From a chubby young starlet with a famous surname to a size zero siren to a doting wife who married into royalty, actressKareena Kapoor has recounted the journey of her life and the evolution of her style in detail in her book The Style Diary of a Bollywood Diva.
Here, in a second excerpt (click here for Excerpt I) from the book, she discusses how she fell for Saif Ali Khan and how they keep the spark burning in their relationship:
Tashan bombed but it gave me my two biggest hits: Size 0 and Saif. I’d always thought Saif was one of the best looking men ever but we weren’t friends till we started working on this movie. We had a casual ‘hi, bye’ relationship, as he’d been Lolo’s co-star earlier. We do have a ten-year age gap!
We were shooting in Ladakh’s blistering summer and the posh prince of Pataudi was melting. He’d complain constantly while Akki and I tried to distract ourselves. But what instantly drew me to him was his sense of humour and love for adventure. If you ask him, he’ll say I made the first move! Which is so not true because he was flirting with me quite shamelessly but in a unique way. His first compliment to me was, ‘I like the colour of your car. It isn’t very girlie.’ (It was gunmetal.) When a guy remembers the colour of your car, ladies, he’s been keeping an eye on you!
A few days later, we went on a motorcycle ride through the countryside. I think I surprised him by asking if I could go along. The Kareena Kapoor he’d heard of wasn’t much of a biker chick. He kept checking me out in the rear-view to see if I were enjoying or freaking out. It was tough to keep a straight face when my head was full of images of us plummeting down a sharp slope! Ladakh is the perfect place to fall in love, and that ride was the moment we both realized we had more in common than we thought. Soon, we were spending all our time together, shopping for wooden boxes that Saif is obsessed with or hunting for Chinese food to satisfy my craving.
By the second schedule in Jaisalmer, everyone knew that something special was afoot. When the media found out, it made headlines. The minute people realized we were dating, their only question was: ‘When’s the wedding?’ Before we even got to know each other well, people were willing to marry us off. Then Saifeena was born. I genuinely want to meet the person who invented this term and ask him or her — WHY? It annoyed me. I never wanted to be one of those couples without separate identities. But, with time, I learnt how to ignore it.
We are both larger-than-life personalities and it took time to adjust to each other. We had to be incredibly patient and open to the other’s quirks. Saif had never dated a working actress before, especially one ten years younger to him. I’d never dated someone who had kids. Gaining their trust and becoming their friend was a novel experience for me too. Luckily, Sara, Ibrahim and I got along brilliantly. As Saif says, Sara and I connect on a chick level.
Our families supported our decision to be together, which was important because my mother is my world. She loved Saif and he made every effort to win her over. His parents were very welcoming and I instantly felt comfortable with them. I never tried too hard to impress them by being someone I’m not, and that’s probably why it worked. Saif says that he knew our relationship was real when we first visited his ancestral home in Pataudi and he saw me, a diehard city girl, feeling perfectly at ease in the old palace. That’s when he realized that I had understood and connected with the most important part of him.
Like any couple, we’ve made compromises. They’ve never felt like sacrifices because when you truly love someone, it just seems natural to give up certain things that annoy the other. As long as they’re reasonable demands, of course! I used to chew gum but Saif absolutely hates that. We were together in a car once and I was chewing too loudly. He said, ‘If you don’t stop that, I’m going to jump out of the car.’ I guffawed until I realized he was serious. So I don’t chew gum anymore, and he buys me diamonds whenever I drop a hint. Now that’s a happy compromise!
What makes us really work is that we have learnt and are learning so much from each other. Saif says I’ve shown him how to be enthusiastic about life, not worry about the small things that could go wrong. He’s made me more patient and trusting, and taught me how to let my guard down. I got upset once because he hadn’t called me for several hours that day. When I discovered that he had actually been planning a surprise birthday party for me, I felt really silly and swore never to overreact again.
6 Rules to that Perfect Relationship!
Rule l:Trust Is Key
Bollywood is full of handsome men and beautiful women. Ironically, it’s our job to pretend to be in love. Imagine watching your man declare his undying love for another woman. It’s bizarre! But that’s our job, and that’s why trust is critical in our industry.
Rule 2: You and Me Time
Holidays are the only times that Saif and I really get to escape the world and reconnect with each other. No pressure of unfinished scenes, box-office success, brand endorsements … We can do all the things that our star status doesn’t let us do back home. Simple things like walking hand-in-hand or shopping together are impossible if you’re famous. We’d be mobbed every second in Mumbai. But up in the Swiss Alps in Gstaad, we’re only as famous as we want to be!
Rule 3: Just You Time
This is probably going to sound rather selfish but you occasionally need some alone time. Just you and whatever or whoever makes you happy-but not your partner. If you aren’t happy with yourself, there is no way you can be a good partner.
Rule 4: Suprise Each Other
When Saif and I started dating, we would buy really expensive presents for each other all the time. We would never bat an eyelid at spending lakhs of rupees buying each other dazzling diamond necklaces and expensive designer suits. Now, of course, we may not go overboard like that but once in a while, if I see a gadget that he’s been meaning to buy or a watch that he really likes, I will pick it up just to surprise him.
Rule 5: Seduce Each Other
… And I am not talking about lace lingerie and scented candles only. Those are always nice but, at times, the best way to get into the mood is just listening to some really great music over a glass of wine. The jazz (or soul, or blues) and the wine might just lead to some dancing. And the dancing to, well…
Rule 6: Check Your Ego Out!
Imagine your salaries making headlines, especially when you both have the same jobs! Comparisons can create major insecurities and huge fights. But we both know we’re great at what we do and we’re honest. When Saif shows me his films, he expects my opinion — good or bad or ugly. I’ve learnt how to be honest yet tactful. With Love Aaj Kal, I instantly knew it would work. ‘lt will be a blockbuster!’1 shouted. But if I know something has gone wrong, I’ll say, ‘I’m sure it’ll be a hit,’ like with Agent Vinod. Saif knew what I meant, but I didn’t need to bash his efforts for the sake of honesty.