Couple of success

Behind every successful man is a woman the saying goes! And in the case of Bollywood, some successful women have men behind them too. Here’s presenting the married halves of our stars, who you don’t hear much about

Sharman and Prerna Joshi

The youthful Sharman Joshi, last hailed for Rang De Basanti, has been happily married to Prerna (daughter of actor Prem Chopra) for five years and they are proud parents of a tiny baby girl. They live in Andheri but Sharman grins, “Prerana has lived in Bandra all her life, so we want to shift there some time later when I save up enough.”

The starry-eyed Sharman says, “My most memorable Valentine’s Day was the second year of courtship with my wife. (We courted for eight years before we married.) I had made some big plans for Valentine’s. I decked the entire car with balloons and confetti, carried a picnic table and we drove to Madh Island. We set it up on the beach at night. There was good food and wine! I lit candles but since the wind blew them out, I set up a bonfire instead.”

Another memory: “I hate anything that goes circular on a horizontal plane. When we were dating, Prerna wanted me to ride the merry-go-round with her at Essel World. I somehow managed that but was sick for the rest of the day. Only later did I confide my phobia to her.”

And the helpful husband says: “From cleaning up our daughter to putting her to sleep, I do it all. Taking care of her, especially at night, is my duty. We take her out for a drive in the middle of the night if she doesn't sleep. I think she’ll be like my wife Prerna…”

Shiney and Anu Ahuja

“We have been married for seven years and I don’t feel the need to shout this from the rooftops,” says Shiney of wife Anu, who’s practicing medicine in the U.S. “My wife doesn’t wish to be written about and I want to keep it that way.”

As far as love goes, “She is God's gift to me. A story on our divorce was funny and initially embarrassing for my wife. But we later laughed about it.”

He insists that long-distance marriages work since “I love talking to my wife who is in the US. We do not miss a single opportunity to talk to each other. Why can’t long distance marriages work? Ours does. My wife is brilliant at what she does. I don’t want her to sit home doing nothing, just because she is married to me.

“If I start speaking about my wife Anu, I will go on and on! But she has a completely different life from mine and has taken a conscious decision not to be part of the limelight. I respect her decision. I am really proud of her, she is doing so well.”

What does she think of Shiney’s work? “I feel that wherever I am today, is because of her. She is really proud of me. She’s a good critic but knows I am critical of myself. So she eases things out for me.”

Apparently, their home is being renovated and the Ahuja’s will soon shift in. “By the time the architect and designer are done with the house, my wife and I will not be able to recognize it,” Shiney grins.

Irrfan and Sutapa Khan

This tall, dark and handsome actor is married to successful writer Sutapa Sikdar and they have a son, Babil. Both NSD graduates, for Irrfan, the one person he seeks to impress, is Sutapa.

He grins, “She is my biggest critic. At times I get frustrated and say, ‘Arrey yaar, thodi to tareeff kar do (please praise me a little)’ Sutapa writes scripts. We worked together in ‘Banegi Apni Baat’ (the immensely popular TV serial). Though I enjoyed it, she says it was one of her worst experiences. I am very finicky about playing a character and she got tired. Now she gives it back to me. I do a role and she will find some fault or the other with my acting. But honestly, this has helped me grow as an actor.”

The protective father to son Babil emerges says, “I want to do is a film that my kids can watch. My son gets scared looking at me on screen! I don’t want my kids to grow up feeling that dad didn’t do any film especially for them.”

Wife Sutapa has also dabbled with films, having written the dialogues for Shabd and Supari. Besides which, she wrote the script for the award winning public service advertisement on women’s rights, ‘Kya Aapko Pata Hai’.

What cements their marriage: “Fortunately, my wife is from the same industry so she understands the ways of Bollywood. She knows I am not sleeping with other women and I am always there whenever she needs me. We don’t believe in you live your life, I have my own.”

Munish and Pooja Makhija

Successful actress/director/producer Pooja Bhatt married Munish Makhija in romantic Goa. It’s a second marriage for Makhija, who owns a lounge bar called The Other Side at Morjeim Beach in Goa. Besides being one of Channel V’s most successful VJs, Udham Singh, Munish has also dabbled in a career in law.

Says Pooja “I always wanted to get married; I was waiting for the right person. After becoming a director, I became more responsible and was ready for marriage. I had known Munish for a month during the shooting of Paap. When he asked me to marry him, I agreed.”

But it wasn’t love at first sight… “It was a gradual build-up of respect and affection for each other. Ultimately, your problem is your problem. You cannot expect a man to hold your hand and change your life. I did not want solutions. I wanted a companion. Marriage is about understanding and respecting each other. And I found that in my husband.”

Has marriage changed her? “If I change, there would be something wrong somewhere. Munish is independent and has no reason to compete with me. I am not here to compete. We are different from each other but, as they say, opposites attract. I spent the most wonderful moments of my life with my husband at Madgaon Beach in Goa.”

Currently, Pooja and Munish are busy doing up a farmhouse they’ve bought just outside Bombay and are filling the place with adopted dogs.

Sonu and Pooja Ahluwalia

Ex-Miss India (who passed her crown on to Aishwarya Rai), Pooja Batra, is married to orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Sonu Ahluwalia, and now lives in Los Angeles, California! But her husband has no objection to her occasionally flying back to Bombay to keep in touch with a film career. She was last seen in Taj Mahal and will next appear in Ravi Chopra’s Babul.

Crazy about pasta she grins, “My husband helps me with the sundry chopping of vegetables and boiling the pasta. We dated for two-and-a-half years before tying the knot and a common friend in London set us up, while I was on a world tour for Bollywood shows.”

A Harvard graduate, Sonu instantly fell in love with this flawless beauty and while they dated, he bought several of her films, just to know the film business better.

Pooja now cannot stop praising her mother-in-law and, “A very supportive husband who encourages my film career. While I still keep in shape, we take the household chores at 50-50. Sonu cooks and I do the cleaning. He is great with non-vegetarian cuisine while I excel in the veggie stuff.”

What they also love doing together is, “Share quality time watching Hindi movies and participating in athletic outdoor activities.”

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