Santha Kumari talks about life with the comedian Indrans
Photo by Kaviyoor Santosh
When her parents told her about the proposal, Santha Kumari was not sure whether she wanted to marry somebody from the film industry, but she kept quiet. In February, 1985, Indrans came to see Shanta. “I was so scared that I did not even look at him,” she says. “Later, my father told me that Indrans was earning enough and would be able to look after me.”
During that time, Indrans was getting bit roles here and there, and had worked as a costume designer in the industry for many years. But gradually he established himself as a comedian with his own unique style. Today, he has acted in over 200 films.
The marriage took place on February 23, 1985. “We had no honeymoon,” says Shanta. “There was no concept like that in those days.”
And, like in his films, Indrans, at home, is a man of good nature. “He is lively and cracks a lot of jokes,” says Shanta. “When he is around, I feel that there are a lot of people at home.”
But at the same time, he has serious moods. “Indrans likes to read a lot,” says Shanta. “Mostly, it is novels. Whenever he goes for a shoot, he will take a couple of books along so that he can read when he is alone in his room. Otherwise, he enjoys watching the news channels.”
His negative quality is that he has a short temper, but calms down quickly. “Indrans will lose his cool over the smallest of matters, and remain calm when something big takes place,” says Shanta. “So, his mood changes are unpredictable. In the initial years, I would get scared. But now I have got used to it, although Indrans has mellowed quite a bit.”
When Indrans is at home, his favourite occupation is that of a gardener. “He will water the plants, and plant new ones,” says Shanta. “He is in the garden in the morning, as well as the evening.” He grows orchids, sunflowers and leafy plants.
At night, sometimes, he will see the comedy shows on TV. “If there is a scene in which he is acting, he will keenly watch it and spot out errors in his acting,” says Shanta.
Since Indrans loves to see films, sometimes, husband and wife will go and see a noon show in one of the halls in Thiruvananthapuram. And Indrans is quickly recognised. “The people will come up and talk to him,” says Shanta. “They will ask about his latest film. Some will want to know the story and the names of the other actors. Sometimes, they will take photos on their mobile phone. If there are three friends, they will take a single shot one after the other, standing next to him. It makes me feel good to see him get a good response from the fans.”
Meanwhile, after the show, Shanta will give a response to her husband’s acting. “If I like his role, I will say that,” she says. “But if there are drawbacks I will point it out to him. My children also do that.”
The couple have two children, Mahitha, 27, and Mahendran, 26. While Mahitha is married and is the mother of a child, Mahendran is doing his MBA in Nooril Islam University in Thuckalay, Tamil Nadu.
“As a father, Indrans was more like a friend,” says Shanta. “He always used to play games with the children. I was the strict parent, because most of the time, they were with me, since my husband would be away on a shoot.”
Both Indrans and Shanta came from difficult financial backgrounds, so it was no surprise that Shanta's happiest moment occurred when she boarded an aeroplane for the first time a few years ago. “We spent ten days in Dubai, and had a good time,” she says.
Another blissful moment took place when their daughter got married in 2011. “A lot of people came, especially from the film industry, and we felt very happy about that,” says Shanta.
Asked whether she felt tense that in the uncertain world of the film industry, the next role might or might not come, Shanta says, “I believe that what we have to get, God will give.”
And this veteran of a 28-year marriage has clear tips to give to the younger generation. “Do not make small issues into big ones,” says Shanta. “You must discuss your problems. Being silent is a mistake. You must observe when the spouse is in a good mood and gently tell him about the tensions you are facing. Most of the time, you will be able to solves the issues amicably.”
(The New Indian Express, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram)