'Life Challenges You! Tackle & Move On'

Married to one of Indian films' biggest stars for 12 years, Sussanne Roshan says that she is truly blessed to be leading the life that she has. Her recipe for a successful marriage is straightforward. 'People change, it's inevitable. However, make sure you change on the same plane. Also, keep your individuality firmly in place. This will help you grow in your marriage.' Ishita Sharma meets her at her interior design store in Mumbai

The Charcoal Project, Sussanne Roshan's upscale interior store in Andheri appears bright and effervescent - much like Sussanne. Down-toearth and smiling (she apologises for being 15 minutes late), dressed in a simple white top and black jeans with minimal makeup, she still looks like a style diva, without the customary air of snobbishness that tends to go with the territory.

Spiritual, Not Religious Born to Muslim and Parsi parents (father, actor Sanjay Khan, is a Muslim and mother Zarine, is a Parsi) and married into a Hindu family, Sussanne believes that she has the best of three worlds. 'My parents brought me up with a strong sense of humanity as the biggest religion. The only thing they taught me was to be nice to people and to remain grounded - it did not matter what part of the world you really came from, what religion you belonged to.' An attribute she says helps her lead her life without bias. 'For me, it was so easy to absorb all the three religions - whether it is Islam, Hinduism or Zoroastrianism - they are all beautiful religions and there is so much to learn from each,' she adds.

Friends And Lovers
She got married to Hrithik in 2000 in father Sanjay Khan's Golden Palms resort in Bengaluru. 'With Hrithik, things were never confused. I was always very sure that there was a certain amount of security in our relationship. We were extremely good friends and when we got married, it was like an extension of our friendship.' she says. She proudly shows off the family pictures she's put up at her workstation. She says when she first met Hrithik, he was the protected one, and she was was the one more" exposed". Her recipe for a successful marriage is straightforward; 'People change, it's inevitable. However make sure you change on the same plane. Also, building up trust is easy, sustaining it is difficult. Make sure you do that at every stage in your marriage. It is not going to happen automatically. Apart from being a couple, you need to realise that you are individuals in the first place. No one is superior or inferior. If you're equals, you respect each other more. In any marriage, the problem arises when one person is growing and the other is stagnating. Don't ever let that happen to your marriage!'

Also Sussanne believes in being non-interfering about her husband's work. 'Business decisions we take together, but when it comes to each other's creative work, we exchange opinions but don't advise each other. Since we are not from the same field, why comment on something you have no knowledge of?' Hrithik, she says, is brutally honest about her work and that helps her do better. She enjoys watching all of Hrithik's movies, more so because she believes that he deserves every inch of success that has come his way. 'When I first met him, he was assisting his father on one of his movies and even though it would have been very convenient for any big director to sign him straight away, he took the difficult route. Going through gruelling acting schedules, and working hard on his body before Kaho Na Pyaar Hai. Her favourite Hrithik movie remains Guzaarish and even though she believes that 'the movie did not get its actual due' she knows that "you eventually get what is yours".

Being Mother
Her children Hrehaan and Hridhaan aged 6 and 4 respectively, complete a pretty family picture. What's the secret to being a happy mom? She says, 'Bring up your children with as much love as you can.' However she is quick to clarify that she does not believe in 'baby-talk and pampering'. 'From the beginning, Hrithik and I have believed that children need to be treated as equals and as your friends. We do not believe in preaching. We just let them pick up whatever they want and then use it with their imagination. When you treat the child as an equal, it also instills confidence in him. Your child is absorbing what is around him so we take care of what we say in front of the children since before we know it, they are repeating random words back to me!' she shares. The actor is a hands-on father and loves reading to his children which invariably turns into a lesson of sorts. Photographs: yogen shah Their mother just wants them to grow up to be "grounded" individuals, with a "strong value system." She believes the rest will follow naturally. 'You do not have to be rigid to your child, let him follow his own path - whether it is what career he wants to take up or what religion he wants to practise. Not only will this give him happiness, it will also make him a better human being', she adds.


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