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Cheating hearts of filmdom

celebrity circus

Don’t make the mistake of marrying me. I’m not marriage material.” This was Kamal Haasan’s stand after his marriage to dancer Vani Ganpathy broke up and he failed as a husband to Hindi film actress Sarika. As long as Kamal was cheating on Vani and seeing Sarika on the sly, he was fine. He was a great partner to Sarika even when he fathered two daughters with her (the stunning-looking Shruti Haasan and her attractive sister Akshara). It was such an idyllic world that Sarika whispered to a journalist friend that they wouldn’t even have full-time domestic staff at home because they wanted no intrusion into their private space.

But the minute Sarika and Kamal went legal and became husband and wife, there was trouble in paradise and she returned to Mumbai.The failure of his second marriage held up the much-needed mirror to Kamal who declared his famous line that he was not marriage material. Therefore, the next time around, when he shacked up with actress Gautami (a divorcee and mother of one daughter), both of them studiously stayed away from the “I do” rituals. The live-in arrangement has lasted more than any of Kamal’s marriages.

“Don’t make the mistake of marrying me” is also the line used by writer-director Karan Razdan in Mumbai. He is the writer who has professionally worked with and is very close to Shekhar Kapur, Subhash Ghai, Satish Kaushik and a host of other big names. Karan is also the controversial filmmaker who made Girlfriend, the first girlie film with a touch of lesbianism, starring Isha Koppikar and Malaika Arora’s little sister Amrita Arora. He has made a host of other films including Umar, his latest, which dealt with senior citizens.

Please don’t google for more information on Karan Razdan because one of the sites highlights him as Soni Razdan’s brother and Mahesh Bhatt’s brother-in-law. Not true — it’s just another instance of the misinformation that one gets from the Internet.

Remember playwright Vijay Tendulkar’s fiery daughter, Priya Tendulkar, who was known for her activist’s role on Indian television in the 1980s as Rajani? Karan was briefly married to her (he had played Rajani’s husband in the serial too). When that ended, he married a pretty tarot card reader called Aarti. That was it. The moment he got married again, his straying began; he was in a long-standing relationship with a married airhostess. That broke up last year and the whisper is that he is now with late actor Vinod Mehra’s widow, Kiran. She is the mother of Sonya Mehra, the glamour girl who accosted Imran Khan in the loo in Karan Johar’s film Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu.

The lovely Kiran Mehra, an Indian from South Africa, has, unfortunately, her own history of troubled marriages and relationships. So, phew, Kiran and Karan together? It’s an interesting combination, as long as they don’t go seriously legal with their relationship. After all Karan is disastrous marriage material as wife Aarti will probably endorse.

The fleeting mention of Priya Tendulkar who succumbed to cancer at an early age makes one think of Manisha Koirala. A bit wayward in her personal life, and a tad erratic on the professional sphere as well, Manisha could have gone places as an actress with her photogenic face and plenty of natural talent. She got big breaks too, from filmmakers like Subhash Ghai (Saudagar), Mani Ratnam (Bombay, Dil Se), Sanjay Leela Bhansali (Khamoshi The Musical), Vinod Chopra (1942 A Love Story) and Ram Gopal Varma (Company). But the restless spirit didn’t show the required professionalism and was soon history.

After a failed arranged marriage to a guy years her junior in Nepal, she resurfaced valiantly in Ramu’s recent flop, Bhoot Returns. But just when colleagues were getting used to the idea that Manisha was back for good, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. That news put her on the front pages again, although her doctors in Mumbai respected her request for confidentiality and didn’t give out any official details. However, the fact that she was under the care of a well-known oncologist endorsed that she was indeed suffering from the dreaded “C”.

The film industry is now quietly abuzz that Manisha has been flown to Sloan Kettering, New York’s best known cancer hospital. That’s where Sunil Dutt had flown his wife Nargis when her cancer needed the finest care in the world.

Bharathi S. Pradhan is editor, The Film Street Journal

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