Full-time actress and a full-time mother, one wonders how she does it all and with so much passion; yet, one conversation with Uma Riyaz Khan is all it takes to know one can have it all! She is one of the few actors who love acting and takes cinema passionately and has shared screen space with some of the leading stars of Kollywood. For her acting is a craft and she proves her mettle every single time she’s on-screen and has been constantly juggling between many mediums of entertainment. The versatile actor speaks to RITZ about her career choices, her family life, and her experiences on and off-screen as a mother and much more.
Text: Ancy Donal Madonna
Wardrobe Courtesy: Stephin Lalan
Styling: Sunil Karthik
Jewellery: Raji Anand
Hair & Makeup: Hadaza Grooming Studio
Photography: Camera Senthil
Location: Radisson Blu Citi Centre
Be happy and be positive is my mantra. Whatever negative things come across don’t take it seriously, omit negativity and just go with your way of living!
You have been juggling between many mediums of entertainment, looking back how do you describe your journey?
I started acting in movies when I was three and later took up acting as my career when I was into my teen but I’ve been juggling between the silver screen and small screen. During the ‘90s I acted in serials like Kudumbam, Marumagal and more and have done 40 to 45 serials on television. Later I did Anbe Sivam with Kamal Haasan so it’s like juggling between the two screens and there is always a shift in my career. There are still things to be accomplished and I’m on the road to achieve them. I’m happy that now after so many years people look up to me and like my work.
From acting, dancing and now a famous cook, how has life changed?
Day to day life is changing; life was different when my sons were kids now they are grown up and so life is just changing not by the age but by the living. With me being a participant in Cooku With Comali, my fan base has changed, now I have gained a lot of young adult fans who like and appreciate my work.
You have won the Cooku With Comali Runner up title, how happy are you?
I’m very happy with me winning the runner up title. The show was a complete entertainment and fun factor for me so I never saw that as a competition but yeah I’m happy.
How fun was it cooking with the Comalis? Tell us an interesting anecdote about the show.
It was amazing being around the Comalis, they are full of joy and energy and I really miss being in the show now. Even though others tease them they take it easy and don’t fuss about it. I liked that in them and I wanted them to come out in flying colours. The act between me and Pugazh was so much fun and I would say that was one of the interesting moments.
You are a mother, wife, and actress, which one do you think is the toughest?
I would say being a mom is the toughest because there are too many responsibilities. It’s not just being a mother to the child, but I take care of everything. After that comes the actress, wife or friend. Being a mom is the biggest task in life for me.
You often acknowledge Shariq as your best friend, how about your bonding and what conversations do you have with your son?
Off late it’s become a little serious because he is matured now so he is going in his own way but he just tells me what he does and stuff like that, so I just give him that space. Coming from a celebrity family we just guided him to get into the industry and now he has to take lead. So Shariq is just doing well and I’m super happy for him.
If I’m not working I do a lot of homework, as in I’m very much into dogs and I love them more than human beings and my family. So they come first and I take care of almost all the stray dogs and puppies in my surroundings. I don’t call it a social service but yeah I love doing it!
Are you the same person at work that you are at home?
I am the coolest person you will ever see in my shooting spot and the strictest at home. I am running the house and taking care of all the chores. Whereas when I’m outside I’m the happiest person, It’s like you have to entertain people and get entertained as well so I just love being happy and keep others happy.
What is your fitness regime like?
I dance and was into sports before other than that I really don’t work out or take fitness seriously but recently started my fitness journey after my husband’s constant reminder. I would say my glow comes from within as I am happy and lively always. I call myself Lady Charlie Chaplin because I make others laugh and enjoy the moment so that gives me the pleasure.
What is your inspiration?
Myself, I believe in myself, I decide so I am the inspiration for myself. My mom brought me up as a single parent and she had a lot of will power, I’ve learned that from her. After a point, I started to decide for myself and here I am now.
Uma Riyaz in 3 words: Chirpy, lovable and helpful
What are the 3 worst dishes you ever cooked? Pasta, Spaghetti and Sambar Rice
Dream role: Savithri’s role from Navaratri and Sridevi’s role from MoondramPirai
Favourite holiday: London
Favourite attire: T-shirt and jeans
Makeup essentials: Lipstick and cream
Style statement: Keep it simple and dress according to the occasion
An obsession: Dogs
I love: Food