Anupama talks about life with the actor Saiju Kurup
Photo by Mithun Vinod
By Shevlin Sebastian
One day when Anupama Nambiar was eight years old, she was standing at the Army Public School in Wellington, Coonoor. Suddenly, she saw something strange: it was a cross which was going around the tree. “As a child you tend to have an over-heated imagination,” says Anupama. “However, the image was very clear to me.”
Fifteen years later, Anupama returned to Coonoor for her honeymoon with the actor Saiju Kurup. This time, she took him to the same spot where she had seen the cross. “But neither the tree was there or the cross,” says Anupama, with a smile, at her sixth-floor apartment in Kochi.
Nevertheless, Anupama showed Saiju many places in Wellington, which was a reminder of her childhood. Anupama had spent the first eight years of her life in Wellington, because her father, Colonel KPB Nambiar, had been posted there.
Anupama met Saiju when they were both working in an insurance company in Kochi. For Saiju, it was an instant attraction. But for Anupama, it was a slower reaction. “Saiju did stand out because of his height [5' 11”] and piercing eyes,” she says. “He also had a confident way of carrying himself.”
Within a few months, however, both left the insurance company and joined a telecommunication service firm. It was at this time that Saiju got an offer to act in a Hariharan film, 'Mayookham', and accepted. But he remained in touch with Anupama.
One day, he called up and proposed marriage on the phone. “I never expected it,” she says. “I told him we had just met and did not know each other well. But Saiju had no doubts.”
Eventually, Anupama told her parents. To keep her mother happy, she asked that the horoscopes be read. To Anupama's relief, it matched. So, her parents gave her the green signal.
The marriage took place on February 12, 2005. Initially, there was a 'thali exchange' at Guruvayur temple, followed by a reception at the Vinayaka Hall in Kochi.
At the Kochi event, there was a confusion about the rings. “Both rings looked the same,” says Anupama. “Somebody said, 'No, this one is Saiju's.' Another person said, 'No it is Anupama's.' Everybody was talking at the same time. There was confusion all around. At that time, it was not funny. But when we watch it on the video now, we laugh a lot.”
Meanwhile, when asked about her husband's plus points, Anupama says, “Saiju is a positive person. He has had a lot of ups and downs in his film career. Anybody else in a similar situation would have given up or started thinking in a negative way. But he would always tell me, 'the good times will come'.”
The couple's 'good times' moment occurred when their daughter Mayookha was born. “Saiju was thrilled,” says Anupama. “He says how Mayookha, when she was born, fitted in the palm of his hand and now, at eight-and-a-half-years of age, she has become so tall.”
But as a father, he is laid-back. “The father-daughter relationship is more like a brother-sister link,” says Anupama. “It is a playful bond. Saiju never disciplines Mayookha, and tries to fulfill most of her wants. And he will not make her do things she does not want to do.”
On the other hand, Saiju is tough with Anupama. “In our day-to-day life, I want to do things one way, while he wants to do it in another way,” she says. “I may be impulsive, while he is not. For example, I drive fast and carelessly, while Saiju is a careful driver.”
Once, while reversing the car, Anupama hit an autorickshaw. “The driver had parked the vehicle without me knowing,” says Anupama. “I wanted to scold him, but Saiju told me there was no point in fighting. 'It will make it worse,' he said. 'Keep quiet. Note down the number in your mind. Don't do it in front of him.'”
Anupama smiles, and says, “Sometimes, I feel like shaking him up, so that he will lash out.”
When they step out in public, Saiju is easily recognised, thanks to his roles in films like 'Trivandrum Lodge', 'Red Wine', 'Left Right Left' and '1983'. “I have seen young and old, as well as children who come up to talk to him,” says Anupama. “He gets a lot of messages on Facebook from girls. I don't feel insecure about it. He is clear that these are fan relationships. He has strong family values and respects women a lot.”
Finally, when asked for tips about marriage, Anupama gives clear-eyed advice. “It is important that the interests, ideas and values of the boy as well as the girl should match,” she says. “What I mean is that they should have a similar vision for the future. Otherwise, it will not work. It is also important to be frank and forthright with each other.”
(The New Indian Express, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram)