Made for each other

Made for each other

up close And Personal

Made for each other

They truly prove ‘opposites attract’. She is talkative while he is calm, she loves being in the spotlight while he works behind the camera. But actress and anchor Mandira Bedi and film-maker Raj Kaushal, who have been married for more than a decade share many common likes.

“We met 14 years ago when I was assisting the late Mukul Anand for a show called Philips Top Ten on Zee, where she was being considered for a role. It was a very straight affair — I liked her and went for her and she had no choice,” he laughs. But Mandira feels that Raj wasn’t quite impressed with her when they first met. “He didn’t even give me a second look. In fact, he was looking at other models,” she laughs. After a few meetings, Raj asked Mandira out. “He told me that he wanted this to be a long-term relationship,” she says.

However, Mandira had to convince her parents, who are from a corporate background. “They were hesitant when I wanted to marry someone from the industry. But once they met him, they liked him a lot as its tough for someone to not like him,” she laughs. The couple tied the knot in February, 1999 and now plans to have a baby in the near future.

In their free time, Mandira and Raj love watching movies. Crash is Mandira’s favourite film while Guide and Forrest Gump are Raj’s favourites. “I own more DVDs than books,” smiles Raj. “We do double bills often where we watch a 6 o’clock show followed by a show at 9 and have popcorn all over us by the end,” exclaims Mandira.  

English television serials are a favourite of the two as well. “We have seen all the series possible — Weeds, 24, The OC, Lost, Heroes, Scrubs and Friends,” says Mandira. Raj admits that he reads more than Mandira. But she quips, “I was the one who got Raj into reading by making him read Harry Potter.” The two love to play Nintendo in their free time as well. “And she always beats me in virtual tennis,” adds Raj.

When it comes to food, Mandira is a vegetarian by choice while Raj is a hardcore non-vegetarian. “We have completely different palates,” says Raj. “She loves every vegetable that goes crunch, while I hate it,” he laughs. According to him, Mandira is a terrific cook. “I love the pepper mutton she makes, but I am not allowed to eat red meat because of dietary restrictions.” Mandira loves Indian food as it has the most vegetarian options.

Mandira travels more than Raj. “I host shows so I keep travelling and eating hotel food. So I enjoy having people over at home,” she says. The couple’s favourite holiday spot is Goa. “And we have a beach house in Madh Island and love spending time there,” informs Mandira.

South Africa is a favourite too. “Mandira hosted her first world cup and the IPL over there. She also did Fear Factor there,” says Raj. They have come to Bangalore many times. “We have friends in Bangalore,” says Mandira while Raj feels, “Bangalore is truly a garden city and the people are so warm and open.”

The two have also worked together. Mandira acted in Raj’s movie Shaadi Ka Laddoo while Raj produced her film Meerabai Not Out. But Mandira doesn’t think working together is a good idea. “You tend to bring work home and life gets affected,” she says.
One thing that Mandira dislikes about Raj is his casual attitude about certain things. “He is extremely responsible but takes small chores for granted sometimes,” she says. While Raj feels Mandira is too hard on herself. “She always under-rates herself despite of achieving so much in merely 14 years.”

Raj feels trust is the most important factor in any marriage. “We have seen many marriages fail around us because of couples listening to a third person’s opinion. Trust your own opinion and ask yourself, would you rather be with or without your spouse,” he advises.

Mandira feels that the two balance each other out. “I am hyper, he is calm. I am temperamental while he is patient. But we have similar likes.” Mandira feels “blessed being married to Raj”. “He is a very good human being and goes out of his way to help people without expecting anything in return,” she says. “With him, what you see is what you get. He is honest, ernest and truly my better-half,” she signs off.