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Saturday, June 3, 2023

Riddhima Kapoor Sahni: When Entrepreneurship Exceeds Filmy Family Tags

Riddhima Kapoor Sahni (RKS) is the daughter of legendary Bollywood actors Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh, granddaughter of Sri Raj Kapoor and sister of heartthrob Ranbir Kapoor.

But besides her familial association, there is a lot more to RKS especially when it comes to her dreams, aspirations and career vision.

She studied in London for four years where she received a bachelor’s degree in fashion and marketing.

Post that she returned to Mumbai and had an in-house design label briefly for a short period of time around 2006/7, in partnership with a friend who got married and moved to Dubai.

Shortly after, Riddhima also got married to businessman Bharat Sahni after which she moved to Delhi and became a mother to Samara.

Soon enough, though, her entrepreneurship awoke as she became the creative head of RKS Jewellery and has even designed pieces for renowned celebrities like Goldie Hawn and Justin Bieber.

She has even launched her clothing brand Sam and friends – based on Samara’s name.

Undoubtedly, she has never looked back. In a special interview with Filme Shilmy, we speak with Riddhima on her journey so far.

What factors do you consider when designing jewellery for a specific client?

Our USP is mainly every day, unisex jewellery. These can be worn by every one of all ages.

I design something that I personally like and something that I would wear if I’m going out with friends.

You wouldn’t want to go out wearing diamonds and sets. So something playful, easy yet stylish and makes a statement.

These are a few things that I bear in mind when I design jewellery pieces.

We usually take out a collection and give it a name and launch every 2/3 months.

It’s not like I design something with a specific person in mind.

I just think about what inspires me or from observations.

What is your favourite piece you’ve designed and who was it for?

There are so many, I don’t know where to begin!

My favourite piece has to be the one that I designed for my mother – which was this turquoise, evil eye bracelet.

I enjoyed creating that because it was for her birthday and a special occasion.

I even designed a pair of earrings for her which was very enjoyable.

We also made earrings for Goldie Hawn.

You hail from an illustrious filmy lineage. When did you come to terms with the prestige of the Kapoor family? 

Unfortunately, my grandfather (Raj Kapoor) passed away when I was about aged 8 or 9.

But I have the fondest memories because he used to dote on us and really pamper us.

I remember every weekend when we used to go to our grandparents’ place to spend time with my daadi and even when my grandfather was alive, he used to take us to this place called ‘Big Splash’ in Vashi, Mumbai.

We used to love going there with our friends… My grandmother would take us to the planetarium. Those were fun times.

We realised the prestige of our family when we were in school because people used to talk about him a lot on many occasions.

When you’re born in a family, you are made to realise that. Of course, it’s a privilege but we had to make something of ourselves.

My parents kept us away from filmy parties and shoots. Mum would often accompany dad to such events.

Ranbir and I were more focused on going to school, coming back to do homework and spending time with the family.

That way, we were really made to live a normal life. My parents kept it that way and wanted it like that.

It never really overwhelmed me because we’ve grown up in the atmosphere.

At such a young age, you don’t exactly know what is what.

Now, there’s so much more awareness/exposure because of social media. It was sweeter and private back then.

Given that your parents are legendary Bollywood actors, was there ever a pressure on you to become an actor? At which point did you decide to become a jewellery designer?

Oh never… My parents never pressurised or forced me to do anything I didn’t want to.

They left career decisions to my brother and myself. Ranbir always wanted to become an actor.

I always wanted to go abroad and study, which I did and pursued something different from acting.

The moment where I wanted to become a jewellery designer is another story altogether.

Ironically, I was never a fan of jewellery. I just didn’t like wearing them.

Even at my wedding, I was sceptical of wearing but my mother insisted on it (laughs).

After I got married, my mother and I were approached to do a jewellery campaign and became ambassadors for a reputable brand in Mumbai.

My love for jewellery developed because of that brand and their creations/pieces.

Then once our contract ended, I began making my own pieces and people really started to acknowledge/appreciate my creations.

Soon enough, I got inspired to start my own brand. 

By you not becoming an actor and living in Delhi, do you prefer to be out of the paparazzi spotlight and why?

When I am in Mumbai I also get my photograph clicked by the photographers. Mumbai has that paparazzi culture, but not as much in Delhi.

I enjoy the best of both worlds. When I’m out in Mumbai, my photos are clicked whereas in Delhi I get to enjoy my family time and private space.

