Though outwardly Kajol remains calm and continues with her work, the actress is actually hurt badly over her father Shomu Mukherjee's death.
'Kajol has taken the death really badly. Her parents being separated, she didn't see as much of him during his lifetime as she would have liked to. I think there's a sense of guilt over his going. That perhaps she could've spent more time with him. Though she doesn't show it in public, Kajol is deeply wounded by the bereavement,' said a close friend.
Youngest son of Filmistan Studios founder Sashadhar Mukherjee, Shomu died on the eve of her 'U, Me Aur Hum' premiere. However, when asked about her father's demise, Kajol was a picture of strength.
Kajol told IANS: 'I'm coping well enough. The best wa
y to deal with it is your work. Then there's my daughter and husband who need constant attention. Plus, I'm required at a dozen places at the same time. There is no time to think about anything.
'My father was suffering for so long. It was more a freedom from pain than anything else. I'm sure he is happy wherever he is.'
Is her favourite pastime, reading, helping her cope with grief?
'I do mostly mindless reading. Gimme my Mills & Boon and mushy pulp novels and I am happy. I don't need books to sharpen my mind. It is doing quite well for itself, thank you. The reading habit continues in spite of the baby. You know, I think you can always find time to do what you really want to do.'
Work is a blessing for the actress, who gave hits like 'Baazigar', 'Karan Arjun', 'Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge', 'Dushman' and 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai'.
Recently, she played an Alzheimer's patient in her husband's directorial debut 'U, Me Aur Hum'.
'To play the Alzheimer's patient convincingly, I had a doctor on the sets to guide me. The best thing he said about someone suffering from the disease was he or she forgets all the experiences that colour their reactions. That one line helped me to play this character.
'How did I look so blank when I got an attack? I can't explain it. I've a vivid imagination - I thought of what my reaction would be if I really had the disease.'
The actress says that she never experienced any identity crisis.
'I'm confident by nature. I know who I am. I've never been through an identity crisis. So what you see on screen comes from within. Yes, I'm very instinctive on camera. Some actors believe they get better with every passing take. Not me. I believe for all actors the first take is the best. But then I haven't worked with that many actors.'
Right now Karan Johar is keen to sign her along with Shah Rukh Khan for his next film, however Kajol says she will first read the script and then decide.
'We're talking about it. Yes, I'm aware he thinks of me for all his films. I couldn't do Karan's 'Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna'. Shooting in New York for 90 days with my baby wasn't possible. Karan understood. Even his next requires foreign shooting. Let's see. I'm not saying yes to him until I hear his script.'
Fearless about competition, Kajol said: 'I really appreciate a good performance by colleagues. I've had actors touch me with their performances. I don't think one actor or performance can be compared with any other. No, I've never felt competitive.
'I don't think of films and performances as a marathon race. I truly enjoy my work. And I'm too selfish as an actor to care what other actors are doing. But, yes, I do need competent co-stars to give back to me what I give them in a shot.'