When two cultures merge...

Up close and personal

He is a Kannadiga. She, a Bengali. And when they first met on the sets of a Telugu film, it was instant chemistry at work. Priyanka says she simply loved
Upendra’s calm composure and professionalism. He was attracted by her bold but
simple ways.

Upendra and Priyanka began seeing each other soon. But they had kept things hush-hush. For he was a rage in Sandalwood and she a notable face in South Indian language films. And, they managed to successfully ward off all kinds of rumours till they tied the knot after dating each other for three full years.

Six years after the marriage, Upendra and Priyanka still retain the chemistry they had on the first day of their meeting. Two lovely children — Ayush and Aishwarya, have only added passion to the duo's ties.

“The kids have really changed our life and added so much more meaning to it. When I am with the kids I
forget about work and I come down to their level. I am a child again,” Upendra told Metrolife. Priyanka has taken a break from her acting stint to be with the kids, “I’ve just switched from an actress mode to a full-time wife mode until the kids are
comfortable,” says Priyanka.
Upendra and Priyanka have a great deal in common. Films, books and above all their take on spirituality. They discuss movies and hit on lines or words that Updendra would want to develop into a full-fledged film. Apart from being a versatile actor, Upendra is best known for directorial skills. He makes sure he first takes Priyanka’s opinion on an idea before he ventures out. Upendra has set apart an editing room in his house so that he can work from home and spend more time with the family. “I am a total family person, I don’t go out much with friends or hang out after work. I’d love to come straight home,” says Updendra.

Upendra and Priyanka say they have grown together in their professional and personal life. Priyanka thinks Upendra has matured as an actor and has become more intense on screen. She says his rough image on screen soon gives way to a soft, sensitive person off screen. “He’s extremely shy but intelligent and I must add here that his calm amid turbulence is amazing,” says Priyanka. 

   Upendra’s creativity is at its best when he’s at home and Priyanka, he says, provides all the unconditional support. Upendra reasons, “Well, I am at peace because she (Priyanka) manages the whole scene when I am away at work. The kids keep her on her toes 24X7 and I am happy that the kids are growing up with a perfectionist, who is a good  human being in every sense of the word. I wouldn’t want to leave them in a creche or with nannys,” he says.

The kids love their father on screen. They react and have strong observations about his acting. “They cry when they see me in a fighting scene or are disturbed when they see blood on my hands or dripping down my forehead. So there were days when I used to come home with the make-up on to show them that it’s only made up and nothing more,” says Upendra. Priyanka pitches in, “They always want their father to win in any fight scene.”

The couple haven’t kept the kids away from their stardom and all the attention that comes with it. “I think the children need to get used to the star image and the people gathering around us when we step outside. With this they will slowly settle down and get used to it,” reasons Priyanka.

But they are sure that they won't expose their children to the film industry so early. Priyanka thinks they need time to grow and mature as ordinary kids before making their choice. The kids love music, movies and know all the latest songs on their finger tips. “We never knew Jinke Marina would become so popular but the moment the kids began singing and humming the song we knew it would become a hit. Kids catch tunes pretty fast and know what becomes a hit and what doesn’t,” says Upendra.

The two have acted

together in Srimathi after a gap of six years. “It’s great to do a film together and there’s nothing more fulfiling to be cast opposite Upendra. The comfort level is so much more,” says Priyanka and adds, “he gives me tips on acting and also corrects me whenever I go wrong.” 

The couple clubs travel plan with shooting schedules sometimes but frequent Mysore because the kids love the place. They largely stick to authentic South Indian food but love exploring different cuisines.

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