COLUMN: Spouse's Turn
Aishwarya talks about life with director Arun Kumar Aravind
By Shevlin Sebastian
On February 17, 2004, friends of Aishwarya Nair suggested that they go for a film. So they went to see ‘4 The People’ at the Sreekumar theatre at Thiruvananthapuram. After the show, in the lobby, Aishwarya met a friend who introduced her to Arun Kumar Aravind. “My first impression was that he was a nice guy,” she says. After a few days they began talking on the phone. Later, they began going out on dates. “In 2004, there were not as many hangouts as it is there now,” says Aishwarya. “But I gradually got to like him.”
After a year, one day, Arun called up and proposed to Aishwarya. “I was half-expecting it and said yes,” she says.
But Aishwarya’s parents, Bhaskaran Nair, an engineer, and Indira, a home-maker, were not that enthusiastic. They wanted somebody with a regular job, rather than a member of the film industry. At that time, Arun was working as a film editor. So Arun went and met them. “After that, my parents were okay with the idea,” says Aishwarya.
Arun and Aishwarya got married at the Kazhakootam temple on August 25, 2005. But there was no time for a honeymoon, as Arun had to go to Chennai, where he was working on Priyadarshan’s film, ‘Garam Masala’. Nevertheless, when they were free, they would go for walks along Marina Beach, have lunches and dinners outside, and enjoy themselves. “It was a carefree time,” says Aishwarya.
However, a year later, she got pregnant. In 2008, Arun also returned to Thiruvananthapuram, where he began editing work on the Tamil film, ‘Kanchivaram’. “At that time, Arun told me he wanted to be a director,” says Aishwarya. “I knew he was ambitious, but I never dreamt that he would become one.” Soon, Arun began work on his first film, ‘Cocktail’. When the movie did well, Arun’s directing career began to gather speed.
When asked abut his qualities, Aishwarya says, “I have not seen a person who is so patient. He is a good listener, and supportive too.”
Aishwarya remembers how her relatives and friends pressured her to start working, so that the family would have a steady income. But Aishwarya was not keen to do a 9 to 5 job. “Arun told everybody that it was my decision and if I did not want to work, he was fine with it,” she says.
However, today, Aishwarya is looking after 'Karmayug Movies', which Arun had set up. She is executive producer for the film, 'Vedivazhipadu', directed by Shambu Purushothaman, which stars Murali Gopy and Indrajith. “I am managing all the production work, as well as the finances,” says Aishwarya. “It is only now I can understand the pressure under which Arun works. It is a 24-hour job. An immense amount of work goes into the making of a film.”
And thanks to her job, she discovered another facet of Arun: his non-interference in her work. “I know of friends, whose husbands always ask them what they are doing,” says Aishwarya. “If somebody calls, they will say, 'To whom are you talking?' My husband has never done that. Arun is a broad-minded person.”
But he can get angry. When Arun loses his patience, he will not listen any more. “He just cuts you off,” says Aishwarya.
Another drawback is that ever since 'Cocktail', (2010), Arun has not taken a break. The other films which have come out in succession include 'Ee Adutha Kaalathu' and 'Left Right Left'. And right now, he is busy directing 'One By Two'. “When Arun is at home, he is either doing pre-production work, working on a script, researching on the Internet or having discussions,” says Aishwarya.
The one who wants his company the most is their six-year-old daughter Arsha. “She is always saying, 'When will papa come home?'” says Aishwarya. “When I was not working, Arsha was very happy. But once I started to work, she began saying, 'I am missing both Mama and Papa'. This is something I am coping with.”
When Arsha is free, Aishwarya takes her along to the office. But when there are long discussions, Arsha gets bored. “My in-laws are there, but a child always wants to be with her parents,” says Aishwarya. When Arun has free time, they take Arsha out for dinner or outings, to places like the Napier Museum, where they went sometime ago.
However, things did not turn out the way the family wanted. “The moment we entered, people came up and said, 'Aren’t you Arun Kumar?'” says Aishwarya. “Then they had a long chat with him. In the end, Arun could not spend much time with us. But I know that fans are very important. Nowadays, Arsha and I go to the sets to spend time with Arun.”
Meanwhile, when asked for tips on marriage, Aishwarya says, “Today, most marriages are love-cum-arranged. During dating it is a tension-free life, so the couple thinks that marriage is like that. But once they get married the relationship changes. It is not roses all the time. And they are unable to tackle the situation. That is why there are problems.”
Another reason is the domination of one spouse over the other. “Both should be equal,” she says. “You should also be able to trust each other.”
(The New Indian Express, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram)