good actor’. He had done a lot of advertisements in the past!”
The Rang De Basanti star believes it is difficult to break free from the family image, but today she looks back at her career in a good light.
“People expect you to do big-budget films or the kind of films that may be my mother did. But when you want do something else, may be it can be difficult to break away and do your own thing.
“Now it has been 12-13 years, so it’s easy for me to look back with objectivity, humour find talk about the challenges.”
Soha says she hopes the book – which took her eight months write – would help clear people’s misconceptions about her.
Published by Penguin India, The Perils of Being Moderately Famous is scheduled to hit the bookshelves next month.