The first time Shahid Kapoor and Mira Rajput met, they spoke for seven hours during that time, we relive what could be called a traditional Indian romance.
“The only thought going through my mind was, ‘Here we are, sitting in this room on these two big sofas with nobody else around.. Are we even going to last 15 minutes?’”
Four years and some months later, Shahid Kapoor is on yet another couch, this time sitting right next to his wife Mira, as I meet them in his Juhu office.
All signs of nerves and jitters from their first conversation have been left behind in 2014. There’s a natural flow of energy between them. She knows when to step back and he knows when to give her the spotlight. Mira, who knowingly stepped into the role of a star wife, never counted herself as a “fan girl.” “I’ve never been into movies, which I think was a good thing because following that first chat, when we actually got to know each other, it was for who we are…not for who others think we are,” she explains, revealing one other small niggling matter: “He was just off Kaminay and very scruffy!”
It’s not a classic meet-cute shared by many in the Indian film industry. Most have met their counterparts on sets and found comfort in each other’s multiple transatlantic flight paths and 3am shoot schedules. But Shahid and Mira’s rendezvous is one that singles among India’s 1.3 billion population can relate to, no matter their pincode, social status, religion or caste. It is said that 90 per cent of Indians marry a partner their parents have picked and only 10 per cent go down the idyllic path of choosing their own romantic partner.
So, as I sit across from these two strangers, who then became lovers, partners and now parents to their two children Misha (3) and Zain (1), we relive what could be called a traditional Indian romance.
A TALE OF TWO CITIES
Although 1,000km apart, there’s a cultural chasm between Mumbai and Delhi that can’t be bridged merely by shared citizenship. Delhi is sharp, elite and laced with affectations that come from housing the prime minister and president of the country.
Mumbai is relaxed and easygoing—plans are made and changed as easily as the sea breeze wafting through its bay. So, when Shahid and Mira met, age was a matter of consternation, of course (she was 21, he was 35), but so were their distinct backgrounds (she was fresh out of college, finding her footing in the world, he had just wrapped up his sixth hit, Kaminay, and was bachelor-pad-hunting in Mumbai) and their cities could well be continents unto themselves.
“I really didn’t think about it as so many challenges to overcome. The change from Delhi to Mumbai was actually a very pleasant one. I love South Bombay! In fact, we celebrated our anniversary with a meal at The Table in Colaba,” Mira answers as she settles further into the couch, feet up and folded in her cobalt-blue joggers.
“I’ve also picked up on the way of life and way of dressing here… The first time I wore a pair of ripped jeans was after I got married! His fluidity towards life is another quality I love. It’s helped me ease up a lot. He’s lived longer, so if anything, I can benefit from his experience, and he can benefit from my fresh perspective.” The next stop was meeting the friends. It’s all wonderful when you’re spending time together at Sufi concerts in the security of each other’s families (both sides follow the Radha Soami spiritual path, are strict vegetarians and follow a no-alcohol policy), but another when you become a joint entity to the world. Invitations came and off they went, now two as one. Like any new couple, Shahid kept one eye out for Mira as she stepped into his surroundings. “We’ve gone to parties where I’ve known many more people than she has,” he says, thinking back to the initial days of parading a new partnership, “But I’ve always found her having more intense conversations with people she’s met less than half an hour ago!”
To read the full interview click here to Vogue India