COLUMN: Spouse's Turn
Niju talks about life with the film director RS Vimal
Photos by Manu R. Mavelil
By Shevlin Sebastian
The first time Niju met Vimal was when he came to her house, in August, 2006, at Karakonam, for an ‘arranged marriage meeting’. Vimal was wearing a green shirt and blue jeans, and she liked him immediately.
That was because Niju had an image in her mind of a prospective husband. He should be fair and mature. In both aspects, Vimal fitted the bill. The feeling was mutual. Even before he reached his home, at Thiruvananthapuram, Vimal called and said yes. Within a week, the marriage was fixed.
During the fixing ceremony, Vimal gave Niju three photographs of himself. In one, he had inscribed the words, ‘From Me To You’. Niju was touched. Later, her sister, Shinu, pasted all the three photographs on the wall of their bedroom.
The pair got married on November 5, 2006 at the Gautham auditorium in Kunnathukal. And it seemed the Gods smiled at them. “There was heavy rain a day before, and rains after that,” says Niju. “But on our wedding day, there was no rain whatsoever.”
At that time Vimal was a producer in a television channel, while Niju worked as a teacher at a college in Manjalumoodu. Since she had only a few days of leave, they could not go for a honeymoon. Instead, they prayed at a few temples in Tamil Nadu.
However, within a month, Niju got pregnant. This turned out to be their only child, daughter Adhvaitha.
According to Niju, Vimal changed when he became a father. “Even though Adhvaitha is eight years old, he treats her as if she is five months old,” she says. “But then fathers always have a special closeness with their daughters.”
As for his other qualities, Niju says that Vimal is a caring person. “He looks after me very well,” she says. “In the early years, he would do everything for me, including shopping for vegetables.”
But the quality that Niju likes the most about Vimal is his kindness. “Vimal helps poor people a lot,” says Niju. “Once, while going for a wedding at Thiruvananthapuram, we met a man who belonged to Vimal's hometown. He did not look good, so Vimal gave him some money. He always buys food for beggars on the street.”
Perhaps the only negative is that Vimal gets angry very quickly. “He is a straight-forward person, but I always tell him that in order to survive in society, this may not be the right way,” says Niju. “But Vimal says that he cannot change.”
Today, the couple is basking in the huge success of Vimal’s debut film, ‘Ennu Ninte Moideen’. But it had not been easy. Six years ago, one day, when Niju was returning on a bus, after completing her M. Phil exams, Vimal called and said that he was quitting his job. “He said he had got a chance to do a film,” says Niju. “I told him to go ahead.”
Vimal got the idea to do a film when he did a television documentary on the forbidden love between a Muslim, Moideen, and a Hindu woman by the name of Kanchana Mala at Mukkom. Both families opposed the love. So, they could not marry. Unfortunately Moideen died, at age 44, on the Iruvanjipuzha River while trying to save passengers on a boat-wreck.
“Vimal would discuss the outline of the story with me,” says Niju. “Whenever he asked for my opinion, I would give it. Otherwise, I did not interfere at all.”
But Niju never imagined that it would take five long years to complete the film. “There were various reasons for the delay,” says Niju. Not surprisingly, it was a time of great tension for Vimal. There were nights when he could not go to sleep. “I was also worried,” she says. Somehow, Niju remained busy in her job as an assistant professor of mathematics at a college in Parippally.
Finally, early this year, Niju saw parts of the film at Vismaya Studio in Thiruvananthapuram. And some scenes affected her deeply. “I thought: is it because it was my husband’s film that I was reacting so intensely?” she says. “I did wonder whether the audience would have a similar reaction.”
She got the answer during the first show, at the Kairali theatre, in Thiruvananthapuram, on September 19. “I kept getting text messages saying that it is a good film and felt thrilled about that,” she says. Later, Niju distributed laddoos to all the students, teachers and non-teaching staff of her college. And, today, she has a simple desire. “My deepest wish is that all of Vimal’s future films should also do as well,” she says.
Finally, when asked to give tips for a successful marriage, Niju says, “There will be problems in every marriage, but you should adopt a positive attitude towards solving it. Spouses should offer support, and avoid interfering in each other's lives. When you learn to trust each other, then you will be able to give freedom to the other person.”
(The New Indian Express, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram)