Life beyond the ‘happily-ever-after’

One of Bollywood’s best actresses Vidya Balan talks about her marriage to Siddharth Roy Kapoor and how her life has changed after the wedding to Shubarna Mukerji Shu…

Adapting…

It did take me a while to get used to living on my own after marriage… I am used to a house full of people; it would get very unnerving when Siddharth was not at home. I am not someone who can just switch on the television or be happy with my book… I need to know there are people in the other room. I would rather have that little noise. I love my space but only as long as I know that everyone is at arm’s length… So for at least a couple of months, as soon as Siddharth would leave for work, I would bathe, get dressed and leave for Khar, my parent’s house.

Frankly other than that, there wasn’t much adjusting to do. Siddharth and I didn’t come together as teens; we didn’t have any unrealistic expectations. He is very accepting so I haven’t really had to change. He is very balanced and mature, generally very non-judgmental. Without too much time or effort, I realised I could just be myself with him. I don’t know how good it is for him, but it is very good for me! We are quite similar in our habits… I can imagine how some women have it very tough, with their husbands telling them whom to talk to and stuff, but then, I don’t think Siddharth and I would have been together had he been someone like that…

Temper-taming….

It is not a cake walk, and no one tells you that. You have to work together. You learn to adjust! If you ask me about adjustments, I think maintaining your identity is the biggest challenge because even if you do – and as an individual I have – people don’t. They see you as one, because you are on a personal level but as professionals? This again is understandable if it works both ways. But as a woman it is you who is subsumed to him… he is not subsumed by you! Even in the professional space you are inundated by questions about how much say your husband has in what you do…

I could not understand how when people sent invitations, they messaged or called Siddharth and said, ‘Please bring Vidya along’. If they are friends, family, it’s okay… If it is a professional thing it is not right. No one calls me and says, ‘Please bring Siddharth along’. They would call Siddharth separately… I couldn’t get my head around that.

There was also the fact that a lot of people tried telling me that my marriage would affect my career, I never once believed it but it kept playing at the back of my mind… To add to that ‘Ghanchakar’ and ‘Shadi Ke Side Effects’ didn’t work and I was like, shit, maybe there is something to it… I hate admitting this but yes, the thought played on my mind! Today, I realise there is nothing to that, some films work and some films don’t work. They don’t make that connect with the audience despite your best efforts and when that happens, you want to find the logic behind the failure. You want to put the blame on someone… and frankly it was the easiest explanation. They tell me Nutan became an actress after she was married… so what are we talking about? Maybe actors who want to be paired with younger actresses to look young, have come up with this notion that married actresses have no career!

There is no escaping the fact that this is a male dominated industry, we are a patriarchal society. I may be sounding like a feminist, but what else can explain the pressure on women to do roles that are not flattering to their age? I have thankfully always got age appropriate and stage appropriate roles. I have always maintained that I am a happy 35-year-old… And I am here to stay, as are a whole lot of others.

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