Gauri’s parents were dead against the marriage. Her mother had threatened to commit suicide. Her father called me over and said it wouldn’t work out. For six years, we carried on our relationship clandestinely. Once I even went to her birthday party incognito. I used the name I was falled in Fauji – Abhimanyu. Her parents innocently remarked that I looked like a distant relative of Mr Dilip Kumar. But when they got to know my identity later, all hell broke loose.
They’re a typical Punjabi family. I was told that one of her uncles is very aggro. He kept a sword hidden in his underclothes. But when I got to know him he turned out to be a lamb. I managed to patao all her relatives one by one. I would take Gauri’s cousins to the disco. Gradually everyone liked me and all her mamas and mamis kept assuring me that her parents would come around.
Things weren’t working out, Gauri was locked up at home, she would keep on telling me, “Shah Rukh, you don’t know my parents… you take things so lightly” and I would tell her that things would be allright. I’d tell her those 10 years down the line, we’d be laughing about all the trying times. And that’s just what we do today. Sometimes in the nights, we sit and think about all that had happened and have a good laugh. But at one point, the pressure did get to Gauri. She felt that I was stifling her with my possessiveness…
At one point of time, I was extremely possessive about Gauri. I would fight with her if she wore a swimsuit to the pool or even if she left her hair loose. She looked very pretty when she opened her hair and I didn’t want other boys to look at her. It was basically insecurity because we couldn’t talk about our relationship. We didn’t meet so often. But I was extremely insanely possessive.
Eventually she could not take it. She needed a break. So in 89, she just came down to Mumbai with her friend without telling me. When I got to know I was frantic. The day before she left, she came to meet me. It was her birthday and I had decorated my room with balloons and bought her a lot of presents. When she came to meet me she cried and I thought maybe she was overwrought because of all the tension. I confided in my friends Ashish and Benny. I told my mother about it… she told me to go and bring back the girl I loved. She gave me Rs.10, 000 and we all came to Mumbai. We spent the first two days at a friend’s house. The rest of the time we slept on the footpath near Oberoi. I still remember we used to wash up in the Taj, the bathroom behind 1900’s was being done up at that time and we used to sneak in early mornings for a wash.
We spent most of the time walking around looking for her everywhere especially the beaches. Gauri loves beaches. But I didn’t know much about Bombay then. On our last day, here a met s Sardar taxiwala who spoke to us about Aksa beach. We took a chance and went there. By then we had run out of money. I had sold off my camera too. The cab dropped us to Aksa and we were left with 20 odd rupees. Then someone told us of a beach called Gorai. So we took a ferry across, searched a lot but couldn’t find her. And then when we were coming back by rickshaw to reach the ferry on time, around 12, I heard some people shouting. The rickshaw driver told us it was a private beach (I was describing her to people, telling them about her hair, saying she’s a friend and I’ve lost her. I used to love her hairstyle. But she cut it just to spite me). I told the rickshaw driver to take me to this beach. So we went and there she was. Standing in the water, wearing a T-shirt. By then it didn’t matter even if she wasn’t wearing anything. She came over and we hugged, and cried. It was then that I realized I was being unreasonably possessive. I also realized that no one could ever love Gauri the way I loved her and that gave me tremendous confidence.
Our wedding took place in the strangest circumstances. We had already rung up Gauri’s parents from her aunt’s place and told them that we were married. Pandemonium broke loose, her mother stopped eating and the whole atmosphere at their place was like a house in mourning. I entered to meet her father. I felt guilty. I think when I spoke to them they realized that they had no other go but to take this risk. I really identify with this feeling when I do a film like Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge.
I can understand Gauri’s parent’s apprehension. After all they were a Punjabi joint family. About 15 people and Gauri was the youngest, the most sheltered one. Imagine she announces that she wants to get married to this ruffled looking guy belonging to the wrong religion having a wrong attitude and working in the wrong profession. There wasn’t a right thing going for me. I don’t blame them. They may have thought that any day they would have got a better deal for Gauri. Let’s put it this way. If my daughter brought in somebody like me, I would hit the ceiling.
Her parents had seen me on television and were quite fond of me. But they thought my name was Abhimanyu and then they got to know that I am. Then her brother would keep on threatening me in his best Amrish Puri voice “Keep away from my sister of else…” Finally when I saw him I was in for a shock. He was this fair kid with blue eyes not even remotely intimidating. In fact when my friend Ashok saw him he said “There must be more to him yaar, he sounds real deadly on the phone.”
We never wanted to go against the wishes of our parents. The thought of eloping never crossed our minds. But we knew that we’d get married for sure. When I met Gauri’s parents I just couldn’t get myself to say that I loved their daughter. That I thought was a stupid thing to say… because I could never love their daughter as much as they loved her. They had given birth to and brought up Gauri… my love could never be a substitute for their love.
