Dr Madhu Chopra may be known as the mother of global star Priyanka Chopra Jonas but that hasn’t stopped her from carving her own niche. Trained as an ENT specialist from Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, she worked for the armed forces for a significant part of her career.
This year is special for her. She became a grandmother to Malti Marie Chopra Jonas (daughter to Priyanka and Nick Jonas) and her clinic, Mumbai-based Aesthetic Studio, completed 14 years. Dr Madhu started the studio along with her husband Late Ashok Chopra in 2009.
In an interaction with HerStory, Dr Madhu and Dr Neetika Modi, Director, share their journey and vision for the coming times.
The star mother
Around 2008, Dr Madhu accompanied Priyanka to Florida where she was shooting for the Abhishek Bachchan and John Abraham starrer-Dostana. She shares that her sister, who is a neurosurgeon, sent her a flyer that had cosmetology courses.
“She told me to not waste my time and to train myself. I completed the courses and enjoyed it so much that I decided to bring that knowledge back to Mumbai.”
Back in India, she discussed the idea of starting a cosmetic surgeries studio with her husband, and eventually, Studio Aesthetique came into existence.
“Dr Ashok felt that India and particularly, Mumbai, needed a clinic that specialized in cosmetic treatment. He was already a specialist in laser treatment which focused on reducing belly fat,” says Dr Neetika.
Unfortunately, Dr Ashok passed away in 2013. Dr Neetika was the Chopra family’s dentist who also specialized in dentofacial treatments. “I shared a very good relationship with Dr Chopra and the family. There were times when we would even cross-refer our patients to each other.” Dr Neetika has been practicing dentistry for about 23 years now.
“Since we shared the same ideologies and vision of investing in technology, we decided to collaborate around end of 2018.”
Dr Madhu says they have tried to bring innovative aesthetic procedures to their customers including lip injections, non-surgical rhinoplasty, anti-aging derma fillers, and more. Additionally, the two have worked closely to deploy new-age photography techniques software that will help the patient know the outcome if he plans to go ahead with the treatment.
Today, Aesthetic Studio has become a one-stop solution for dentofacial solutions, cosmetic surgeries, and skin treatments. Situated in Juhu, Mumbai, it has clients which include movie stars “some of whom are in Hollywood”, cricketers, industrialists, and more. They, however, cannot name any client as there are confidentiality clauses in place.
“Utmost confidentiality, best doctors, and best equipment” are the basis of their practice, Dr Madhu reiterates.
Giving a different meaning to beauty in this age
Dr Neetika points out that the internet has democratized cosmetic surgeries and treatments. “Earlier, it was only those who were facing the camera who got these treatments done but today everyone aspires to correct what they feel is wrong with their body.”
She says that she along with Dr Madhu Chopra looks into the whole picture to understand and plan how to bridge the gap between what the patient desires and how it can be fulfilled. They plan the treatment together and work closely.
At a time when, on one hand, the concept of beauty is constantly redefined, and on the other, social media constantly puts pressure on unrealistic beauty standards, people are becoming aware of the importance of embracing their natural beauty. How does Studio Esthethique balance such predicaments?
Dr Neetika agrees that sometimes patients make unrealistic demands like, “We need PC’s (Priyanka Chopra) smile. I tell them that you don’t have PC’s nose or chin so I cannot give you that smile because it has to fit into who you are and your face type.”
She adds that in the modeling industry, some of the girls who come for treatment are as young as 18 years old!
“These girls are so starry-eyed that we have to sit with them, sometimes with their parents, and refuse a lot of procedures like chin augmentation,”
Dr Madhu says she tells her clients should not accept themselves if they are not happy or feel less confident. “There is no need to feel guilty about wanting to look good and pretty.” She also says that aging and living in polluted cities takes a beating on the skin. “You cannot stop the lines from happening on the skin because you’re overstressed from work or home or other responsibilities. The environment in which people are living in today is not as great as those in which our forefathers lived.”
And so, in such cases, she affirms, “You have a right to maintain your skin and your body.”
However, she says she becomes strict with clients who try to go overboard. “I just enhance what you are and don’t get into the remodeling of faces which makes you look like a different person.”
Dr Neetika says they also ensure to counsel the clients properly and make them understand the treatments before going ahead with the procedures.
Looking back, Dr Madhu shares that it has been quite a journey for her as a woman entrepreneur and as a doctor. According to her, the studio has evolved along with the ecosystem and the society at large. On facing biases as a woman doctor and entrepreneur, she says that men are showing more confidence and supporting them as well. “There was a huge bias against lady doctors especially when I used to live in small towns. But I am happy to see the change and the growing awareness among men.”
She says it is also very encouraging to see women exceeding in whatever roles they are taking on.
Going forward, Studio Aesthetique plans to expand to other cities in India and abroad like Dubai. These plans are still in progress. Additionally, they also plan to bring in more technology which includes bringing in more gadgets, equipment, machines and more. Studio Aesthetique is also collaborating with well-known Mumbai-based dermatologist, Monica Jacob, to up their game and enhance the services they are currently offering.
“Scientific advances are happening very fast, and it’s more important to stay abreast with them. Similarly, I believe that collaboration is the way forward. People who hold expertise in different fields help you become a one-stop shop,” she concludes.