By Aashima Talwar Last Updated:
This evergreen couple is a match made in heaven, a perfect combination of wittiness and sensibility! They are both such fine actors and performers. A shy Kashmiri boy fell for a patakha Punjabi kudi. We are talking about one of Bollywood’s most-loved couple, Anupam Kher and Kirron Kher.
After passing out from National School Of Drama, Anupam shifted to Mumbai, to make his mark in Indian Cinema. He got his break in 1982, two years after he met Kirron. Not many know that he was a married man when Kirron entered in his life. Take a look at their filmy love story to know everything about this ‘second time lucky’ couple.
Anupam Kher’s ideal woman was an Indian woman with long hair and a big, beautiful smile. She had to know how to take care of herself and carry herself well. He wanted to have a beautiful Indian woman that would make him fall in love all over again, every time that he saw her. He got his girl of dreams and married her!
Both Kirron and Anupam were married, before they fell for each other. Anupam had an arranged marriage in 1979, but he was not happy in that relationship. Kirron was also married to a Mumbai-based businessman, Gautam Berry for five years (1980-85). They also had a son named Sikandar together.
They both met in Chandigarh as they were both a part of Chandigarh Theatre Group. Anupam, whose marriage was going through a rough phase, found a confidante in good friend Kirron in 1980. They use to travel a lot together for various plays and shows. They were very good friends, but little did they know that their friendship would turn into romance one day. Kirron in one of her interviews shared about their friendship. She said:
“We both were in theatre in Chandigarh, and we were the best of friends. There was nothing he did not know about me, and I knew everything about him, up to the extent of knowing which girl he was planning to patao. It was fun and we worked together well too. But there was no attraction of any kind beyond friendship.”
To get good acting offer, Kirron came to Mumbai in 1980 and met her first husband. After a few weeks of knowing him, she tied the knot with him in 1980. Talking about her first marriage to Gautam Berry and how love blossomed between her and Anupam, she said:
“Well, I came to Bombay, I married Gautam, and we discovered that the marriage was just not happening. Anupam too had been married, and that had gone wrong. He and I were still good friends, doing plays together. I remember, we were going to Calcutta for Nadira Babbar's play, he came looking different, his head was shaved, for some film he was doing I think. When he was leaving the room, he looked back at me, and something passed between us.”
Going through a rough patch in their personal lives and sharing a common passion for acting, the two fell in love, unknowingly. Anupam was the one who first expressed his feeling and went on to propose Kirron. Sharing the fond memories of the proposal, Kirron said:
“He came and knocked on my door, and said " I want to talk to you." He then said "I think I have fallen in love with you." And suddenly there was this immense, intense change, the chemistry exploded. I got a divorce and married him. He had nothing then.”
On a lighter note, she once said:
“We used to call Anupam the group’s opening batsman in college since he had several girlfriends and was very flirty. Sabko hasaa hasaa kar phasaa deta tha... mujhe bhi waise hi phasaya...we became friends first and before I knew it, I fell in love with my best friend.”
Coming from two different backgrounds (Anupam is a Kashmiri and Kirron is a Punjabi), were things any different between the two? Kirron said:
“Yes, they were very different. I was from what you call landed aristocracy. We were big zamindars, my father was in the army, there were uncles in the Administrative and Foreign services...you get the picture? My sister and I played badminton for India with Prakash Padukone and his peers and my sister was an Arjuna Award winner. I was an all-rounder through school and college.”
She further added:
“Anupam came from a very happy family, his father was a clerk in the Forest Department in Shimla, but he went home only during the holidays to Srinagar where the rest of his Kashmiri Pundit family lived. His parents were very fun loving, lovely people.”
After an intense proposal from Anupam’s side, the two fell heard-over-heels in love with each other. After giving divorce to their respective partners, the couple tied the knot in 1985. It was a private ceremony that took place in Gurgaon and all their common theatre friends were present there.
The initial years of their marriage were full of happy times as the entire family travelled together. Kirron and their son Sikandar use to accompany him for his shoots abroad. Kirron shared her travel experiences, saying:
“The first ten to fifteen years we just travelled together everywhere. Sikandar -- my son from Gautam -- was still a baby, so all theatre work stopped for me. Sikandar was from a broken home, and I wanted him to be spared any trauma, did not wish him to feel rudderless. He went with us everywhere. He went with us on Anupam's shoots, his shows with Amitabh Bachchan abroad. Those were great days for Anupam, and we sailed along with him basking in the glory.”
