Power couple: Priya Bapat and Umesh Kamat
Priya Bapat and Umesh Kamat are as different as chalk and cheese, but that does not keep them from being one of the most loved couples off as well as on screenUpdated: Jun 24, 2019 16:00 IST
He is calm and composed, she is impatient and impulsive. Well, this is probably what makes them a balanced and powerful couple. Together for 14 years, Priya Bapat and Umesh Kamat, first met when Priya was in standard 10. From being committed at the age of 19, to starring together in films and starting their first theatre production together, the couple likes to be on the same page. On Hindustan Times’ second anniversary in Pune, the power couple has a candid chat with us.
When was the first time you met, and how?
Priya: There are two answers to this question. The very first time I met him was at the premiere of Chandrakant Kulkarni’s Bhet (2002). We did not meet on the sets. Umesh says that I gave him a lot of attitude and did not acknowledge him, but he noticed me. The time we actually met was during the last day of the shoot of Abhalmaya. I was a huge fan of his work, and we exchanged numbers. It was only after two years, that we actually met through a common friend, again.
Umesh: The very first time we met was at the screening of Bhet. After that, like she said, at the shoot of Abhalmaya. However, we really got to talking only a few years later, after she pretended to interview me for a college project. We met at Worli Sea face (in Mumbai). Though she had a notebook, she wasn’t writing anything. That’s when I got a hint. Post that, we started chatting, we would also speak all night on phone.
What do you admire about each other, and what would you like to change in each other?
Priya: I admire the fact that he is nothing like me. He is extremely calm and composed, and poised always. He is understanding and supportive. He never enforces a decision or opinion on me. On the contrary, he pushes me to take the right decisions. I fell for these qualities of him, that make him stand out.
He is not at all expressive, so when he is low or not okay, there is no way to find out. Also, because of his poised nature he loses out on the small excitements of life. I want him to live the moments. But then again, this is what makes us a balanced pair (smiles).
Umesh: I admire many qualities of her. The first would be that she is a good planner. She is transparent and extremely honest. She is who she says she is. She is hardworking and so versatile. She can act, sing, dance, cook and write. She is a complete package. There is just one thing, that she needs to work on — her temper. She has definitely mellowed down over the years, but she needs to do it a little more.
You have shared screen space with each other, so how different are you in reel and real?
Priya: Actually, there is no difference at all. We are thorough professionals and know where to draw the line. We give each other space and respect. When it comes to work suggestions, we do give them, but that is something that we would do with anyone. Working with Umesh is extremely comforting, but at the same time extremely challenging. We are so aware of each other that it is difficult to surprise the other with work.
Umesh: She is the exact same person, unless the role is too demanding and expects her to be in a certain way.
You recently ventured into theatre production. Do you have creative differences? How do you sort it?
Priya: Not at all, putting together a theatre production was a joint decision. We sat down and individually, wrote what we actually want from this. Interestingly, all our answers matched. Similarly, in most of our decisions, we are always on the same page. Umesh: Frankly, this was our first production together and we had no difference of opinion.
How do you departmentalise work at home?
Priya: I hate managing my money. So, I don’t get into it at all. I take care of the functioning of our home. We have a deal, he doesn’t ask me to look into money matters, I don’t ask him to enter the kitchen or clean the cupboard.
Umesh: I think, 99.99% of the work she does. That is because she doesn’t allow me to do anything. Her speed of work is equal to Usain Bolt’s running speed. She wants everything done immediately. And, I like to take my time. There is one thing she lets me do, home finances, that is because her math is really bad (laughs).
In an argument, who is the one to let go first? And who gets to have the last word?
Priya: (Laughs) I used to give in earlier. Jokes apart, we both let go. The funny part, however, is that Umesh will never come to me if it is my fault, nor will he when it is his fault.
Umesh: Of course, she says sorry. But, now after seven years of marriage, things are being reversed. I apply the golden rule of marriage and start all arguments with ‘sorry’!
How do you plan vacations considering the two of you have a hectic schedule?
Priya: We go with the flow. We also see what phase we are in. For example, from July 2018 to February 2019, we only discussed work. Only when our play Dada Ek Good News Ahe was set, did we have other conversations. There are days when we are at home and are free, but then it depends what mood we are in. If we are in our work phase then it is only that.
What makes you a favourite with the audience?
Priya: I think it is our chemistry. It always works its magic on and off screen. I am uninhibited and comfortable around him, and vice versa, that shows and translates in reel and real.
Umesh: The first thing that comes to my mind is that we are very real. We do not fake anything, nor do we do anything for the sake of it. And, this reflects on and off screen. Also, we are very professional and hardworking. I think, its also our dedication and commitment that helps us stand out.