One family, three generations, Vogue India August 2017 issue takes readers into the world of Bachchan women. The cover shoot was photographed by Tarun Vishwa. Styled by Anaita Shroff Adajania. Make-up was done by Mickey Contractor. Hair was styled by Yianni Tsapatori. Production was developed at Temple Road Productions.
Check out the exclusive interview of the Bachchan Ladies by Vogue India:
Amitabh Bachchan calling on FaceTime; Jaya comparing photographs of Navya and her at the same age; Shweta making fun of her mother posing, only to realize Navya was doing the same to her… At our cover shoot, one thing was clear—the Bachchan-Nanda women share a bond that’s as special as it’s normal. Sure, there are disagreements and conflicts, but there are also memories of Euro Disney, of evenings in pajamas, and a closeness that can only be shared by mothers and (grand)daughters.
She’s a stickler for discipline, a sentimentalist (she’s carefully saved her children’s clothes and school badges) and is known to shoot from the hip. Mother of two, and grandmother of three, Jaya Bachchan tells us that even at 69 she’s constantly learning
When it comes to parenting, Jaya says she hasn’t really dispensed a lot of advice to Shweta or Abhishek. “This generation are friends with their children, but I am also always surprised with the liberties they accord them.” At the shoot, Jaya gently prods Navya about her whereabouts of last night. “I worry but Shweta tells me, ‘Mum, she lives alone in New York,’” she says, sighing. “It’s going to be even harder when Aradhaya grows up.” While Shweta is wiser with her words than Jaya, Navya, according to Jaya, is quite ‘bindaas’. “She’s always been an easy child. She has an opinion, but if you say something to her she never takes offense.” How would she describe their dynamic? “We’re all cool women, we’re really comfortable with each other. Shweta is always in charge, but Navya will take over soon.” Is there one question she has always wanted to ask her daughter? “Maybe. But I’m scared of her answer.” Jaya pauses to take a mouthful and looks straight at Shweta sitting across the table. “Have I been a good mother?”
SHWETA BACHCHAN NANDA
Shweta Bachchan Nanda is one cool mom. And for the most part, her children agree. Except, that is, when she’s not nagging them to brush their teeth and wash their faces, or punctuating all their text messages
History, they say, repeats itself. Many years ago, similar conversations took place between Jaya and Shweta, with Jaya urging Shweta to channel her skills in diplomatic relations or journalism. But Shweta, who married young, choosing family over career, doesn’t want Navya to follow in her footsteps. “Only after you become a parent do you understand why your parents say and do the things they do. The instinct to protect suddenly becomes real.”
Even now, she says, her parents are the voice of reason in her head. While as a child, her mother was more present in the daily parenting (“my mum was always the bad cop”), Shweta is still her father’s daughter (even in their shared physicality), marvelling at his hunger to keep abreast of what’s happening, borrowing watches and clothes from his extensive wardrobe (“both my parents are hoarders”), and cooking his favourite pasta. “We never discussed films with him as children, but now he uses me and Abhishek as sounding boards. We spend a lot more time now, and talking about his life and his journey, I see a more vulnerable side… I can pretty much get my way with him.” Her relationship with her father is a lot easier, she says, while with Jaya it’s a more complex dynamic. The two intelligent women who don’t necessarily mince words, though, enjoy a repartee that indicates a closeness that needn’t always be spelled out.
NAVYA NAVELI NANDA
She loves rajma chawal, her boxer (named Boxer) and Justin Bieber; is close to her brother Agastya; makes rap music playlists for granddad Amitabh; has found a shopping buddy in uncle Abhishek (“the biggest shopaholic in the family”); and wants to take her mother and grandmother on a safari on their next girls trip. Meet Navya Naveli Nanda
“I’m actually really proud of my mum, the fact that after so many years she’s going out there to make a life for herself.” Wise words from 19-year-old Navya Naveli Nanda, the older child of Shweta and Nikhil Nanda, as her mother takes her position in front of the camera for her second Vogue shoot.
Wearing a white tee, track pants and the newest Gucci slides, Navya is waiting for her turn in the spotlight. But let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way. The dark-haired beauty will not be following in her famous grandfather’s footsteps when it comes to a career in acting. “No way,” says the young teen emphatically, tearing off pieces of her dosa. In a family with a long lineage in films (she’s the granddaughter of Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan, and the great-granddaughter of Raj Kapoor on her father’s side), it’s a natural question, especially in an industry known for its dynasties.
Chalk it up to dissuasion on her mother’s part (“I really try to tell her about all the cons… I have nothing against the industry—it’s who we are—but it’s not an easy world to be in,” Shweta tells me) or to being a young girl still finding her calling, but for now the communications major is not looking at either of the family businesses (her father Nikhil is the managing director of Escorts Group). Instead, she is enjoying her current internship at advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather while on break from university in New York.
“I love the independence,” she says about life in Manhattan, mornings spent at Soul Cycle, trawling the streets of Soho on Saturdays for cool boutiques, long meals with friends at her favourite restaurant Serafina or going to concerts (“I’m a huge Justin Bieber fan—I literally cried for three hours when I saw him perform!”). Just another teen in the Big City.
[Interview source: Vogue India]
The Vogue India’s August 2017 issue releases on August 3, 2017.