Shah Rukh Khan
Father to Aryan, 17, Suhana, 15, and Abram, two
As King Khan’s kids, Aryan, Suhana and AbRam seem to have everything they could ask for – from the latest gadgets to trendy bicycles and designer clothes. ‘I give them whatever they want,’ says the 49-year-old. And he has a reason for pampering his kids. ‘I believe in the principle that if you have excess in life while children, you won’t want any more when you are grown up. My desire is to see my children have no wants in life but get everything they deserve.’
Given his busy schedule, Shah Rukh appears to have found the perfect balance in life. When not bicycling with his daughter – ‘I enjoy it so much with her,’ he says – or attending her tae kwon do practice sessions, he spends as much time as he can with his little son AbRam. In fact, Shah Rukh’s life currently centres on him. From taking him to the sets of his films, to babysitting him and going to the malls, beaches and even to Indian Premiere League matches with him (SRK owns the Kolkata Knight Riders team) – Shah Rukh is clearly a devoted father.
‘I don’t have many friends. My kids are my closest allies, my best friends,’ he says. ‘My dad used to call me Yaara, which means pal. My parents were my friends. I’m just the kind of dad that my father was to me.’
He’s not always the easy-going dad, especially when it comes to the media. ‘I don’t want my kids’ personal lives to be the subject of appreciation or criticism in the media and in public. I would like them to be left alone.’
So, what are his priorities in life?
‘My family,’ he says without batting an eyelid. Spending time with wife Gauri and the children is top of his list. ‘Given a chance, I’d babysit AbRam life-long,’ he tweeted recently.
Father to Aaradhya, three
As if being the son of megastars Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan and husband of the queen of Bollywood Aishwarya Rai was not enough pressure, Abhishek says he now has to be careful about the films he chooses. ‘I have a growing daughter and have to keep that in mind when signing films. I won’t do a film that I would find difficult to show her tomorrow,’ says the 39-year-old, who has acted in blockbusters like Yuva, Guru and Bol Bachchan. ‘That is one of the reasons I’m not very comfortable doing scenes that require physical intimacy. I don’t want Aaradhya to see any of my films, even 30 years down the road, and ask, “What’s my dad doing there?”’
Abhishek believes in being a hands-on father. ‘As a parent I think it’s not about giving her material goods,’ he says. ‘The best gifts parents can give their children are love, care, education and understanding. Also, I firmly believe that taking care of the child is never just a mother’s role. It’s all about sharing responsibilities.’
Abhishek can often be seen taking Aaradhya to the sets of his films just so he can spend more time with her. ‘My priorities are the same. My films are of paramount importance to me, but so is my family. That’s not going to change. This is a balance I have to strike throughout my life. So if it means taking Aaradhya to the sets just so that I can spend more time with her while working, then so be it.’
Abhishek believes it is vital to strike the right work-life balance, but he doesn’t mind if the scale tips towards family life. ‘Going back to a happy, healthy family at the end of the day is more important than being successful,’ he says.
Father to Virajveer, three, and Varushka, one
At one time, rumours were rife that Ayushmann was reluctant to reveal he had kids as he feared it would affect his chances of making a career in Bollywood. But Ayushmann, 30, denies this vehemently. ‘I have no reason to hide the fact that I’m a father. It’s a part of my life now. I am proud to be a father. It’s just that I’m not the one who will walk around with a T-shirt that says, “Hey, I’m a father”. Having said that, he admits that he’s still learning to be one.
The star made it big with his debut hit film Vicky Donor in 2012 and says he has since then not been able to take time off to spend with his growing family. ‘The constant travelling for film shoots makes it very difficult to manage both professional and personal life,’ he says. ‘Luckily, my wife Tahira Kashyap, an author and lecturer, realises that this is an integral part of my fledgling career and is very understanding. Also, my wife’s parents as well as mine stay close by, so I don’t have to worry too much.’
So does he miss his kids when he’s on a shoot? ‘Oh yes,’ he says. ‘There are times when I feel guilty for being away for long periods of time but I’ve promised myself that I’ll take it slow after five years.
‘I hope my kids will forgive me and will realise that whatever I do, I do for them. I wish they’ll be proud of me.’
Father to Imara, one
The father in Imran Khan doesn’t shy away from stating that his life is ‘over now’.
‘All my life, I will be on my knees and running after this girl.’ The girl in question is his daughter, Imara Malik-Khan.
And the 32-year-old star of many romantic films including Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na certainly is a devoted father. Not only did he get Imara’s footprints inked on his chest, when she was born he took a six-month sabbatical just to be with her and wife Avantika Malik.
What Imran endeavours to strike is a balance in his personal and professional life. ‘I’m still trying to find it… I’ve been clear that my personal life comes first – my happiness and my family’s. That translates to spending time with loved ones and doing work that excites me. It’s never been about money or fame, but work of which I can be proud.’
He makes sure to get home as early as possible so he can spend time with his daughter, tuck her into bed and cuddle her. Co-stars have witnessed his excitement when the director shouts ‘pack up’.
‘I enjoy experiencing fatherhood first-hand rather than be on a film set and get to know from someone else all that she did in the day. Films will come and go, but your kid’s childhood is going to happen only once.’
Father to Vivaan, two, Ameyaa Nirvana, two months
Vivek Oberoi’s charm lies in not only being an impressive and talented actor but also in being a sensitive and loving family man. He’s attentive to the needs of his wife Priyanka Alva-Oberoi, and enjoys spending time with son Vivaan and daughter Ameyaa Nirvana. The star, who catapulted to stardom with Company and then went on to star in many blockbusters, allowed his career to take a back seat once his son was born.
‘When Vivaan came into my life, I decided I would take time off to enjoy life and not keep working non-stop,’ the 38-year-old says. However, he still frets about having missed out on being a hands-on dad and feels guilty when he is away from home. ‘I think I have missed out on a lot of milestone moments. I haven’t been with Vivaan as much as I would have wanted to and that bothers me.
‘Now with my daughter Ameyaa Nirvana also demanding my time and attention, I have decided that my kids will be my first priority and any work I do will be such that it does not take me away from them for long periods of time.’ When asked how fatherhood has affected him, he says, ‘Today, I am much calmer and happier because of my children; we spend a lot of time just being together.
‘Being a father is a personal role, the most challenging and rewarding role in a man’s life. I’m a father now – twice over – and it’s a dream come true.’
Father to Ayaan, five
Probably the worst moment in Emraan Hashmi’s life was when he discovered last year that his son, Ayaan, had cancer in his kidney and needed immediate surgery and treatment. ‘All I wanted to do at that moment was be by his side 24/7 but I had committed to a few movies so could not back out.’
Now that his son has returned to health, the 36-year-old still regrets that he was not by Ayaan’s side when he needed him the most.
‘It used to break my heart every time I used to say goodbye to Ayaan and take a flight for my film shoots, some of which would stretch for more than three months. I would lie to him that I was going to get him gifts. But although I used to be shooting in, say, Canada, or the US, my mind would constantly be by my son’s side.’
But Emraan says he learnt many things during those trying times. After his recovery, Ayaan wanted to participate in a race organised by his school. Weak from the treatment, he ran a short distance, fell down, got up again, ran a few steps, fell again but recovered and ran again. He didn’t win the race but was happy with the fact that he had done his best. ‘That incident was so touching I nearly cried,’ says Emraan.
‘In life, it’s all about hanging in there. However shaken and beaten you are, you need to get up and keep trying. It was a valuable lesson that I learnt from him. He is my hero in many ways.’