globalmovie     08 Feb,2016         No Comment


Diaper duty, daddy advice, parenting tools, being there for his wife post-motherhood et al, Riteish Deshmukh dishes on how he dealt with becoming a father for the first time…

Riteish Deshmukh celebrated his first Father’s Day yesterday as a father. A few weeks ago, he introduced his son, Riaan, to fans on social media on the 70th birth anniversary of his late father Vilasrao Deshmukh. I remember reading somewhere that a father-son dynamic is arguably the most important and influential of all male-male relationships. While friendships and business partnerships grow and decline during the course of a lifetime, the father-son relationship remains a constant. From what I know of Riteish, a father couldn’t ask for a better son. Here, the first-time dad talks about his son for the first time. Read on for the story behind the name to how great he is at changing nappies…

Tell me the story behind Riaan’s name…

It’s strange how this name came to me. We were looking at names for boys and girls, trying to figure it out. I was slightly lazy about this. Genelia was like “You’re not giving it any thought.” Around this time, I was shooting for Bangistan, in Poland and we’d been obviously going through names, trying to figure out if we should go for something cool, young or traditional. Also, you want to get it right because you don’t want your child to grow up and tell you, “What an uncool name you gave me”. Genelia and I used to go for a walk every evening to a park outside our hotel. On one such evening, I asked her, “How is the name Riaan?” She said, “It sounds cool.” She asked me what it meant. I said I didn’t know. She asked me where I heard it. I said nowhere, it just came to me. I went online later to figure out what the name meant. One of the meanings is ‘little king’ or ‘ruler’. I also found out that it’s an old Sanskrit name, and a name in various languages.

Did you pick the name on a particular alphabet according to the horoscope?

Nothing like that. Our options were wide open. It wasn’t about, “Let’s start from R because our names start from R or a G or whatever. It just happened that way. We both liked this name and we shortlisted it. Then, as the time came slightly closer, we realised we hadn’t thought about enough names. Then whatever names we thought of, we put down and made a big list. Eventually after his birth, we had to do a barsa. In Maharashtra, a barsa is baaravi (the 12th day). I didn’t do it on the 12th day, we wanted to do it sooner. And we both felt this is it. We didn’t tell anyone in the family. I told my cousin, who had to whisper the name in the baby’s ear, as per the tradition and that’s the first time Genelia announced the name to everyone in the family.

Do you find that since his birth, most of your conversations are all about Riaan?

Ya, you know when Farah (Khan) had kids, she used to constantly show us their pictures of her mobile of her kids. Now my mobile phone is full of Riaan’s pictures, so I understand that. And yes, I think the conversations are all about the child. Everything that relates to the child in terms of from food to sleep patterns. I feel with Genelia, I must have finished discussing how he is going to get married also.

Did you get any advice from friends like Abhishek Bachchan, who are already have children?<br

No. Also, my brothers both have kids… And more than giving advice…. For example, Abhishek told me about this thing which I totally understand now. He said, ‘The first three years, the baby is going to be all about the mother, and you will just have to deal with it.’ Your child will be in your arms, but when he sees the mother, he will just extend his arms and want to go to her. I have seen so many of my outdoor shootings with children and I have seen my friends, and co-actors up-close with their children. I have seen Akshay with Aarav right from Heyy Babyy to both the Housefulls. I have seen Sajid Nadiadwala with his kids. Ajay with Nysa, Abhishek with Aaradhya. It’s wonderful and while you see that, everyone deals with their babies according to their personality and whatever suits their personality, I would rather choose, this is what I would like to be, this is what I can do, and this is something I can’t do. Akshay can climb a tree, I don’t think I’ll be able to do it, but I’ll try and find a small plant, and show my son. I think within our own limitations, we will try and do our best. Like Genelia said a wonderful line that she read somewhere: ‘Every mother who is doing her best for her child thinks she is still not up there.’ She probably is doing it all wrong, something like that…

Your family is full of boys. Did you want a daughter more than a son?,

Yes. We are three brothers and even they have boys, so we thought if this a girl, it will be nice. I have a cousin who is like my real sister, that’s how we were brought up. So yes, we wanted (a girl) but no complaints. A child is a child, boy or girl.

Did you get time to be a full-time dad?

Yes. In fact, Genelia, the first 12 days she was home, after the barsa, she went to her mum’s place. She was there for 20-25 days. I used to visit them everyday and it was lovely spending time… Thankfully, soon after he was born, a film of mine got pushed so I had three months off. So from November, I was probably shooting a song for Bangistan, a couple of shoots for Bank Chor, but a majority of them were later, from the time he is born till now – I started shooting Great Grand Masti – I was relatively free so I got to spend a lot of time with him.

So for now, he is clearly a mama’s boy.

Yes. I think he is too young to make that choice right now. He is six months old… It’s just wonderful to see him wake up, as the first thing that he does is smile. That’s lovely.

How adept are you at changing nappies?

I’m great, but Genelia is fantastic. I remember trying to see her do it and learn. I think giving birth changes a woman in terms of the capacity and capability also. I think it’s just the way. And you want to be there for her and do your bit. So yes, changing a nappie, I learnt from her. I learnt how to wipe the bum…. I remember the first time I took cotton, dipped it in water, wiped his bum and put the same cotton in clean water. And she screamed, “It doesn’t go there.”

Travelling with a baby is really tough. You have already taken him on two foreign trips. Was it a nightmare?

Not at all. The first time he cried a bit, but the other two flights, he was fine. The first time, I remember we went to Goa and he was four-and-a-half months old. On the plane, when a baby starts crying, you are like ‘What do I tell people… please understand?’ I understand people who are probably single and married not understanding, but after having a child, I can only feel compassion towards parents who travel with babies on flights because it’s not how much trouble it is for anyone, but the baby once it’s crying. I remember the first time Genelia and I were sitting with the baby and the maid was behind with the milk bottle, Later, I sent the maid ahead and I sat behind.

What’s the one parenting tool you have learned from your father that you want to use with Riaan?

To give him space and to teach him to respect. I think that’s the core of any person. If you learn to respect, everything else will follow because that is the basic root of how you develop as a human being, as a person. You have to understand the value of respect. You can’t expect to be respected without respecting someone. So, I hope that I am able to instill that core value.

Do you see Genelia getting back to work or taking a long sabbatical like Ash?

I hope she does whatever makes her happy, more than anything else. It was her choice to take a break and spend that time together as a family and the child. But I am sure she would love to work. She is part of whatever I do as a production house. Creatively, in front of the camera I am sure, whenever she thinks she is ready and she wants to do it, that’s her decision. I would love to see her on screen.

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