One morning, a few months ago, the city woke up to find the newspapers splashed with snapshots of their sudden nuptials. Renowned tabla maestro Bikram Ghosh and pretty actress Jaya Sil had married, even as billboards across the city were emblazoned with posters of their film Hotath Neerar Jonye. The bold tale of love had already created quite a stir and when the lead pair married, people just couldn't get enough of them.
Today, a little over three months into their union, the newlyweds couldn't be happier. And the sense of contentment is mirrored in Bikram's professional life as well. After the success of his first album Rhythmscape, the fast-fingered tabla player is all set to wow fans with another one titled Samaa ' a Hindi pop album that that has such singing stars as Shankar Mahadevan, Shaan and Raghav among others lending their voices to Bikram's original compositions. Music aside, a second film, Choy, featuring Bikram and Rupa Ganguly will also hit the big screen at the close of the year.
If Bikram is neck-deep in work, his beautiful bride is revelling in her new-found role as wife and daughter-in-law. And after 14 films in seven languages, not to mention a slew of commercials and a much-appreciated stint in the soppy Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii, a well-deserved break it is. But the NSD (National School of Drama) graduate promises her many admirers that she will be back acting soon enough. Meanwhile, she's happy concentrating all her energies on her husband and their new life together.
Bikram on Jaya
After my first marriage fell apart, I was single for over seven years. Naturally, I was rather wary of making any serious commitments. Yet, when I met Jaya for the very first time during the shooting of Hotath Neerar Jonye, the chemistry was instant and we hit it off almost immediately. It was just one of those things that's hard to capture in words. There are moments in life when you just have to take a call ' we had these strong feelings for each other and basically, decided to act on them.
I remember our initial interaction was at an acting workshop at Sohag Sen's home. We were made to sit in front of each other and speak at length about ourselves, our thoughts and our beliefs. On her part, Jaya was a wee bit reserved, although I reeled off my entire life ' the ups, the downs and the in-betweens ' with a straight face. By the end of that session, we were laughing uncontrollably.
What struck me about Jaya from the very beginning was her integrity and her strong values. I've spent a lot of time abroad and have received offers to settle down in several cities across the world. Yet, I always found myself coming back to Calcutta. In a sense, I realised that deep down within, I was even more traditional than I thought I was. That's why marrying Jaya was like a coming home of sorts ' she is my comfort zone.
Which is why nowadays, I'm really quite comfortable just staying at home and spending time with her rather than hitting the nightclubs and partying like I used to before.
Working with Jaya was a great learning experience as she went out of her way to show me the ropes. I remember my first scene for Hotath Neerar Jonye was a disaster. I was made to comb my hair neatly (rather uncharacteristic of me), carry a Santinketani jhola and wear a long kurta. I felt like a hick and it came through in the scene. Jaya noticed my discomfort and called me up later that evening with some precious acting advice. The very next day, I rendered my best scene.
What really makes us work as a couple is our understanding of each other. While we're newlyweds and all is nice and rosy right now, we are mature enough to know that romance will fly out of the window soon and then all we have is each other.
Jaya on Bikram
Looking back to December of last year when Bikram and I first met, I recall how his honesty and sincerity drew me. At first, I was confused especially at how fast things were moving between us. In fact, when he first brought up the subject of marriage, I had a good laugh. But then deep down, I knew he was the one for me and after some time, I accepted his proposal.
What I love most about Bikram, apart from his endearing smile, is his sense of humour, honesty and yes, even that innocent streak. At times, he's almost like a little child ' one big softie. Loving and romantic, he's full of sweet gestures that show me how much I mean to him. Just the other day, the bulb in our bedroom fused while I was taking out some clothes from his closet. Rather than see me struggle in the dark, Bikram immediately changed the bulb. It's small things like these that touch me. Naturally, we do have our share of squabbles and fights. But that's part and parcel of being in love. It's only when you experience those pangs of estrangement that you realise how much you love the other person.
Our marriage also works on account of the many similar interests we share ' we like the same music and movies. When it comes to food, though, we have different tastes. I love chicken and rui maach while Bikram abhors anything with chicken and prefers bhetki. But apart from that, we're similar souls. I never thought that anyone could love me the way Bikram does. Yes, what we have together is precious beyond words.
Photograph by Rashbehari Das