Even though Anil is proud of his humble beginnings, he doesn’t feel that his daughter is having it easy in the film industry. “Star children have to work hard. Her struggle is different from mine. People expect a lot more from you if you are celebrity kid. Sonam has to fight a lot. The thing is, people love underdogs. Even if star children do something good, people will say ‘No yaar, isme dum nahi hai’ (No, she’s not convincing enough). When I came in people said, ‘Yeh Amitabh Bachchan ki chutti kar sakta hai’. They said that after my very first hit! It never happens that way, but because I was an underdog so logon ne mujhe chane ke jhaad pe chadhaya (people flattered me no end). I was sensible enough, so I didn’t lose it.”
Though Anil feels that it’s natural for people to criticise his daughter, some of it is unwanted and harsh, he says. “After Saawariya and Delhi 6, people said she should wear modern clothes. They asked why she was playing behenji roles. When she wore fashionable clothes in Aisha, people said she should go back to her earlier characters. It’s a passing phase. You shouldn’t take these things too seriously. She is sensible enough to understand that. It’s all media made. She has her own struggle because she is my daughter.”
Anil is, in fact, quite in awe of his daughter’s sense of fashion. “She has inherited it from her mother. I am a Chembur boy, I have no sense,” he smiles. “She has an inherent sense of style. She has a great aesthetic sense when it comes to beauty and clothes. She has groomed herself after Saawariya. Stars like Tom Cruise can’t believe she’s my daughter when they see her on an international platform like Cannes. They are shocked that she is Indian. She’s has an international personality in the way she walks. It can’t be taught. Not everybody can do it and some people get jealous. What to do; kuch to log kahenge…” The proud father is now gearing up to produce another film under his banner with Sonam in the lead, based on the book Herogiri.