I don’t know whether it’s getting a bit out of hand, but I guess everybody is just used to it.

The paparazzi’s in Mumbai seem quite sweet and they are manageable.

Which films of your parents do you love the most and why?

My all-time favourite of them both is Rafoo Chakkar.

Now I look a lot more like my mother, but when I was a child, I looked exactly like my father so people used to say “that is Riddhima wearing a wig” (laughs).

As for my mum’s, it has to be Do Kaliyan where she played a double role as a child star.

Every time I came home from school, we would finish our homework and watch Do Kaliyan or Rafoo Chakkar.

To date, I enjoy watching both these films… Of course, there are many more but these two are my favourites!

You seem to share a beautiful bond with brother, Ranbir Kapoor. How supportive has he been in your career choice?

I’m not just saying this because he’s my sibling but honestly, I think Ranbir is so humble and down-to-earth.

He greets all his fans warmly and has a lot of patience. That personality reflects so well on the screen.

Ranbir is absolutely supportive of my career choice. In fact, he has even adorned a few pieces of mine.

Sometimes he even wears the jewellery I’ve designed for him – but he’s not really a jewellery person.

On Raksha Bandhan, I created his initials and his lucky number. He’s been very supportive and has always loved whatever I’ve designed.

Any particular childhood memory with Ranbir you could share with the readers?

When we were kids, we used to bash each other up (laughs)… We are only two years apart.

At that time, my parents used to go out and leave us with my Nani (grandmother), she used to tell my mum – “the minute you both leave the house, these two start fighting.”

WWF Wrestling was very popular and we used to think we are those wrestlers so we would do role-play.

We never used to realise that the wrestling was staged and so we would actually wrestle with each other.

But every time anyone of us made a mistake, we used to stick up for each other. So that way our bond is amazing.

We also had common friends, so every Sunday we used to play cricket and I was always the fielder. I never got a chance to bat and ball.

But those were fun times!

Your clothing brand is based on your daughter’s name, how involved is she in the designs, do you ever take her opinion?

Not really as she is only 8-years-old but she definitely has a mind of her own when she wants to wear something.

Kids these days are too smart and are another breed all together… But it is good that they know what they want.

She has not really been involved with the designs and everything, as we have an in-house design team plus my husband and me, give our input.

It’s so funny how my mother and I used to design jewellery together, now my daughter and I are modelling for our own brand.

But Samara doesn’t contribute much in terms of the designs and all that – but we would ask her in a fun way “do you like this dress?” and she would be like “oh yes, I want it!” (Laughs).

So we take her suggestions like that.

You’ve even walked the ramp for various fashion designers. Who is your favourite designer and why… What determines your fashion sense?

The thing is all of the designers are my friends – there are just too many brilliant designers to choose from.

I can’t pinpoint because they’re all so different and unique in their own way. I can’t really choose.

With regards to fashion sense, my mum always told me to be comfortable in whatever I wear.

It might sound clichéd, but it is the truth.

I would always advise that one is comfortable in whatever they choose to wear. It’s important to never ape anyone and be whoever you are.

Less is always more and always wear a smile.

You’re also a Yoga enthusiast. What tips on healthy eating and your fitness routine could you share with the readers?

I was quite a chubby child and we used to have a school uniform, so that didn’t really expose my size as much.

Then when I went to college, I wore coloured clothes and my mum really encouraged/pushed me to lose weight.

I used to go to Joggers’ Park every evening so my fitness journey began since then.

After I lost that weight and started to feel good about myself, I wanted to maintain that and have never stopped working out.

In London, when I was a student, I assisted aerobic classes and got free workouts.

After marriage, I never stopped working out… Even when I was carrying Samara I did light yoga and workouts, especially meditation.

Meditation is very important for today’s day and age because we must relax. We all live such hectic lives it’s pivotal one relaxes their mind.

After Samara got settled, I began doing my hard-core workouts so it has been about 7 years since I’ve been doing Yoga properly and perfecting it. I learn every single day.

The thing is with healthy eating, I avoid eating junk food. But I mostly eat home food, so before I go to a party, I’ll eat properly from home to avoid binge-eating outside.

Healthy eating (i.e. eating greeneries) has always been inculcated by my mother since a young age and now I teach my daughter the same!

Riddhima Kapoor Sahni shatters the stereotype that an actor’s son/daughter always follow suit.

She has shown and proven that life is all about pursuing what you are most passionate about and as a result, success will follow.

Here’s thanking and wishing her all the very best for future projects.

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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