Karisma Kapur feels that the gap created by her exit from the movie industry has been more than filled up by her sister Kareena. She also expresses joy over carrying forward their family's acting tradition along with their cousin Ranbir, Bollywood's current heartthrob.
"I don't regret my decision. I think it is a great graduation for me. Kareena took the place where I left off, if I can say so. Now my cousin (Ranbir) is also doing so well. I am glad that the tradition is continuing," Karisma, who quit the industry in 2003 after marriage, said in an interview to IANS.
She married Delhi-based industrialist Sanjay Kapur, but they divorced this year. The actress of hits like "Raja Hindustani" and "Biwi No. 1" took a break from acting to raise her children - Samaira, 8 and Kiaan, 3.
Her comeback film was 2012 release "Dangerous Ishhq", which got a lukewarm response at the box office. Even though she is back under the arc lights, she still puts her children before everything else.
"Earlier, it was a conscious decision for me not to work. I was happy to be away and I wanted to be with my children during their formative years. I do step out now, but my first priority is my kids. This is how it will always be for me," said Karisma, who also acted in non-commercial films like "Fiza" and "Zubeidaa".
Asked about her children's response to her star status, she says her daughter treats her like a regular mother.
"My daughter is the most normal towards me. For her, I am just her mom. I am just a regular mom and the actor comes after that. If she likes something that I am wearing, she tells me and if she doesn't, she still makes it a point to let me know," she said.
Karisma said that she is more of a disciplinarian than a strict parent.
"I won't say I am a strict mother, but discipline is important. Timing and routine are important for kids. My children also look forward to that," she said.
"I think it is important to be a friend to your kids. But it is also equally important to set boundaries. My mother was a strong influence and so was my dad. My mom was my friend whom I couldn't cross," she said.
Karisma also wants to protect her children from the limelight.
"I try to shield my children as far as possible from the public glare. I want them to have a normal childhood, like we had. We went to school by the school bus, had school food... There was no special treatment given to us. The same applies to my children as well," the 39-year-old said.
But being brought up in the lap of luxury, it was very tough for Samaira to believe that her family was different from the rest.
"She thought everyone's mom was an actor and everyone's autographs are taken. Having a masi (Kareena), a mama (Ranbir) like that, it was tough for her to understand. My son's still young, but he will get a grip of this from my daughter," said the actress.
The actress recently launched her book "My Yummy Mummy Guide" on pregnancy and motherhood.