I regret cheating on my wife with Sushmita Sen: Vikram Bhatt
The heart is a lonely hunter. This could well apply to Vikram Bhatt’s rocky personal life that has seen him have two very public relationships with Sushmita Sen and Ameesha Patel in the past. The affair with Sushmita led to the break-up of his marriage with childhood sweetheart Aditi. When that relationship ended, Vikram had even contemplated suicide, wanting to jump from the balcony of his house on the sixth floor.
“That was not because of Sushmita. That was because of what I’d done to my life. I had gotten divorced, my film Ghulam was yet to be released, I was only Sushmita Sen’s boyfriend, I was depressed, I missed my daughter like crazy...I had just made a mess of my life,” says Vikram. “I don’t think any one relationship in my life has wrecked me. I think I am a collection of wrecks.”
Truth and lies
Cheating on his wife left Vikram with many regrets. “I regret hurting my wife and my child and abandoning them. I regret the pain I caused them. I always believe that when you’re not courageous, you become cunning. I did not have the courage to tell Aditi how I felt. And it was all happening together, it was a big mess,” he says. “I regret being weak at that time. Had I not been weak, things would have been different today. But when I look back in hindsight, it’s all about growing up, and everything teaches you something at least.”
Vikram has just released a novel, A Handful of Sunshine, that many people see as a thinly- veiled mirror of his life. It revolves around Veer and Mira, who are madly in love with each other, but are separated by a tragedy. When they meet years later, they decide to dump their respective lover/spouse and make a bid for happiness. “It’s not autobiographical; it’s sourced from real life, inspired by real life,” clarifies Vikram. “There’s nothing about Sushmita or Ameesha in this book. While they may have been my most-known relationships, I think they were the shallow ones.”
He admits, however, that there are shades of his wife in the book, but will still not reveal who the character Mira is based on. “If I ever tell anyone about her, she will kill me. She’s a very private person. She’s not an actress. She’s someone I’ve known in my younger days,” is all he’ll say.
Sex and ruin
Now in a new stage of his life in which he’s made amends with his wife, while his daughter works with him at his production house, Vikram says he never wants to get married again. “I don’t believe in the institution of marriage anymore. It’s redundant; it’s an outdated institution. It’s like lanterns in a house, you don’t use them anymore,” he says. “Marriage worked because of the imbalance between a man and woman, with one dependant on the other. But in our new social climate, with both people being independent, it suddenly stops working.”
Did he ever want to marry Sushmita or Ameesha? “No, I didn’t want to marry either of them,” he says. “And it’s not like there’s any bitterness. There’s too much water under the bridge now.”
In his professional life he’s always pushed the envelope of sex, whether in films like Love Games which was about swinging, or his recent web series, Maaya, that deals with BDSM and is perceived as a desi spin on 50 Shades of Grey. Has he personally tried BDSM?
“In my younger days I played a little bit, which everyone does,” says Vikram. “And I don’t think BDSM is a sexual thing at all. It’s about control and surrender. My understanding of BDSM is that it takes a very powerful person to surrender and it takes a very responsible person to take control. It’s a relationship of immense trust. You can’t possibly allow yourself to be tied up unless you know the person...that can be very scary.”
Having spoken to couples on online chat rooms as part of his research, Vikram says that in India, “there’s a lot of it out there. There are many couples who are into BDSM.”
Should we next expect a memoir from him? “No,” he says vehemently, and then chuckles. “I’ve already ruined my life enough.”
From HT Brunch, April 30, 2017
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