It takes two to tango
THEY seem the most unlikely couple. He is dark and likes to brood. She is full of life and bubbly. Now, the couple has been blessed with a baby girl. Kajol despite being Hindi cinema's most popular heroine right through the 1990s, has never let gloss conceal her natural exuberance. Making public appearances with undone eyebrows, oiled hair and glasses, this salwar-kameez clad girl is simply herself.
Ajay, right from the '90s, has been a star who refused to sell himself as a brand. Self-promoting interviews, stage-shows, endorsements or buttering up big banners haven't meant much to Devgan, who has opted for the substantial over the shallow.
Kajol and Ajay are equally unconventional in their personal equation. Refusing to convince the world about how great the going is between them, the duo care little about making public appearances for the flashbulbs. Confident about belonging to each other, they consider space a pre-requisite for growth.
The ballerina and the brooder
The daughter of film
personalities Tanuja and Shomu Mukherjee, Kajol dominated the silver
screen in the '90s. The saga of Shah Rukh Khan's trek to stardom would
be incomplete without the mention of Kajol. Though, she debuted with
Rahul Rawail's Bekhudi, and impressed with Sapnay and Udhar
Ki Zindagi, this half Bengali-half Maharashtrian girl was all
fireworks when she teamed up with SRK in films like Baazigar, Karan
Arjun, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Kabhi
Khushi Kabhie Gham.
As co-stars, the couple has appeared together in Gunda Raaj, Hulchul, Dil Kya Kare and Raju Chacha. But it was Ishq and Pyar To Hona Hi Tha that hinted at their cosy compatibility.
The romance between the brown-eyed firebrand and the deep-as-still-waters Ajay hit off, reportedly, on the outdoor shoot of Hulchul. Unconventional, even while they dated each other, Ajay recalls, "We never resorted to the usual 'I Love you,' routine. A proposal never happened. We grew with each other. Marriage was never discussed, but it was always imminent.'
The couple formalised their commitment on February 24, 1999. A simple ceremony was held on the groom's terrace. Draped in a kashti (Maharashtrian saree) with a pearl nathni (nose ring) highlighting her nose, Kajol looked the typical baiko (Maharashtrian wife). Ajay, the Punjabi munda, lived it up with a cream-coloured sherwani, his face peeping bashfully through the sehara. A two-month long honeymoon in Europe followed the conventional rites.
"Kajol is bubbly, while I am an introvert.`85 She is all that I would ever want to see in a woman.`85 In our differences we complete and complement each other," says the proud husband.
Slipping easily into the Devgan household, Kajol went public in her adoration for her mother-in-law, "I could not have scripted a better mom-in law. I am more like her daughter than her daughter-in law." The only hot spot, where Kajol admits to a wee bit of adjustment, has been the hot Punjabi food. "But being a foodie, I have now begun to lap it all up," she adds quickly. "Living with Ajay is like living with your best friend. There are no barriers between us. I love sharing my experiences and joys with him. Marriage has been an enriching experience," says Kajol about the companionship they share.
Ajay, very much a millennium husband, has no qualms about his wife continuing to romance the screen, "My sisters were free to do their own thing. So why should it be any different for Kajol." The spunky granddaughter of the late actress Shobhana Samarth agrees and retorts, "Do you think I'd keep quiet if he tried to dominate me?"
Considering her hubby more of a buddy, Kajol says, "I have grown by leaps and bounds during the last four years. Marriage has been therapeutic. It's the best thing to happen, if you find the right guy. I have found mine."
Letting love live
Despite nasty rumours writing off their relationship, the marriage has only grown stronger. When Ajay won the National award for Zakhm, his beaming wife said, "I sensed Ajay's potential ages ago. No wonder, I chose him over the rest."
Graduating from acting, Ajay has produced Dil Kya Kare, Hindustan Ki Kasam and the Rs 30-crore Raju Chacha, under the banner of Devgan Entertainment And Software Ltd. Not one to neglect his wife, Ajay says, "I make it a point to spend quality time with Kajol despite work schedules ... she understands the ethics of the workplace and never complains. Even today, I am as excited about seeing her every evening."
Kajol, a bemused wife, says, "Although Ajay has a horde of irritating habits, I would have him no other way. A perfect man would be so predictably boring." Enjoying some of his idiosyncrasies, she says, "He has a weird sense of humour, is a great cook and has a fetish for cleanliness."
When Kajol was expecting their first child, Ajay Devgan kept calling up his wife every hour, no matter wherever he was shooting, asking after her health and advising her on the diet. He even sent boxes of fruits to her daily.
Professionals on field
Kajol is one of those rare actresses whose star-appeal has remained unaffected by matrimony. In fact, her recent teaming up with Shah Rukh Khan as the girl from Chandini Chowk in Karan Johar's Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham has perched the actress high up on the victory stand.
The film has thrown open a second innings for the actress who had almost lost herself in domestic luxury. It is believed that Kajol has signed a pact with buddy Zoya Akhtar that she would feature in her debut film.
The low-profile, high-performing Ajay, on the other hand has Ram Gopal Varma's Bhoot, J. P. Dutta's LOC, Babloo Pachisia's Zameen, Deepak Bahry's Parwana and Harry Baweja's Qayamat in his date diary.
The horizon yonder...
Since Kajol was always of the view that there is life beyond the studios, she now has other plans buzzing — opening a book-browsing store and a kindergarten are a few of them. "I owe a life to myself and I plan to get it. I won't let myself stagnate," says she.
Kajol is as passionate about life as she is sentimental about love when she counts "the cute mangalsutra" gifted to her by Ajay on their second anniversary as her most precious gift. Getting mushy about motherhood, she says: "Can anyone resist a child reaching out to you with its tiny hands?"
The wife, who has no qualms about purchasing a vodka for her husband in much the same manner as she picks up goodies for herself, says: "Marriage is a two-way street, you have to give as much as you get."
For this couple, giving is all about gaining! — LMN