On September 19, Lara Dutta announced that tennis ace Mahesh Bhupathi and she had got engaged during the US Open in New York. Soon after, she flew off to Berlin for Don 2. In the two months since, her fiancé and she have spent only eight days together. “I hope distance makes the heart grow fonder,” Dutta laughs, adding that they have a rule not to stay apart for longer than three weeks at a stretch. “So recently, Mahesh flew to Berlin for less than 24 hours. Otherwise we wouldn’t have seen each other in five-and-a-half weeks,” she adds.
They have yet to lock on a wedding date. “A wedding involves much preparation and we want to be completely involved. Mahesh will be back in the second week of December and home for four weeks. We’ll figure it out then,” she says.The first of her wellness and lifestyle DVDs will be launching on November 17. Yoga: Recovery And Rejuvenation is about how yoga can enhance a gym routine, keep you in shape and more centered. She says, "I’ve been practicing yoga for 10 years and this DVD was born when I hurt my back and couldn’t work out. The 30-minute program I’ve devised with yoga expert Tonia Clark can be followed by a person of any age or fitness level. Some of the breathing techniques and pranayanams can be practiced while sitting at your work desk and help you cope when you’re anxious, low or scattered."
Two more DVDs will be out in the next four months. Power Play, based on strength training and cardio, is next. She has collaborated on it with her trainer of nine years, Zareen Watson. “Zareen’s been in the business for 30 years and has brought the newest innovations in fitness to India. Power Play offers the maximum benefits in the shortest time,” she promises.
The third DVD, Posture Perfect, again with Watson, is about how workouts can strengthen muscles and keep you erect. “Body confidence has a lot to do with the way you carry yourself,” she reasons. “More than weight loss, overall health can make a person more productive.” The DVDs are being brought out under her brand name Heal With Lara, with Bhupathi’s Big Daddy Productions as the co-producer. “I got Mahesh into a yoga class first and now he’s incorporated it into his workouts. I’m impressed since I’ve had little time for tennis,” Dutta laughs.
Bhupathi’s ex-wife, Shweta Jaishankar, who accused Dutta of breaking up their marriage, has admitted to finding a new love. The actor is happy for her: “Nobody likes to be blamed for something they weren’t responsible for. But it’s natural to lash out at someone when you are hurting. It’s nice to know that she’s moved on.”
Dutta herself will be moving to the Capital next. Her production house, Bheegi Basanti’s first movie, Chalo Dilli, flags off on November 20. A satire, it has Vinay Pathak and Dutta in the lead, with an ensemble supporting cast and a special appearance that she can’t reveal yet. She smiles, “It’s an exciting time for me.”