Here is what we spoke:
Firstly, let us wish you a very Happy Birthday…
Thank you so much.
Has everyone from the family joined in celebration?
Yes. But we are missing Fardeen.
Why is Fardeen not there?
He is shooting for ‘Heeramandi’ (Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s web show for which incidentally Mumtaz has also been offered a plum part).
So where exactly are you right now?
I am in Uganda. After four days I will go to my home in Nairobi. From there, after a few days, I fly out to London.
How are you all celebrating?
My husband Mayur has organised a big lunch. A few guests are also expected. It is 11.40 am in Uganda as I speak to you. It all starts at 1 pm. It will go on for quite some time.
What has Mayur gifted you?
He has given me practically everything in life. But if you are asking about today’s birthday, he has gifted me the latest model of a Mercedes. Plus, jewellery.
You love jewellery, don’t you?
Yeah, but aajkal pehan nahin sakte. The world is not a safe place.
How did the birthday morning begin?
With my grandchildren planting a kiss on me. It’s such a nice feeling to have so many family members and friends around.
Are you a strict grandparent?
I was a strict parent but now I tell my daughters to correct their kids.
Good to hear that. Several parents today let things go by and say ‘zamaana badal gaya hai’…
Zamaana badal gaya hai to kya hua? That does not mean that you don’t teach the basics of life to the kids. Hope this misconception is corrected fast.
How do you feel at 75?
I am 18. I still dance. I still exercise for nearly 90 minutes every day.
What’s your wish on your birthday today?
That my grandchildren work very hard in life and grow up as fine individuals.
Do you recall your birthdays on the sets?
Of course I do; every time a cake was called and everybody cheered. But I used to be so busy during my entire career that celebrations toh door ki baat, I couldn’t get the time to see some of my films that were released.
When are you coming back to India?
Let the rains get over. Maybe in October.