Shilpa Shetty changed after marrying Raj Kundra

Shilpa took the plunge all right. She never knew it would take her so deep down into the abyss

Shilpa Shetty changed after marrying Raj Kundra

Subhash K Jha

I have known Shilpa Shetty very closely before she became Mrs Kundra. We were constantly in touch and she came home for lunch when she was in my town. She would share thoughts on matters that went far beyond a star-journalist equation. She could speak freely about all her problems , specially those that had to do with her heart.

Before she met Raj Kundra she was in love with a filmmaker who recently found belated renown after making fluff stuff for years. Shilpa wanted to marry him. But he would not divorce his wife. She wanted to do the right thing by her heart. She always did. But somehow she ended up marrying another man with a broken marriage and a messy divorce behind him.

I don’t know Shilpa Shetty since she became a Kundra. She distanced herself from me. But I remember her views on marriage and Kundra. In 2009 she told me she was in love with Kundra. “There’s no reason on earth why Raj and I wouldn’t want to get married at the earliest. At the moment we’ve our hands full with many new exciting ventures. We need to get the space in our lives to plan and enjoy this wonderful event. Haath peele karne ke liye haath khali to hone chahiye. Raj and I will announce the date from rooftops and invite the entire press corps to be part of the baraati when it happens."

We joked about Kundra sharing his birthday with her former boyfriend Akshay Kumar. I teased her about looking for guys to date who were born on September 9. She would laugh heartily. “No no. It’s just a coincidence. The two have nothing in common.”

I see what she meant now. Akshay Kumar would never do anything as foolhardly as getting embroiled in a dubious racket. For what??!! A measly amount since porn is illegal and therefore not a big industry in India. What baffles me is, why would a man so successful with so much going for him including a beautiful wife and two lovely children, indulge in something so sleazy?

I am certain that Shilpa had no knowledge of this. She is way too decent for this. And certainly far too pragmatic to get involved with anything dicey. She always believed in doing the right thing. I remember her glowing pride after winning Britain's reality show Celebrity Big Brother.

During those days Shilpa was a celebrity on the streets of London and she loved it. "For me, it's such a feeling of pride as an Indian to be called out by name on the streets of London. My mom had predicted that one day I'd be world famous. Of course, all Bollywood actors are famous across the world. But this? I don't believe it. I feel proud that an Indian is being given so much love and respect."

I also remember Shilpa got a marriage proposal in the middle of a press meet at the House of Commons in London. "You know in the midst of all the press interviews suddenly this one guy piped in, 'Can I marry you?' I think he was an Asian, though a lot of Britons are also showing keen interest," she said.

The then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair made it a point to watch Shilpa in Shaadi Karke Phas Gaya Yaar in which she was paired with Salman Khan. "He said he saw my movie on Sky TV. That they showed an Indian movie on Sky TV has never happened in the history of Britain. He said he was surfing channels when he came across this movie of mine. And he watched it."

But she opted for Raj Kundra. She loved the fact that he loved cricket. “Raj is a crazy cricket fan. And why shouldn't he be? He's an Indian who lives in England. All Indian men are crazy about cricket. And everyone knows cricket was born in England. So Raj has a double reason to buy a part of the IPL. Now that Raj is shifting business interests in India we just need to find the right moment to take the plunge.”

Shilpa took the plunge all right. She never knew it would take her so deep down into the abyss.

Views expressed are personal

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