Thirteen is an unlucky number for many. But for Hrithik Roshan it has been really lucky. "January 13, that’s the day I first met Suzanne," he once explained. The couple had initially zeroed in on January 13, 2001, as a possible wedding date. They’d also lined up an alternative one — December 20, 2000 — just in case. Having missed the November 11 deadline, Hrithik didn’t want to take chances.
After Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai, he was a much-in-demand star. His date diary was booked solid and his days packed with shoots. There was only one way to squeeze in a wedding.
He was filming Yaadein till January 10, 2001, after which he had three days off before the next schedule. So D-day was set for January 13. And a request put to producer-director Subhash Ghai to let him have 10 days off.
But with just a month to go, Subhashji called to tell Hrithik that it would not be possible for him to give him the break he so desperately wanted. Now, there was just one hope left Karan Johar.
Hrithik was committed to Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham for three days, from December 20, 2000. He called up Karan on December 14, and begged for six days off. Karan obliged on being told that it was so Hrithik could marry the girl he had grown up admiring from a distance, too shy to do more than smile.
As soon as Karan gave him the thumbs up, the staff who'd been kept on stand-by in Bangalore were given the green light to speed-start the preparations. And select guests were called to dash to the Garden City. Only the media was kept strictly at bay.
In a closed-door affair on December 20, 2000, Hrithik married the girl he’d promised himself would be his wife when she had screeched to a halt beside him at a red light. Kaho Naa.. Pyar Hai, the inspiration came from real life!
Soon after the shaadi, the bridegroom announced to the world, “I will always be faithful to my wife till I die. And I hope to marry Suzanne in my next birth too.”
The wedding of the year however was fraught with rumours — that Hrithik had been pressurised at almost gun point to tie the knot with Suzanne, by her producer-director dad, Sanjay Khan. This was following rumours of an alleged affair with his Yaadein co-star, Kareena Kapoor. He dismissed the absurd stories with a careless shrug and a caustic, “Oh please, give me a break!” And rather than behave like an abducted groom, he walked around recommending marriage to one and all. “Try it, it’s great fun,” he urged.
A decade later, he still maintains that marriage is great fun despite more recent rumours of an alleged affair with his Kites co-star. Earlier this year, I’d had an interview cut short when I’d brought up the subject of Barbara Mori, with a “starving” Hrithik insisting that I was keeping him from his dinner with such “silly” talk. I’d rung off telling myself that in a world where relationships are here today and gone tomorrow, Hrithik and Suzanne had weathered many a storm together.
She’d once taken on the wrath of a well-known film critic who had dared to tear holes into Hrithik’s Akbar act in Ashutosh Gowariker’s mughal dream. When I’d quizzed him on Suzanne’s reaction to Jodhaa Akbar, Hrithik had smiled, “Suzanne tries really hard to be critically objective of my work but fails miserably because she loves me far too much. It’s hard for her not to like what I’m doing.”
A couple of weeks ago, I asked Hrithik what he would wear to the biggest party in town. Without a moment’s pause he replied, “I’ll have to ask my wife.” That’s 10 years of wedded bliss for you!