Supriya Pathak, who made her Bollywood debut with the 1981 movie, Kalyug, has come a long way in the Indian film industry. In a career spanning over four decades, the veteran actress hasn’t limited herself to Bollywood. She has spread her wings in regional languages — Gujarati, Malayalam and Telugu — cinema, theatre and even television. And now, the actor is testing the digital waters with web series like Cartel and the recently-released, Tabbar. Starring Pavan Malhotra, Ranvir Shorey, Kanwaljit Singh, and others, Tabbar is a crime thriller currently streaming on SonyLiv.
Having witnessed the change in Indian cinema over the years, Supriya is quick to point out the difference between the films of then and now. “In the old days, films were mostly based on emotional content that touched our hearts. Nowadays, our mind dominates our hearts. Films these days are made with a lot of thought and intelligence. We have left our hearts far behind. But I feel heartfelt films will come back with force. And I would prefer the amalgamation of the two: The emotional connect of the olden times and intelligent, mindful content of today’s,” Supriya shares.
The 60-year-old actor’s career trajectory boasts of an enviable body of work with films like “Kalyug”, “Masoom”, “Bazaar”, “Mirch Masala”, “Wake Up Sid”, “Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela”, “Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi” to shows “Idhar Udhar”, “Mohandas B.A.L.L.B.”, “Khichdi”. After a hiatus of 11 years, Supriya shined on the screen again in the 2005 Amitabh Bachchan-starrer, Sarkar.
Tabbar, which means family, sees Supriya trying her best to keep her reel family from falling apart. In real life, too, Supriya says she is happy to have a strong bond with her family members. Supriya hails from a family of some of the finest actors in the Indian film industry — mother, late Dina Pathak, sister Ratna Pathak Shah, brother-in-law Naseeruddin Shah and husband Pankaj Kapur. Her daughter, Sanah, made her acting debut in 2015 with Shaandaar, which also featured her stepson, actor Shahid Kapoor.
“I am happy in my personal life, and I feel blessed to have an understanding family. We share a deep bond, and both my children, Sanah and Ruhaan, also have a strong belief in the family system,” says the proud mother. Giving an insight into her relationship with her two children, Supriya says, “I am more like a friend to them. Sanah talks to me about everything, and Ruhaan speaks to me about things he can’t probably share with his father. I don’t have friends, and I am deeply attached to my family, which reflects the kind of relationship I share with them. It’s always been like that of friends.”
Adding further, Supriya says, “I think what Sanah has taken from us is love for acting. She wants to be remembered as a good actor. She is looking for good work and has no qualms about waiting for it. She is not facing financial problems, and can afford to take time in choosing projects,” Supriya avers.
“Ruhaan was studying in London to become an actor, and luckily he managed to finish his graduation just before the pandemic struck,” she adds.
Speaking highly about Shahid, Supriya says, “He works very hard. I am proud of his work, and I am happy that he is doing well professionally. He is also a good human being. I love pampering my grandchildren (Shahid’s children, Misha and Zain). I like to spoil them. My daughter-in-law, Mira, is doing a good job as a mother to bring up her kids well.”
Supriya and Pankaj have been married for 33 years. Ask her what’s her mantra of a successful marriage; the Khichdi actor says, “My mantra for a successful marriage is friendship and tolerance. Relationships need time. You can maintain a relationship only if you give it ample time, nurture it and not be in a hurry to break it.”
Talking about her husband, Pankaj, the veteran actor says, “We are like friends. So, for us, friendship is important. I have known him for 36 years and been married to him for 33 years, and we have always been like friends. We have grown together in our personal and professional life. We have a happy and calm life. He is an understanding person and a perfectionist.”
But with family dynamics changing, does she think the traditional joint family system is becoming redundant? “Everyone has their own thought process. Even when they live together, the attitude of people is individualistic. They don’t wish to engage in family activities despite being under the same roof. I think this is the modern way of living, which we all need to accept,” she signs off.