A Piece of my Heart: Emraan Hashmi and Sonali Bendre Behl talk about parenting

Blog post - 2 800x200The first session on the final day of the Spring Fever 2016 saw the amphitheater packed with book lovers and movie enthusiasts here to listen to Emraan Hashmi and Sonali Bendre Behl tackle the problem of raising kids in this digital age.

Emraan Hashmi was also revealing the book cover of his forthcoming book “The Kiss of Life”. Co-written by Bilal Siddiqi, who was also in the panel, the book deals with how Hashmi’s son Ayaan beat cancer.


The session began with Sonali talking about how different this generation is compared to theirs. She said that this generation has easy access to technology and information, which is why parents must also adapt to the changing times. She admitted that she came from a very “middle-class Maharashtrian family” and that she didn’t even have a TV until she was in college.

“We need to bring up our child in a digital age, but remember our roots – our roots are what ground us”

Speaking about his son’s tumor, Emraan Hashmi said that the psychological damage that cancer does to a family is so big. He admitted that he still felt like he needed to go for counseling.


“There was a huge tumor the size of a season ball growing inside a 3-year-old – my son.” Said the Murder actor. He confessed that when he heard the news, he walked out the clinic and broke down.

The usually flamboyant actor gave a somber account of how cancer affects a family. He said that the emotional trauma a family goes through is difficult to comprehend. He said it had been such an emotionally and psychologically turbulent time.

“It’s not a battle that you win after chemotherapy.” He then added that the further you get away from surgery, the better the chances.

The star also said that in our culture the men are supposed to be the quiet, strong type but that’s not true. He talked about how there were so many times he cried but his wife remained strong.

“Emotionally I feel women are stronger.”

He continued saying that while he had to get back to his career, it was his wife who stayed back and looked after most of the things. He let out that when they found out that Ayaan had cancer, she “closed her hands so tightly there was blood running down her wrist” but she didn’t cry.

Hashmi continued by saying that kids are much more resilient than adults, he said that Ayaan knew what was happening, what his meds were, and he was still happy.

“He’s taught me to be a better human being – that life will hit you hard till you’re on the floor, but you have to get up.”

The next thing discussed by the panel was how much parents shape their kids.

“I have just one wish, I hope that my son turns into a really compassionate human being.” Said Sonali Bendre Behl. She continued by saying that she also wished her son would not play PS4 so much. She smiled and winked at her 10-year-old son Ranveer who was in the audience when she said this. Talking about the inspiration for her book The Modern Gurukul, she said that in the gurukuls of old, they nurtured the child’s soul as well as being model human being. And that was what she wanted for her son.

Emraan Hashmi said that many parents tend to raise their kids in a pressure-cooker situation.

“We unknowingly look for our own lives in our kids. I think its criminal to impose your own fears and ambitions on your kids. Let them become what they want. He is an individual by himself.”


Sonali Bendre interjected here saying that having a child was like “literally having a wet clay to mold”. She added that parents have to be careful not to force things.

With that, it was time to reveal the book cover of Emraan Hashmi’s The Kiss of Life. There was a thunderous ovation with his fans chanting his name. There were a series of photos of the father and the son that were uploaded on social media, the book cover was chosen by the fans.

With that the floor was opened for the audience to get their questions in.

When asked about his new projects, Hashmi said that his upcoming movie Azhar, is a bio pic based on the former Indian cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin. He talked about how the former captain gave him shadow practices, but that the movie was more about his life than his career.


Sonali Bendre asked him if there were any “Emraan Hashmi songs or moments” in the movie to the delight of the audience. He smiled and said that there are two nice romantic songs.

The audience then broke into a rendition of Happy Birthday. The visibly embarrassed actor said that it was not his birthday, but it was coming up.

The penultimate session of the Spring Fever 2016 was over. The next and final event which would begin in the next 20 minutes, was a session with the immortal Gulzar. Stay tuned!


The Penguin India Blog

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