Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ramesh 'Sholay' Sippy's Wife & Ex Are Best Friends

Yours Mine & Ours

It was 

sometime ago that I remember reading about Sholay’s high-profile director’s second marriage to Kiran Juneja, a TV actress, after divorcing his first wife Geeta. This was Sippy's second marriage. Kiran, Ramesh and I became friends through my journey in Bombay and you can imagine my surprise when I received fervent invites to a movie preview to Rohan Sippy’s plays and later his wedding parties coming from Kiran. And she was genuinely involved and concerned at the attendance. 
Wasn’t the ‘step-mother’ supposed to be in the outhouse of awkwardness or were these fairy tale clichés? Is it possible to have a yours-mine and ours situation in the real world? Can the first and second wife ever be friends at all? Yes, Yes, yes, I discover in a revealing enlivening chat with Kiran and Ramesh Sippy.


“It wasn’t at all premeditated; I was equally nervous and unsure of treading the path. Ramesh and Geeta had already parted when I came into the scene. To start with the awkwardness and apprehension existed. However with time and tide we began to be like one big family. Today Geeta and I are great friends and hang out, laugh together and even share confidences. The children are uncomplicated and friendly and we just take it as it comes without too much planning” avers Kiran who generously gives all the credit to her ‘Rameshjee’, who she believes was the cementing force. 

“Time is a big healer, and what started as a cordial relationship of greeting each other cursorily cemented with time into something more. I won’t give it a name nor label it, but I’ll say that over the twenty-one years of journeying together something warm was kindled. Geeta definitely became a friend.”

Kiran admits that she did pick up the phone, sans ego, and made that effort, called in on birthdays, took the initiative to ask Geeta to come over to breach the void. Geeta on her part graciously responded and called Kiran and spent some time with her. This started a back and forth, and then there were so many friends and relatives in common. “Soon we found that she and I were just two women, sitting across each other, discussing the husband as if he was a third party.
The Marriage Ceremony

 What happened was a strange bond that exists to this day. We joint the same lunch kitty and call every other day to chat, like any two friends. I respect her; we share our deepest secrets today and share confidences. I value her very much in my life. ”

Shah Rukh with Kiran Joneja & Ramesh Sippy
About the bond with Ramesh’s children the fact that he already had three lovely children didn’t put any pressure on Kiran to produce “the ghar ka chirag” she laughs. She was delighted to be adopted by the family with no pressure to carry on the line. “I can’t say it all happened without its awkward moments , or without many questions and fears from my side, but the gradual-ness of it all , taking it all slowly, handling it one day at a time with kid gloves in so sensitive a situation helped a lot”.

“The only tips I have, if at all I am qualified to give them in a second marriage situation” Kiran declares modestly, “is to let time take its course and not force a situation artificially. Time is a big healer. Secondly it never hurts to put aside the ego and make the moves. An important insight I’ll also share is to give an opinion when asked for it, never offer it unasked. In this day and age you cannot force an opinion on the younger generation. You have to respect them as individuals whatever their age. “

“My philosophy was simple, if I cannot love the people my husband loves then how on earth can I make him happy. They are a part of his life. Their mother is part of their life. It is impossible for them not to communicate. I have tried never to stifle him and allowed for easy communication with his family by butting out when I am not needed.”
So yes! A yours-mine and ours can be achieved with temperate handling and sensitivity! 

Written for Printed & Published in Asian Age & Deccan Chronicle \

Nisha JamVwal
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