His first big break in the entertainment industry came when he was chosen to veejay Channel [V]’s stand-up comedy show House Arrest with Ranvir Shorey. The programme became an instant hit, and so did the duo.
For Vinay Pathak, getting into the cut-throat tough comedy business was a sudden decision. He was studying at Stony Brook University’s business school in the US when one day, he saw Peter Shaffer’s famous play Equus. The effect was instantaneous. Pathak quit business studies and enrolled in Stony Brook’s Department of Theatre Arts. He spent the next 10 years in New York where he built his skills as a comedian and an actor.
He has done cameos in Deepa Mehta films, Fire and Water and also been part of films like Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Jism and Mixed Doubles. Currently he is busy shooting for The Great Indian Comedy Showon Star One.
His wife Sonika is also an actress, but has been on a four -year break to look after their daughters, Vasudha, who is three-and-a-half and one-and- a-half-year-old Sharinee. She intends to start hunting for work soon. Sonika is a great fan of Vinay and an ardent admirer of his acting skills.
I always remember that it was a Sunday when Sonika dropped by with a friend. The friend was working with the director of an ad film I was doing and had come to take my measurements before the shoot. Sonika caught my attention the moment I opened the door. So, after the measurements had been taken, I invited both of them for a late breakfast.
Though Sonika didn’t eat anything, I really loved her presence. Soon after she left, I called a friend of mine and told him that it was high time I got married, but he thought I was joking as usual.
The very next day I got hold of her number and called her on the pretext of getting her a role in a short film. But even before any such fictitious film audition could take place, I managed to convince her to watch a movie with me. In fact I didn’t ask her but simply told her that we were watching a movie together. She sounded zapped and even before she could say anything, I said: “You do watch movies' Right' Fine! We’ll catch up for one!” She was speechless and had to come.
One date after the other followed and we were married about four months later. I called up my mom and dad and told them that I had finally found someone and they could fix a day for our wedding. But before that, we had to go through the horoscope test because I come from a very orthodox family. My dad was very happy with the horoscopes, which were compatible, and we got married.
I would say over the years despite being an actress, Sonika hasn’t changed much and is still the simple girl she always was. Ever since we’ve had kids, she has stopped working and is taking good care of the house, our kids and me.
Both Sonika and I are movie buffs, so whenever I’m home early, I make sure that we go and catch a movie. I make it a point to reach home and don’t go anywhere else after the shoot, so that I get to spend quality time with her. The rest of my time goes in writing and planning short films, which I’m very passionate about. I made a short film called 4play, which I wrote, produced and directed The film got good reviews at several film festivals. I intend to make two more short films very soon.
We met in March and got married in June. It was that quick. Vinay says it was love at first sight for him. My friend just had five minutes work, but he wouldn’t let us go and made us sit with him for an hour.
My first impression was that he was a very nice, decent guy. The next day he called and said that a friend was making a film and I could go for the auditions. Later I found out that this had just been an excuse to get in touch with me. I kept receiving calls from him and also tried avoiding him, but eventually gave up. I realised he was a genuine guy and a good human being. He’d tell me about different plays and playwrights. I really enjoyed his company.
Eventually we decided to get married, but my mother was a bit apprehensive because of our 10-year age difference. But once she met Vinay, her fears vanished and she gave me the go ahead.
Our honeymoon to Europe and America was a great surprise for me, all planned by Vinay. He hasn’t changed much even now. At times he calls up and tells me that he’ll reach home late from work, and the next moment the doorbell rings and he’s home.
As a person Vinay is very calm and cool, so that hardly leaves any scope for arguments, though there are times when we differ. For instance, I believe in spending money sensibly, but Vinay is a spendthrift. He just loves to spend on anything and everything, be it socks, perfumes, clothes.
But now, after having two kids, he has become more responsible and started listening to me when it comes to saving money. He is extremely fond of our daughters. He really spoils them and stops me from scolding them. As a wife I don’t want to change anything about him, but my only problem is that he sleeps like a Kumbhakaran. Be it evening or noon, he is ready to doze off anytime.
I’m a great fan of his and I think that he’s original and energetic onscreen. Though the TV industry is quite notorious for marriage break-ups and extra-marital affairs, touch wood, we share a great relationship based on trust and understanding.