I had a Hindu style wedding as well as a court marriage. Court marriage is a must if it’s an inter-religion marriage. You are supposed to do in on the sly and then wait for a month or so but it was out within three days that I am getting married to a girl called Gauri. There was a problem because some Muslim organizations thought that I shouldn’t get married to a Hindu so there were morchas outside my house. This was very ironic because my mom was a social worker and special executive magistrate so she used to organize about 25 intercaste marriages at our house. We wanted it to be a short and sweet wedding but Gauri’s parents wanted it in a typical Hindu fashion. And then I relented because I thought what the hell you get married only once in a lifetime. At least I thought I would.
Normally the dulha comes on the ghoda and he isn’t supposed to see his bride till the pheras are over. But the car that was supposed to pick her up after her make-up was done, conked out. Then panic struck because the mahurat was at a fixed time so I picked her up, dropped her, went back and returned on a horse. And then halfway through, I changed over from the horse to an elephant. Climbing the elephant was a major problem, my friends pushed me up.
When my mother was alive, she used to call me anti-social; I used to never attend any functions or weddings. My mother used to always warn me that nobody would come for my wedding. I decided to have all the fun I could at my own wedding so I danced for the one kilometer stretch to the venue. At the wedding I stood on my toes and wouldn’t let Gauri put the haar round my neck. All my friends know I have a sense of humour so they kept warning me repeatedly “Shah Rukh don’t poke any fun there because you won’t mean anything but people will misunderstand.” As this was my only chance to see a wedding from such close proximity, whatever the pandit said I’d ask him to explain. And the whole ritual went on for hours. So my friend who’d warned me earlier kept telling me not to get this serious. Then there was some ritual that required Gauri to wash my feet and I didn’t want her to do it. When it was time for the bidaai Gauri sat in the car and started crying. Soon her mother started crying, her father and brother followed. So then in all seriousness I said if you are all feeling so bad then you can keep her I’ll come and see her regularly.
Since we are from different religions and me being the way I am (when they look at me nobody can ever think that I can be responsible about life) I could imagine how insecure her parents were feeling.
For the first time after knowing each other for seven years we spent the night together. Before this we’d always be worried whenever we went out even if it was for a stroll, as to what if somebody sees us. It was quite an exciting feeling that we were sleeping together and that when I wake up in the morning, she will be there.
Can you believe the next evening I took a flight back Bombay and the day after that I shot for Dil Aashna Hai. Actually I had gone on the sets because the unit wanted to congratulate me but they asked me to shoot one shot and before I knew it, one shot became five and I was late in coming back home and we had a big fight.
Very few guests came from the film industry – Rajiv Mehra, Vivek Vaswani, Aziz Mirza and G.P. Sippy. Juhi and her mom had a party for us when we came to Bombay. All Gauri’s friends came for the marriage. Mine was a house-in-mourning, so there wasn’t any festivity.
I wore my Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman suits. At the sangeet and all I was the life of the party because the atmosphere was so gloomy I really decided to make things look a little more cheerful. In fact Gauri’s mom is a good dancer and the life of any party but she wasn’t dancing at her own daughter’s sangeet. By the end of the wedding everyone grew very fond of me.
In the gifts there were none of the things that I wanted. No computer games. People are so stupid; they should give me what I want. Instead, they gave a lot of crystal.
Gauri’s father had arranged an army band that played the songs from my forthcoming releases, mainly Deewana and Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman. It was the first time I wore suits and the first sign of Gauri’s mother thawing was when she told me that we never thought you were so nice looking. I wore a tuxedo for my reception and I gelled my hair.
My logic was that the person who should enjoy the most at my wedding should be me…
I respect Gauri, because she is a woman and she is going to be a mother soon. If it’s a boy, I want him to be a badmash. He should do all the bad things by the time he is 16, so that he can sober down after that. If I have a daughter, I’ll give her all the love that’s stored within me. Though my wife thinks I’m mad, I know I’ll drop my daughter to the parties she’s invited to. I’ll want her friends to say, “Wow what a handsome father you have!” When she’s with her boyfriend in the backseat of our car, I’ll be at the wheel, driving her around. My parents were my yaars. Similarly, I’ll be my baby’s best buddy. I love Gaurima because she is so honest and she complements me. Gauri teaches me how to be diplomatic. She keeps telling me that I say too many things and that I should not. Because people don’t know me well enough and then they completely misconstrue what I’ve said. So, it’s better to keep shut. She had taught me to switch the lights off before going to bed, To have dinner at the proper place, to put my clothes in the proper place, she has taught me how to dress up well too. She has turned me from an animal to a man. She spoils me a lot. She is the stabilizing factor in my life. I would go haywire because I am an extremist. And it’s not my achievements, for which she respects or likes me. She likes me because I make her laugh. And boy, do I make her laugh?