Shyni was very excited. The shoot of the Malayalam film, British Market by director Nizar was taking place in a house just three doors away from hers at Changanacherry. “There was a scene where the hero [Vijayaraghavan] and heroine [Ranjitha] are talking to each other,” says Shyni. Among the crew members milling about, there was Associate Director Johny Antony, but she did not notice him. But he did.
Sometime later, a broker came to Shyni’s father with a proposal from Johny’s family, who lived at Mamood, 10 kms away. “Initially we said no, as my father did not want me to marry somebody from the film industry,” says Shyni. But Johny’s mother called Shyni’s mother and persuaded her to agree.
The marriage took place, on April 15, 2002, at the Lourdes Matha church at Mamood. And within a year, Johny made his directorial mark with the blockbuster hit, CID Moosa, starring superstar Dileep.
“A lot of people were shocked to know that my husband had directed the film,” says Shyni. “My friends called me up from Dubai and said, ‘Did your husband actually make the film?’ Many of them did not know that I had married a director, because I had gone out of touch.”
CID Moosa has had an enduring impact. Sometimes, when the children - Luduveena, 10, and Anna, 7 - go to school, their classmates will tell them that the film is being shown on television that evening. “My children will smile and say, ‘See it, this is our father’s film,’” says Shyni. “All the youngsters love Moosa, but I think it appeals to adults also. Our family has seen it so many times on TV that we know the scenes by heart.”
In the initial years Shyni would never go to the sets. But when the children grew up, they insisted they wanted to see their father. So they went to the set of Masters at the Windsor Castle at Kottayam.
It was a scene set in a godown. The actors included Biju Menon and Prithviraj. “The children enjoyed watching the shooting,” says Shyni. “Johny was very different on the set. He looked very tense. But during the break he became relaxed and smiled often.”
For Shyni, there is no doubt that cinema is Johny’s passion. “I don’t have any problems with that,” she says. “It is our bread and butter. Sometimes, he is away for three months at a stretch and only returns home after the film is released on a Friday. But Johny will call the day before and ask me to pray for its success.”
Shyni is also aware that as a creative person, Johny has an unusual nature. “My husband is different from most people,” says Shyni. “But I don’t think much about it. He looks after us well and I am happy about that. I am not very involved with the creative side, but I like all his films.” These include Kochi Rajavu, Thuruppu Gulan, Inspector Garud, Cycle, Ee Pattanathil Bhootham and Thappana.
And she has been able to see the impact of Johny’s success first-hand. “Youngsters keep coming to the house asking for roles or to talk about the scripts they have written,” says Shyni. “My husband listens to them patiently, because Johny has never forgotten his own struggle of many years to establish himself in the industry.”
Meanwhile, during their decade-long marriage, Shyni has noticed a facet that not many people know of. Johny helps people who are in financial trouble, especially his friends. “If he does not have any money, Johny will take a loan,” says Shyni. “He has a knack for friendship and likes to mingle with everybody. It does not matter whether the person is young or old.”
But for Shyni what she likes the most about Johny is the freedom he has given her. “Johny never interferes with me,” she says.
“If I want to go shopping, I can. If I want to go out, he will never say no. Sadly, my friends do not have the same freedom. Most of the time, they have to get permission, or their husbands will insist on accompanying them.”
Johny’s only drawback is that he can lose his temper quickly. “He can get irritated over the smallest of matters,” says Shyni. “It is unpredictable. I don’t react when he gets angry. All I do is to leave the room. Then he cools down quickly.”
As for tips on marriage, Shyni says, “Whatever problems you face, you have to be patient and tolerant. You must give the necessary space to your husband. If he has a passion you should support that whole-heartedly. That will make him happy.”