Indians moving away from traditions: Pakistani-born actress Sonya Jehan

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By Nivedita 

New Delhi, Jan 16 : Settled in the national capital after marrying an Indian, Pakistan-born Sonya Jehan, who has featured in Bollywood films like “Taj Mahal: An Eternal Love Story”, “Khoya Khoya Chand” and “My Name is Khan”, feels while India is progressing in many aspects, its people are leaving behind their traditions and increasingly adopting Western ways.

“I miss the simplicity of Pakistani people, their loyalty and traditions. They are very proud of their traditions,” Sonya told IANS at the flagship store launch of designer brand Janavi India at The Chanakya, when asked what she misses about Pakistan in India,

“What I feel in India is that people are getting away from that (traditions). They are very westernised and I miss that part of my country here. When I go home, I see everyone wearing a salwar-kameez and they take pride in what they wear. Here, people have forgotten that. No one is wearing traditional clothes, so that’s what I miss.

“India is progressing, but on the same hand, losing traditions.”

Sonya is the granddaughter of the late renowned Pakistani singer Noor Jehan. She was born in Lahore to a Pakistani father and French mother, and grew up in Karachi.

She is married to Vivek Narain, the cousin of Janavi India’s owner Jyotika Jhalani.

Sonya, however, said she misses being in India whenever she is in Pakistan.

“What I miss about India when I am in Pakistan is that I have access to a lot more things since it is a fast-paced city (Delhi). The city definitely has got more people and is a much better place, and that’s why people from all over the country come here,” she said.

Sonya made her film debut with the historical romance “Taj Mahal: An Eternal Love Story” in 2005 opposite Kabir Bedi. She played Mumtaz Mahal In the film.

Her second release was Sudhir Mishra’s romantic drama “Khoya Khoya Chand” with Shiney Ahuja. In “My Name Is Khan”, her role as the religious American Muslim professor Haseena was noticed.

As an entrepreneur, Sonya owns French restaurant Cafe Flo in Karachi.

A mother of two — Noor and Nirvana — Sonya says she is in a happy space even after giving up her acting.

“It is just that there comes a time when you just want to settle down and have kids. I wanted to spend my time with children. I was working while the kids were born, but I felt too much of time commitment away from them. So, my priority is very different. 

“I was always very family-oriented and I am happy with simple things in life,” she told IANS.