Ira Khan Interview: I spent 20 years thinking you have to be sad for people to love you | Hindi Movie News

We have been taught that if you brush your teeth, you won’t get cavities, but nobody taught us what we should do to keep our minds healthy,” points out Ira Khan, as she gives us a tour of her community centre located at a quaint bungalow in Bandra. The 25-year-old, who is Aamir Khan and Reena Dutta’s daughter, talks to us about her personal battle with mental health and how she wants to champion this cause for the rest of her life.

‘I turned out to be a depressed person’
Sharing how it all began she says, “While growing up, my mind decided that to be loved, I need to be a slightly broken person. I made this perception by watching a lot of movies. I remember being as young as 8 or 10 years old and telling myself to fake a smile to repress my feelings, so that I grew up being slightly broken, because I believed that only then people will love me. So, I systematically made sure that I turned out to be a depressed person.”

Depression is partly genetic in my case’
Ira has a history of battling mental health issues and has been vocal about it. She has been undergoing treatment for cyclic depression, “Depression is a little complicated. It is partly genetic, partly psychological, and social. In my case, it is partly genetic. There is a history of mental health issues in my family on my mom and dad’s side,” says Ira.
‘I blame myself for my depression’
“My therapist said that one of the trigger points was my parents, who handled their divorce as well as they could at that point. It was amicable. I am not blaming them, but what they didn’t realise is that because they made it seem like divorce was not a big deal, there was a perception my mind created of the situation. We create perceptions and we don’t necessarily communicate to people about those. So, I blame myself for my depression. I spent 20 years thinking that you have to be sad for people to love you. But now how do I go back? I want to be happy! So now, I have to systematically undo everything that I have done,” says Ira.

Aamir Khan and daughter Ira Khan

Aamir Khan and daughter Ira Khan

‘I’ve made a chat group with my parents and Kiran aunty; I reach out to them for help’
Talking about her support system, Ira says, “I reach out to both my parents for help. I also turn to Kiran (Rao) aunty. In fact, I have made a phone chat group with all three of them. And when it comes to Popeye (fiancé Nupur Shikhare), he has the emotional bandwidth to spend time with me. Being there for someone takes time and energy. It takes a certain level of commitment. So, I feel very lucky to have someone like him in my life, who wanted to invest in trying to understand what I was going through.”
‘I want to focus on my foundation for the rest of my life’
Before she turned her focus to her foundation Agatsu that helps people battling mental health issues, Ira had a tryst with showbiz. She was an AD on Sonakshi Sinha-starrer web show Dahaad. But she’s not interested in pursuing a career in the movies. “Agatsu (which means self-victory) is my full-time job. At the centre, we have a neuroscience workshop, mental health hour, youth peer meet, dance classes, games evening & other activities spread across the week for people to de-stress and engage in. I am not doing anything else, but this for the rest of my life. I truly appreciate storytelling through films, but there are a lot of other people who can do that, I don’t have to do it!”
She adds, “Why should one wait till he/she absolutely cannot bear it (mental stress) any more and then ask for help? Why can’t one just fix it when it is even a little bit problematic? Self-awareness, communication, resilience is important, and if everything else fails where you can’t take therapy, or you can’t take medication, then human connections work.”
‘We know that we want to get married on January 3’
Ira got engaged to her trainer of many years, Nupur Shikhare (who she lovingly calls Popeye) last November. Talking about their marriage plans, she says, “We know that we want to get married on January 3, but which year… we haven’t decided on that (laughs!). January 3 is very special for us as that’s the date when we
first kissed.”

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