So you are formally and finally engaged to Kunal Khemu?
Yes (laughs). Neither of us is used to all this. My mother (Sharmila Tagore) is right when she says a formal engagement is not for the couple but for others. As far as Kunal and I are concerned, we're very happily committed to one another. The announcement is for others to be assured that we are committed to one another. We've been together for five years. Now we've made a public commitment, and there was an implicit promise that I made to Kunal when he proposed to me.
What was that promise?
He did ask me if I'd marry him. But I was so excited on seeing the beautiful ring, I went around showing it to the five friends who were with us in Paris. I forgot to reply to his marriage proposal. I still haven't actually answered. Kunal has been joking about it.
So are you happy with the formal announcement?
I don't know why but I am very happy. Maybe the ring on my finger has something to do with it. We all have all these notions about ourselves. I thought I didn't want any formal sanction to my relationship with Kunal Khemu. I am quite disappointed to know I am quite a traditionalist and a romantic. I always thought of myself as a practical woman who doesn't care for social sanctions. But here I am enjoying my engagement.
You seem very happy?
When Kunal gave me the ring I was quite giggly and happy. Kunal went to great lengths to keep his proposal in Paris a secret from me. As you know, we live together and spend a lot of time together. And we're such good friends. We talk to one another about everything, even the smallest of decisions. That he had to take such a big decision on his own, must have been quite a task for him. And he has chosen the ring so well. I am really impressed by his taste.
His good taste is already confirmed by your presence in his life?
That's true! I am glad his good taste extends to jewellery. It had to be the perfect ring because I have to wear it on my finger all the time. I don't wear any jewellery at all. I've always found jewellery to be an encumbrance. But now I am very happy to carry the ring around on my finger for the rest of my life. With some adjustments.
I've to grow my nails. My fingers are too short. My brother Saif suggested that I get a manicure so that the ring doesn't look like it's in the finger of a 12-year old girl.
Are you two getting married?
We don't have an answer to that. We need to take a serious decision. Of course my mother has now already started planning our venue and menu for the wedding. She is a wonderful event planner. She had been planning my marriage for a long time. Now that there's a name for the groom on the invitation card, she's all set. Now we need to think about what kind of a wedding, when, etc. Kunal Khemu is a little disturbed because he thought he had bought himself four years of time with the engagement ring.
Maybe we will surprise ourselves by going into the next level of social sanction faster than we had planned. Kunal has a lot of integrity, fervor and ambitions. What I love the most about him is his consistency. In five years he has never wavered in his thoughts and beliefs.
You always said marriage was unimportant in your relationship with Kunal Khemu?
I always felt the only reason to get married is to have children. We've been very lucky to have very supportive parents. My mother is a very liberal wife and mother.
Many marriages in showbiz are crumbling apart. Does that scare you?
I've always felt when you are committed in a relationship; you've to work through the difficult times. I've seen my parents in a successful solid marriage for 44 years. I am sure they had their problems. They were completely different personalities. But they must have worked on their marriage. And they made it work. I never felt any insecurity regarding my parents' marriage. I think they handled their issues and the public face of their marriage was so dignified.
Then how according to you, does a modern marriage work?
There is no perfect relationship. You have to work around the dissatisfaction. One reason why marriages break faster now is because people live longer. Earlier people died at 60. Now they live to be a 100, so all that more time to spend in a marriage. How many years can you live happily in one relationship? You need to have a sense of commitment maturity and infinite patience to make a marriage last.
Are you arguing against marrying Kunal?
To keep a relationship going in today's day and age is very difficult. I'd like to think if my relationship has worked for five years it's permanent. We are all so self-centered. So am I. To give that much to a relationship is very difficult.
Would you be able to do it?
My happiness always came first. But now to make Kunal happy makes me happier. But ultimately I don't know how much I can sacrifice for anyone else. I always said we should not take the relationship for granted. We need to continue to communicate our feelings about one another, no matter what its repercussions. Only an honest approach can keep a relationship going. I've seen the dignity that my parents brought into their marriage. If I am a secure person today, it's because of marriage that my parents shared. I'd certainly want my child to feel the same sense of security.
Do you like the thought of having children?
I like other people's children.