Poles apart...yet so close
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Poles apart...yet so close

Akki and Twinkle start their day when some stars are still heading home after a night of partying. The couple in an early tete' a tete' with Sonal Kalra.

india Updated: May 25, 2009 19:12 IST
Sonal Kalra
Sonal Kalra
Hindustan Times

Akki-TwinkleCome at nine… or rather eight in the morning, says Archana, Akshay Kumar’s manager and I do a doubletake. Is this a joke? A Bollywood star wanting to do a shoot and interview at 8 am? As it turns out, Archana wasn’t kidding.

Bollywood heart-throb Akshay Kumar and his successful interior designer wife Twinkle start their day when some stars are still heading home after a night of partying.

So there we are, on a crisp Monday morning, at their classy Juhu home to do the first interview the couple has ever agreed to, in their ten years of marriage. As we wait in the unconventional lounge, with its unpolished wood, a large plasma screen shows a news channel featuring, by some quirk of fate, Akshay himself. Twinkle, gorgeous in a shocking pink satin dress walks in, and after cheerful introductions, looks at the screen and guffaws.

“Oh God, I hope you don’t think we’re one of those who play their own clippings over and over on TV. This is a co-incidence,” she laughs. “Akshay is getting ready, he takes more time than us females,” winks Twinkle. Akshay, looking dapper in a black shirt and white trousers walks in, his presence overpowering the room.

It was destiny

We sit outside on elegant garden chairs, taking in the breathtaking seaview from their garden. The couple discuss the health of their

Marriage Mantra
Akshay and Twinkle, married on January 14, 2001, are very different but much in love. Their marriage advice is “Retain your differences, and learn to enjoy them. If two people are absolutely similar, there is no charm left in life. Maintaining one’s own individuality while still respecting the partner’s need is the mantra for a lasting marriage.”

pet Cleo who has been frothing. Their six-year-old son Arav, adorable in pyjamas, wanders over and asks, “Why is mum dressed up so early?” Twinkle is patient with him. “Say hi to aunty first,” she says.

I start by asking if Akshay, with his humble non filmi background, ever fathomed that he would one day marry a superstar’s daughter. “My God, no!” he says, “I could never even imagine getting a chance to see Rajesh Khanna in real life, let alone someday marry his daughter.”

Twinkle shares a secret, “You know, when I was 17, an astrologer told my father that one day I’ll get married to an actor called Akshay Kumar. I was like,’who?’ One day, years later, dad called and said he wants me to do his friend’s film and the hero is a new guy called Akshay Kumar. It sounds strange but we were destined to be together.”

As they go on a trip down memory lane, the only thing I can think of is how to get hold of that astrologer, but my chain of thoughts is broken by Akshay speaking to Anshuman, my photographer in chaste marathi, asking him to ‘stop clicking as if shooting from a machine gun’.

Life’s normal

Do they get to do normal stuff like any other couple? “We go to movies once a week, jog on the beach, go for dinner out every now

Did you know?

* Akshay and Twinkle never take allopathic medicines as they believe in natural cure for ailments

* Twinkle bakes delicious chocolate cake once a week and Akshay eats the leftovers for days

* Akshay has a fascination for shoes and has more pairs than she does

* The couple goes for a quiet dinner every Saturday, often to a seafood dhabha called Gajali where the bill never comes to more than Rs 600

and then. In fact when I tell my colleagues that we go to movies like normal people, they say “pagal hai kya?”, says Akshay.

I ask them if they wear the cliched ‘burqa’, and they laugh. “No, not at all. That’s so funny. Once we saw this filmi couple, wearing dark glasses in a dimly lit restaurant. We both laughed like hell,” says Twinkle. At that point, Akki’s mother, who lives on the first floor, waves from the balcony and gets a cheerful response from the couple.

Career wise
My query on how involved Akki is with Twinkle’s successful career makes him crack up. “My contribution is — not to contribute. I admire her for the fact that when she decided to quit acting and get into a different profession, she established herself so beautifully”.

Twinkle warms up to the praise and adds, “He had a lot more faith in me than I ever had in myself.” Do they have similar tastes in decor? “Oh yes,” says Twinkle. “Once I went to a decor store and liked one chandelier out of around a hundred. I asked him to go there and guess my choice. Would you believe it, he picked the exact same piece. Now we have it in our bedroom.”

Tit for tat

What is one thing each likes about the other and one thing that they can’t stand. “Hmmm, well, I never thought she would be a good mother, but she is a great mom to Arav,” he says. “WHAT??” she gasps, “You never thought I could be a good mother?”

He goes on, “Well, I actually never thought she could be such a fantastic wife, but she’s excellent.” “Excuse me,” she looks ready to kill. “If you didn’t think I would be a good mother or a good wife, why did you marry me in the first place?” He explains. “Arrey listen baba, I have learnt a lot from you. The day you entered my life and my home, everything turned to gold for me.” She seems pleased but forgets that he’s yet to tell us about her most annoying habit. “She doesn’t think before speaking,” he drops the bombshell, grinning.

“She’s not diplomatic at all. At my movie’s premier, the producer asked, ‘bhabhiji picture kaisi lagi?’ She replied, ‘ekdum bakwaas’. The guy refused to take me in his next film.” Twinkle confesses. “That’s true. But I’m trying to turn diplomatic. Now if someone asks me what I think of a bad movie, I just say ‘Give me some time to think’.”

Now it’s her chance to get back at him. “I never thought he would be so smart.” He cringes. “Ok, jokes apart,” she says, “he is one of the smartest men I know. I like the way his mind functions. He’s very sorted, very decisive. What I don’t like is how he keeps things in his head and sulks.”

Different? Really?
They go on about being different, but in thoughts, mannerism, even in the way they pull each other’s leg, they seem very similar. “Oh we are poles apart,” says Akshay.

Twinkle echoes, “He’s decisive, I’m not. He’s diplomatic, I’m blunt. He likes outdoor sports, I like Scrabble. It’s another thing that he beats me in Scrabble and I beat him in badminton.” He laughs at this and she rolls her eyes, “Now he’ll say he lets me win. What a lie.” She goes on. “Even our blood groups are opposite — he’s B positive, I’m O negative.”

Later even as we chat about other stuff, Twinkle is still thinking about their differences. She says, almost as an afterthought, “But you know what. It’s fun to be different. My business partner shares the same date and time of birth as Akshay. They are so similar, I keep telling them, ‘If you two got married, you would die of boredom.”

Well boredom is one thing you’ll never see this couple suffer from. There is so much vibrancy in their relationship that you almost get dazzled. Much like the morning sun which is now up and bright, so I take leave while Akki gets ready to play cricket with the neighbourhood kids and Twinkle gets set to take Cleo to the vet. Their day has begun.

First Published: May 06, 2009 18:58 IST