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Over three decades, I’ve had the good fortune of living my childhood dream. As an actor, I strive to learn and do meaningful work every day and this has served me well throughout my career. Of course, none of it came easy. My start in the movies was beset by challenges, but it only strengthened my determination to make something of myself, to succeed. Some might say I’ve achieved some of what I set out to.
The one thing I can say with absolute certainty however, is that my greatest success and strength is my family.
In my lovely wife Sunita, I have found inspiration and an anchor to weather the toughest of times. She is the reason I am a better man, and has given me the best gift anyone could ever hope for: three beautiful children who lit up our lives with their precious laughter, curiosity and innocence. As a family man in a competitive industry, I found peace in coming home after a hard day’s work. Despite the successes and failures encountered on our way, Sunita and I endeavoured to create a happy, healthy environment for our kids, far removed from the excesses of Bollywood life. After all, I spent the best years of my life growing up in a crowded chawl in Mumbai.
As parents, our hope was to nurture our children and ensure they grew into well-adjusted and self-sufficient adults. Being as we have two spirited daughters, this has been an extraordinary journey. Daughters, those of you who have them will agree, are a source of great warmth and wisdom. Some of my fondest memories include receiving surprisingly astute life advice from my 3 and 5 year old over cornflakes. In many ways, seeing the world through their eyes helped me see the goodness in it.
Today, Sonam and Rhea are strong, independent and beautiful young women who live their lives with purpose. Guided by a keen sense of right and wrong, they work hard every day to make the world a better, more just place. Over the years, we’ve gone from wanting to shield them, to wonderment over the inspiring individuals they have become.
This has as much to do with them as their education. We were fortunate enough to be able to provide our girls with opportunities to go to school and expand their horizons. Education is undoubtedly a stairway to countless possibilities for a bright future. It is this belief that drives me to support Plan India’s ‘Because I am a Girl’ campaign.
Plan India and I go back a long way, and I take great pride in having worked with them in their efforts to ensure children, especially young girls, stay in school and are safe, happy and healthy. A quality education enables young girls to grow into independent and capable young women, transforming their lives and those of their families and communities too.
For parents, there can be no greater triumph than having ensured the next generation will lead full lives ripe with meaning, and truly make a difference. To this extent, we must do all that we can and more!
I am grateful for the blessings I’ve received in the love of my family and fans. This March 8th, on the occasion of International Women’s Day, let’s pledge in solidarity to promote women’s rights and those of young girls who will go on to change the world. To all the fathers out there with precious daughters - you are extremely lucky to experience the joy of raising daughters. I know I am!
Written by Anil Kapoor, Plan India Patron