Chunky Panday has an amazing sense of humour. No wonder, his interview about how he met his wife, Bhavna, is a laugh-a-thon. Read on as he talks tongue-in-cheek about how he proposed to her simply because his telephone bills were alarming and his trips to Delhi were burning a hole in his pocket, and more…
When and how did you first meet Bhavna?
Twenty-five years ago, after judging a preliminary round of Miss India in Delhi, I missed my flight to Mumbai, so I went to the discotheque Ghungroo. Bhavna was there with a friend of hers. She had snuck out of the house because it was a weekend.
Who played Cupid?
Bhavna’s college friend, Ivy George (who is in Chicago now).
Did the bell begin tolling immediately or did that happen later?
The moment I saw Bhavna (I don't know about her), I felt that I have seen her somewhere before… may be in the past life. (Afterthought) Oh God, I am sounding so romantic!
Take us through the initial days of your relationship...
When Bhavna gave me her number, I didn’t have a paper or pen but fortunately, I have a very good memory with numbers. A month later when I was in Delhi, I called up her house and I was told that she had flown abroad for good. I thought our love story had come to an end. Later, I came to know that she had gone abroad only for a few months to train to become an air hostess with Lufthansa. Then a common friend informed me that Bhavna is in Mumbai and is staying at the Leela Hotel. I called up the hotel and asked for her room number. Later on, with her girlfriends from Lufthansa, we behaved like crazy youngsters and hung out together a lot.
What was the ice-breaker?
We broke a lot of ice and had a lot of drinks. Another thing that worked for me was that I took her for the Michael Jackson concert and got VIP seats too!
Who took the initiative of a first date?
I was shooting for Tirchi Topiwale. She came on my sets with her friends. And the first date was set up.
Did you guys go Dutch on your first date?
I wish we had, but that night I paid the bill (laughs).
What did you take with you on the first date?
I borrowed my brother's BMW convertible and took the girls for a joyride in that open air car to impress them.
Who said I love you first?
You know something, we still haven’t said ‘I love you’ to each other till now because it's understood that we love each other.
How many times in a day would you speak to her?
I would sleep for four hours and speak to her for 20. In those days, calls on STD and ISD were very expensive. Also, I kept flying to Delhi to meet her. So, one day, I told her, ‘This is too expensive a relationship. Let's try to cut costs down and live in the same town and maybe, get married.’ And I proposed to her.
Who is more possessive between the two of you?
Both of us are possessive about each other.
Who proposed marriage?
I proposed marriage. I was shooting in Sikkim and she was on a long flight to Germany and the realisation hit me: ‘God I can't live without this girl.’ When she came back from her trip, I flew to Delhi and took her out to Bukhara, a restaurant in the Maurya hotel, and proposed to her. She instantly said,“Yes.”