Koel’s back in school!

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By Koel Mallick opens up on life after marriage and her return to movies Mohua Das What kind of films should Koel do now? Tell t2@abp.in
  • Published 27.04.13
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Koel in her Highway look

A big fat Bengali-Punjabi wedding, various rituals, lots of guests, days of celebration, lost phone, new home… is life back to being under control now?

(Laughs out with a sigh) Yes, totally under control, thank god! After marriage it did take some time to sink in... being a ‘Mrs’! But since I knew Rane and his family from before, things got comfortable pretty soon. Soon after the wedding, we left for Amritsar where we visited the Golden Temple and Mathura Vrindavan. After that we went on a long holiday in Europe. It was lovely. Previously, I was travelling but always on work, shooting in chilly weather, never got around to seeing and absorbing the place. So we had a lovely time taking a cruise around Paris, Nice, Barcelona, Greece, Rome, spending two days at the Louvre Museum and even posing before Mona Lisa’s portrait!

Any post-marriage revelations about Rane?

Honestly, I was scared! I’d been hearing this from the time of my wedding that a man changes after marriage, he’s not the same person you used to know. And that anticipation of seeing a changed Rane was giving me nightmares! But thankfully, Rane being the simple, transparent person he’s always been, none of that came true for me. The only change, if at all, is he’s become more disciplined. He’s into innumerable films that he is producing but beautifully balancing his personal, family and professional life.

What about you?

I don’t know! It’s been a little over two months and I think I’ve matured. Really! I don’t know if it happened overnight or gradually, but it’s happened. I realise more than ever that I have two families, new roles, new responsibilities. I think I’m more in control of my life now. There was so much anticipation, for things unseen, how the future would unfold, stories from friends and family about how things change... but it’s not been that way for me. Shobai dayitto niye pamper korchhe amay (I have been pampered by everyone)!

Only thing is, my husband has asked me to spare him the horror of eating food cooked by me! He’s told me clearly, ‘Let’s face it, not everyone can do everything’ and it’s true, I’m a kitchen disaster! I was trying to be a good wife who cooks but bujhe gachhe… ‘eta parbe na!’ (Laughs out loud) They have this ritual of the bride cooking something sweet after entering her new house. So I was trying to cook gajar ka halwa and Rane amay pahara dewar jonnyo nijer Ma-key daar koriye rekhechhilo (Rane got his mother to keep a watch over me)! He’s always giving me an inferiority complex on this!

Have you had your first post-wedding fight?

Yes, more like aari-bhaab (friendly fights) and they don’t last more than a few minutes. He has this saintly face, so no matter how hard I’m trying to make a point, he gets away!

You weren’t sure whether you wanted to continue with films after marriage. Did it need a lot of thinking to make a comeback?

Frankly, from the time I started saying that I needed a break, Rane would always tell me that it’s not the right time to do so. For Rane it’s like ‘the time till which you physically and mentally feel that you want to do it, you should’. But for me, it was very important to find a balance.

Also, I had been working non-stop for 10 years. I felt I needed to stop and relax. The thing is I’ve been a paka buri since I was young. I think a lot and I just can’t be too casual with myself. I like seeing others who can be that way — casual and free — but I just can’t bring myself to be or feel that way. The thought of being so engrossed with work that I forget my family was disturbing. That’s the reason I thought of quitting. I felt I wouldn’t be able to do the balancing act and that would make me unhappy. Today, Rane makes me feel more confident. He tells me, ‘If I can do it, why can’t you?’ He even got my Dad (Ranjit Mallick) to nudge me. In fact wherever I’d go I’d have people telling me, ‘Please don’t quit films’. In a way, it felt good about being missed. Ami tao ektu kintu kintu korchhilam (But I was still a little hesitant).

Koel and Rane before marriage

But weren’t you missing all the action you’ve been used to?

Surprisingly, no! After my last film and then my marriage, I was just so happy being at home, not thinking about work and going with the flow. In fact, Rane was quite jealous to see me chilling at home every morning while he was leaving for work! I loved not having to deal with the pressure of people’s expectations, no pressure of having to constantly deliver. I spent my time watching movies, catching up with friends and extended family and doing all those things that I would generally never have the time for. So it’s funny how I got back to films again. It’s like being back in school! But I see films happening in a bigger way than before. People are coming to me with some lovely scripts.

Why did you choose Highway and Rangbaaz to begin with?

I’ve heard so many scripts in life that I get a hunch about what I feel would work with the audience. Talks about Highway had started before I got married. It so happened that things started falling into place when we were in Europe. It has Parambrata (Chattopadhyay) and me and once again we play characters that are completely opposite to each other but I wouldn’t compare it to a Hemlock Society. The equation is very different. Rangbaaz, on the other hand, seemed like a supremely entertaining film with a lot of everything. It has Dev and will be shot entirely in Bangkok.

Are you going to be more choosy about the kind of roles or things you do on screen now?

I don’t think that’s necessary because I’ve anyway been very choosy as an actress, so I’m not going out of my way to chalk out any do and don’t. I’m letting life unfold and take its own course.