Like any other marriage, they also saw some ups and downs in their marriage. They faced financial crisis when Anupam turned producer and borrowed some hefty amount from industry people. To recur the borrowed amount, Kirron started working again in Bollywood and became a pillar of strength for her husband. Remembering the tough days, Kirron said:
“It was terrible. Anupam started his entertainment company, and he would produce for tv... But he expanded it too quickly. He told me his plans. I told him, 'Don't do it…' and so he stopped telling me. He hid from me the fact that he borrowed heavily to produce many shows simultaneously. Then, without warning eight of his shows were off the air in one month. TV bosses changed, the money did not come in for months. We were in a financial mess. And his own career was at a low, he was being typecast in wretched comedy roles. I had to start working in earnest for money.”
Talking about how positively Anupam handles everything, Kirron stated:
“I think he was very stressed. It was a dramatic change from the sunshine he had enjoyed. He was however very positive. I think he is somewhere between an optimist and an ostrich. He wanted to be made to feel good all the time. So I was the one to make him believe all was well. He continued to have his life, and I was left holding the baby!”
The couple saw a rough patch in life and after facing all the problems together, they came out shining bright. But, did these problems strain their relationship in any way? Kirron said:
“It did. But I learnt a lot. I call a spade a spade, I am very straight, don't mince words. He does not like criticism, so when I told him what he had done wrong, he could not take it. He likes to be liked and loved, he takes criticism as being not loving. But I am a wife, not a concubine, to keep saying you are the best...so there was a strain. I realised this trait about him much later in life.”
Explaining Anupam as a husband, she once said:
“He is all about himself. Very driven, does not give any time at home. He has never taken a day off, not even a Sunday, August 15 or January 26. Even the night of the flood, he just spent in his office.”
Talking about how romantic her hubby Anupam is, she once said:
"He used to be very romantic. He was the most romantic man I ever met in my life... and listening to songs, he would sing them to me rather than listening to them."
She also said:
“Dekho, romance toh over a time does fizzle out... but till date he’s as loyal to me as he was when we first fell in love, and that’s more than important.”
After Kirron started working again, she got a lot of offers from big banners, post Devdas. She was becoming very successful as an actor with each film and on the other hand, Anupam was not getting much work. She was even earning more than Anupam and it really irked him at one point. Sharing Anupam’s feelings and behaviour at that time, Kirron said:
“My first commercial films was Devdas. Then all the big banners that he had worked with signed me on, and he was not working with any of them. It hit him then, but I was so busy, I did not realise it. He missed the drug of being on top, of being popular. He would laugh and crack a joke about my work. He would ask: "How much did you get paid?" I was getting paid much more than he got, because times had changed, and also I am very particular about the contract. It made me realise he was reacting to my success.“
There were a few years in their 32 years of marriage when things were not good between them as a couple. Talking about those years, Kirron said:
“Yes, three or four years in the middle were very bad, but it made me stronger, taught me to live with myself, travel alone. It was a lot of pain, but luckily it solved itself.”
Well, Kirron is definetly a very strong woman who knew how to handle rough days in her marriage.
She dresses to impress everyone around and he is much more casual in his style. She came from a well-off family, and he was from a middle-class background. The two are complete opposites and we think this is what keeps the spark in their marriage. Kirron also thinks that theirs’ is a marriage of opposites. She said:
“But we are total opposites... I’m a control freak and the organised one whereas he’s the calm and forgetful one. I’m always fighting with him when he forgets to put the toothpaste cap back on or when he forgets to close the bedroom door.”
She further added:
“He is such a bechain buti, he cannot sit still, he will walk about, go from one thing to another, make a call...I am much calmer. Then the other differences: he needs to sleep immediately after dinner, while I like to read, unwind. He will say put off the light. Luckily now I have all my reading on my ipad, and don't need the light.”
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Despite all the odds, the couple shares a warm bond with each other. They are friends before husband and wife. They know how to keep their 32 years of marriage alive, even after so many ups and downs. Kirron even once said that in marriage, one learns to find solutions. We agree with Kirron! We wish this amazing couple a life full of happiness and love, may they grow old together!