In 2018, as she watched Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone get married in extravagant ceremonies, southern actress Kajal Aggarwal wanted to tie the knot, too. But then, said the actress, she wasn’t ready.
Then, after a sudden wedding announcement, on October 30, Kajal decided to get hitched to her long-time friend and businessman Gautam Kitchlu in an intimate ceremony in Mumbai. When we caught up with the actress at a brand promotion, Kajal opened up not only about her marriage but also her plans for the future.
Excerpts from the interview:
Had you planned on keeping your wedding private affair, what’s with the sudden announcement?
I’ve brought attention to my personal life. Even on social media, I don’t really talk about anything other than my work, largely active on social media during my releases and then subdued. Additionally, Gautam doesn’t come from a film background and I didn’t want him or his family to feel uncomfortable at any time. I feel it’s my responsibility to ensure their comfort. I wanted it to be a private affair till I was sure, I wanted to break the news though people had found out about it.
You’d said that spending time with family is the biggest challenge. Now you have two families. How do you plan to balance your work and family life? Where will you be based out of now?
I’ll always come back home to my husband; I know he’ll be there for me. I’m sure there’ll be times when I’ve to decide between work and family though I hope it doesn’t happen. I’m very lucky I found a partner in Gautam, who’s known me for years and understands my work and he’s not only comfortable with it but also very supportive. And that sort of understanding with your husband is very important when you’re married and working. But no matter how much I love my work, family remain priority.
Couples usually decide a key to follow to lead a happy married life. Was there anything you both talked about and want to follow?
While sitting on our pheras, we had a pandit ji who explained the rituals to us beautifully, and Gautam and I were completely immersed during every vow we made. In the hope that we don’t forget them, we’ve decided we’ll revisit those vows periodically.
Having married in the times of COVID-19, you had to keep away almost all your dear friends. How did that feel?
Oh, I missed many and it was difficult without the presence of the friends and close friends I wanted with me then. Additionally, my maasi (maternal aunt) who lives in Amritsar and my sisters in New York and San Francisco couldn’t join us either, though my sister in London, came, quarantined herself and attended the ceremonies. Even so, it was difficult without the immediate family. Gautam also had family members who couldn’t attend the wedding. Many of my colleagues from Chennai and Hyderabad, whom I really wanted to have during the occasion, couldn’t make it. I’d have enjoyed hosting them. In that sense, I was slightly sad. But Gautam and I are considering receptions in Chennai and Hyderabad depending on the situation.
You’ve joined the league of actresses such as Hema Malini, Rekha, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Kareena Kapoor Khan who’ve collaborated with HUL for beauty brands. How did you decide you’ll endorse Nature Protect?
I’ve had a very long-standing relationship with HUL and resonate with the product and the brand value. The brand has touched upon a pressing matter — the safety protocols around the pandemic.
I don’t think we’re doing enough or understand the impact of this. Some of my family members have lost their lives to the disease. We can’t behave like everything is hunky-dory just because the country has opened up. We must maintain safety and hygiene. I realised this especially during my wedding. Though we maintained the entire protocol of testing every person who visited, there was still an outside exposure I knew I couldn’t control. I decided to collaborate because of the levels at which we need to ensure safety.
Many artists pan India have moved on to the OTT platform. Do you have any plans to enter the streaming platforms, too?
I have already ventured into OTT and have a show called Live Telecast launching soon. I feel it’s a part of the new normal we’re currently dealing with. But the OTT content has been great recently. It’d only be wise to be a part of that kind of content — by not only viewing it but also by associating with it.
Would your choices of films change since you are now married?
I don’t think marriage should affect anything. I’ve always been careful about all my projects and have always categorically maintained that both personal and professional aspects cannot overlap the other. Also, I’ve always had a list of dos and don’ts in life.