Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Love Duet

COLUMN: Spouse's Turn 

Jisha talks about life with the actor Prem Kumar

Photo by BP Deepu 

By Shevlin Sebastian

One day, in the late 1990s, Jisha was watching television at her home in Muscat. Suddenly, she came across an interview with the actor Prem Kumar. As she watched the show, a thought arose in her mind: 'What would it be like to marry this man?' It was an impromptu thought,” says Jisha. “It was not that I was attracted to him.” 

One week later, Jisha received a proposal. And she got a shock. It was from Prem Kumar's family. When Jisha saw Prem for the first time, at her uncle Francis' house in Thiruvananthapuram, he came across as an ordinary man. “He had no airs,” she says. “I liked him at once.” She remembers that Prem had worn a blue shirt and jeans. Both did not take long to say yes to the marriage.

The wedding took place on July 12, 2000, at the Church of South India at Kazhakuttam, in Thiruvananthapuram. Jisha's surprise happened the next day when their photo was splashed in all the newspapers. “That was when I realised that my husband was a famous person,” she says. “Overnight, without doing anything on my part, I appeared in the media. Many friends and strangers called me on the phone. This was one of my most memorable experiences.”

Asked about her husband's qualities, Jisha says, “Prem is a knowledgeable person. You can ask him a question on anything, be it politics, literature or religion, and he will have an answer. Prem reads a lot on all subjects, but his favourite is psychology.”

Prem also has his heart in the right place. “He helps many people who are going through financial difficulties,” says Jisha. “Many a time he does not even tell me about it.”

However, like most creative people, Prem has a short temper. “He gets angry about silly things,” says Jisha. “We will stop talking to each other for a while. Then I will make up with him. Prem also finds it difficult to forgive people who have harmed him.”

The couple had their only child, Jemima, eight years after their marriage, on October 17, 2008, at the Mother and Baby hospital at Thiruvananthapuram. A few moments after Jisha had given birth, a nurse went outside and told Prem that he had a baby boy. The actor was thrilled. He belonged to a family where he was one of three brothers. So he was keen to have a son. Meanwhile, inside the labour room, Jisha was excited that she had given birth to a baby girl.

After a while, the lady doctor came out with the baby and told Prem, “Congratulations, you are the father of a baby girl.”

A shocked Prem said, “Doctor, it is a boy!”

No,” said the doctor in a firm voice. “This is your baby. And it is a girl.”

Says Jisha, with a smile, “Poor Prem. The nurse had made a mistake.”

It was a blow for Prem. “But today he has no regrets and loves his daughter,” says Jisha. “Prem has changed his attitude.”

The actor has changed in other ways, too. “Earlier, he was shy and would never mingle with people,” says Jisha. “But now he has learnt to do that and I am happy about it.”

Meanwhile, Prem has got used to the ups and downs of an acting career in Mollywood. 

“Sometimes roles keep coming, and sometimes it does not,” says Jisha. “There have been periods when he did not have any work. Prem has been cool about it. Even I am not much bothered by this. I believe in Jesus Christ and I know that He will look after us.”

Even Jemima is not bothered. “She is happy to see Prem on the screen, but more than that, she tells her father she likes him in real life,” says Jisha. “Jemima is a fan of Mammooty and Mohanlal, but goes crazy over Shah Rukh Khan.”

Finally, when asked to give tips for a successful marriage, Jisha says, “Recently, when I went for a wedding reception, I told the bride, 'Pray, pray, and keep praying. Pray for good things to happen. Love each other. Trust each other. Forgive each other. Don't bring the ego into the marriage. Treat life casually. Don't take it as a burden. We have only one life. Please enjoy it. There is no point in keeping our resentments inside us.'” 

(The New Indian Express, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram)  

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