Sanjana tells me that her love for the camera and all things fashion and makeup started by accompanying her mother to the film sets at the age of seven. “I wanted people to doll me up and dance and perform in front of the camera,” says Sanjana.
Raji quickly chimes in with, “When she was around four or five we received a lot of requests for ads and she refused them because it was too much work. She liked the dressing up part but didn’t realise the amount of work it takes.
So I didn’t think she would get into acting. But when she was in her teens, she surprised me by showing interest in acting. I believe in letting a child be and not push them into anything, but be there to guide them when they need it.”
Sanjana chips in with, “I always knew she would be there to guide me and that was a great source of comfort. In all the ads and film sets, I am Raji’s daughter and they treat me so well. But she has set the bar very high and that gave me something to aspire to.” Their bond is very evident as they finish each other’s sentences.
The banter continues as Raji says, “Nowadays, I get referred to as Sanjana’s mother and I love it. Recently, when I got a call asking me to launch a brand, I thought they wanted my daughter to do it and I had to reconfirm with them.” They have done two ads together and hope to act together on the big screen soon.
Sanjana says, “I am sure I’ll feel the pressure. But I also know that in between the shots I will get honest feedback and tips from her.”
There is so much pride in her voice when Raji says, “We want our kids to do well. The feedback I receive from people who direct her is amazing. They say she has a natural flair for acting and it is a moment of pride for me. She has done several ads before Thuppaki and that’s when I realised she had the acting talent and I told her if she was willing to work hard and I am there to support her.”
They both agree that the strength of their bond is communication and that’s why they work together as business partners. Raji says they sometimes take each other for granted as all families do and Sanjana finishes the sentence with, “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Sanjana wanted to surprise her mother with this message: “Mom, all these years I kept asking and you kept giving. I think it is time I start giving and it begins with two simple words, thank you.”