Sukumaran Nair and Arvindakshan were colleagues in the same department at the Kozhikode Corporation. While Sukumaran worked in the health section, Arvindakshan was a training officer. One day when the friends were having a chat, they realised that their children had reached a marriageable age. Arvindakshan suggested his son, V K Prakash, as a possible bridegroom to Sukumaran’s daughter Sajitha.
And that was how Prakash came to meet Sajitha in June, 1986.
The Bangalore-based Prakash was in advertising then, while Sajitha was doing her first year B.Sc (physics) from Providence Women’s College in Kozhikode. “Prakash spoke about his career,” says Sajitha. “He asked me whether I would be able to cope with the pressure. I said I could. Then I told him about my studies.”
But it was a different era. Children just obeyed their parents. So Sajitha said yes. The wedding took place on August 22, 1986, at the Sumangali Kalyana Mandapam at Kozhikode.
In the initial years it took Sajitha some time to adjust to life with a creative person. “In my home, my dad would come back home after work always at the same time,” says Sajitha. “But with Prakash it was different. He would stay for a few days and go away for several weeks.”
Asked about her husband’s plus points, Sajitha says, “He is not demanding at all. I can do whatever I like in my spare time. I have an inner freedom.”
Other pluses: “Prakash is a family man,” says Sajitha. “Whenever there is a break in shooting, he will come home.” This happened recently, when Prakash was in Mumbai, shooting the Marathi remake of the Malayalam film, ‘Shutter’, and returned to Bangalore for just one day to see his wife.
Or sometimes, when the gap is too long, and Prakash is unable to come, Sajitha goes to the sets. And she is surprised by how different he is. “At home, Prakash is relaxed and lazes around,” says Sajitha. “But on the sets he is energised, focused and passionate. He is another person. Somebody who is concentrated on his work.”
But the director has his shortcomings. “Prakash is short-tempered and gets angry over the most trivial of things,” says Sajitha. “He does not like any disturbance when he is working. He needs space and silence.”
Not surprisingly, Prakash is over-sensitive. If he hears a negative comment about his work, he feels upset for days together. “I tell him that you cannot please everybody all the time,” says Sajitha. “We have to learn to live with criticism.”
Unlike most directors, Prakash came to Mollywood after ten years in advertising. But Sajitha was not apprehensive, because Prakash never closed his advertising company ‘Trendz’. So there was a steady income. Sajitha had been sure Prakash would go into films one day. He had studied at the School of Arts in Trissur. Most of the outings during the early days of their marriage were to the theatre. “He had been passionate about films for a long time,” she says.
Interestingly, Sajitha sees Prakash’s film in the theatre and never at home, nor does she look at the rushes. “When I watch Prakash’s film, I always think of the enormous amount of work that went into it, which the audience is unaware of,” she says. Her favourite films include ‘Punaradhivasam’, ‘Beautiful’ and ‘Natholi Oru Cheriya Meenalla’.
When Prakash is writing a story, he will bounce ideas off Sajitha. She listens to the storyline, like an ordinary viewer, and will tell him whether she likes it or not. But she does not give any creative suggestions.
Expectedly, when one of his films is a hit, Prakash is in a happy frame of mind. To celebrate, sometimes, he will take Sajitha and their daughter, Kavya, 21, for a short vacation. Some of the places they have visited have included the Jim Corbett Park at Uttarakhand, and cities like Jaipur and Singapore.
In their spare time, they watch a lot of movies. In fact, their last film was ‘Queen’, which starred Kangana Ranaut. “Prakash liked it a lot,” says Sajitha.
“He said that it was a new-generation style of film-making. The approach was fresh. Prakash felt that it was a good sign for Bollywood that the audience had accepted a woman in the lead role.”
Finally, when asked for tips for a successful marriage, Sajitha says, “You have to understand the merits and demerits of your spouse. And learn to accept the negative aspects. Nobody is perfect. Healthy criticism is good. But you have to be careful that it does not become nagging. When a spouse has a passion, you should give him or her the space to concentrate on that.”