Actor columnist, bestselling author, interior designer, movie producer and now, digital entrepreneur, Twinkle Khanna has been rapidly reinventing herself over the past few years and how. From her foray into the public space as a columnist with DNA, to her witty and yet, hard hitting columns in the Times of India, to her books that refuse to budge off the bestseller lists, to producing Padman, that won the National Award and now, founding Tweak, a digital platform for women, she’s gone forth boldly when another person would have been content to rest on their laurels.
At a FICCI FLO event at Hyderabad yesterday, Twinkle was in conversation with SheThePeople.TV Ideas Editor Kiran Manral and FICCI FLO Hyderabad President Sona Chatwani. She spoke candidly about work, reinvention, parenting the next generation of boys and more. Here are some key takeaways.
“I believe the only way to handle multiple things is to give that one thing you are doing right now all your attention and single minded focus. I don’t think we can juggle too much, all we can do is just keep the balls we have up in the air from falling.”
We need to bring up our sons to be as much the caregivers of the family as we do our girls. We can do that by walking the talk.
On turning producer
“I made one movie and it won the National Award. It took me seven months of calling Arunachalam Muruganantham, the social activist from Tamil Nadu who introduced low-cost sanitary pads. I called him every single day, emailed him, but he wouldn’t respond. And then one day, I happened to be in England when I called, and he probably thought it was a BBC number and answered saying I’m in London. I replied, I can drive down. And that’s how I went and met him and convinced him and that is how it all began. It was a subject most of us don’t even talk about, to get people to come to watch it in a theatre was a challenge. I called him, I sent emails, I tried all I could to do to meet him. I was totally fascinated by how a man, in his quest to give his wife and all women affordable sanitary care, could devote so much effort to this, even to wearing a sanitary napkin to understand how uncomfortable it feels. I thought I could do something with this story, take this out to the world, start the conversation and that’s how it began. I went all around the world with this movie, you would think this is a problem just in countries like ours but it is a problem that women all around the world face.”
On raising the next generation of boys
“We need to bring up our sons to be as much the caregivers of the family as we do our girls. We can do that by walking the talk. We must walk the talk as parents. Make them read, make them read all kinds of diverse books, this will make their understanding wider. Have conversations with them, even if you feel they are embarrassing.”
On speaking her mind
“I’ve often said Twinkle Trouble Khanna should be my name. I’m a motor mouth and often need to be reeled in. I have landed in trouble because of my outspokenness. As a secular person, I believe in speaking out for and against policies.”
There is no need for a woman to rely on anyone except herself, so that no matter what life brings you are prepared. Life is less challenging, because you then know that whatever life brings you can manage.
On the need for women to retain their own identity
“I think it is very short sighted for any woman to give up her identity. When I was a child I had a very privileged childhood, I lived in a mansion, we had a convertible and then we went to my grandmother’s house where I saw my mother get up every morning at five, do her Jane Fonda exercises with the volume on mute so as to not wake us up, going off to work and coming back at nine in the night. I looked at her and thought to myself that that is a superwoman. There is no need for a woman to rely on anyone except herself, so that no matter what life brings you are prepared. Life is less challenging, because you then know that whatever life brings you can manage. That I think is a skill, every woman must have.”