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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Life after baby for Surya and Jo

Back to square one Since the couple hasn’t really revealed much about themselves to the media, this seems a good opportunity to ask them about their courtship days. How did Jyothika win over the quiet Suriya? The actor laughs, ‘‘True, she would mostly talk and I would say ummmm or yes from time to time.’’ But they admit that they fell in love slowly, being friends first. ‘‘He was my first co star in Poovellam Kettupaar. I found I could rely upon him as a friend. He was very straightforward, genuine and a man of few words,’’ recalls Jyothika. Suriya reveals that her sincerity, hardworking nature and attachment to her family in Mumbai were what first attracted him to her. ‘‘I liked that she always respected her colleagues. Till today I have never seen her shouting, even at the people who work for her.’’ Jo relives the signs of love, when she would repeatedly watch the trailors of Nanda on TV. ‘‘I realised that I wanted to keep seeing him and it was more than friendship,’’ she smiles. Suriya adds his bit, ‘‘We actually fell in love when we were not doing films together! I used to keep messaging her and wanted to keep in touch.’’ Getting married meant a lot to both of them. ‘‘Starting a family soon and staying in a joint family was a priority,’’ says Jyothika.Remembering Venice Suriya is a romantic and springs wonderful surprises and parties, according to his wife. ‘‘On our honeymoon in Venice, I saw a beautiful opal ring in a store and I admired it since it is also my birthstone. Before I knew it, Suriya had ordered the most gorgeous replica of it in Chennai and presented it to me. It was very touching.’Be it their on screen chemistry, secret romance or fairytale wedding, Suriya and Jyothika have been in the news for a long time. Yet they have chosen to be discreet about their personal life, leaving fans hungry for more. On September 11 this year, Tamil cinema’s favourite couple celebrated their second wedding anniversary, this time in the company of their one-year-old daughter, Diya. When we meet for our interview, I notice how the chemistry between the two is still sizzling hot. Marriage and motherhood seems to have lent Jyothika a brighter glow, perhaps explaining why Suriya can’t seem to take his eyes off her right through our meeting! In an exclusive chat with Indulge, the couple gets talking on family, love, life, marriage and more. Picture perfect ‘‘I still feel like the happiest man in the world and the most lucky person even two years after our wedding,’’ begins Suriya Sivakumar, with a happy grin. ‘‘My marriage to Jo has been all that I expected and much more. Jo has been a wonderful wife and makes an even greater mom to Diya.’’ That’s a lot, coming from the normally reticent Suriya that we know. ‘‘It’s not been an easy two years for someone like her who has always been working, to sit at home. But she has managed it really well,’’ he continues.Jyothika is all smiles and her happiness in the Sivakumar household, which comprises of Suriya’s parents and siblings, is evident. ‘‘I have heard people complaining about life post marriage. But for me, life couldn’t be better. I think that ours is the picture perfect marriage.’’ So what’s keeping the spark alive? ‘‘Apart from being with Suriya, it’s the family that I am married into that has made all the difference. I don’t think we would have been so happy if we had been away from them,’’ says Jyothika. Suriya agrees, ‘‘Jo has had to be without me for long periods when I am away outdoors. But she has fit in with the family and enjoys spending time with them when I am not around.’’ All this is a huge departure from Jyothika’s initial years in the city . ‘‘I lived alone in Chennai for ten years during my film career since my family was in Mumbai. So I really enjoy this bonding,’’ she says. ‘‘Suriya’s brother Karthi is a great friend and his sister Brinda is a treasure. Brinda and I both have small babies who don’t sleep till late, so we chat right up to midnight when she is visiting! It’s a happy feeling to come down to breakfast with the family and catch up at mealtimes. With so many artistes in the family (father-inlaw Sivakumar and brother-in-law Karthi), we have healthy filmi discussions.’’ Marriage, good therapy ‘‘I have become a better person and I like myself more after marriage,’’ shares Jyothika. ‘‘I have become more mature and responsible. Earlier I thought only about cinema but now I think in all directions and can see beyond that world. I can see things from the point of view of my child, my in-laws and my husband.’’ And the learning never stops. ‘‘From my mother-in-law, I have learnt how to keep a family together. She is extremely caring in the smallest of things. She makes sure that none of us leave the house without having breakfast. My in-laws have kept the household grounded to their roots.’’ Quelling rumours that the couple live separately, Jo affirms, ‘‘I stayed in our apartment for six months since I was medically advised not to climb stairs during my pregnancy . But now we are back with the family .’’ After the movies, what? Both Suriya and Jyothika are known for keeping a low profile but I wonder aloud if she ever misses being under the spotlight? ‘‘I love this phase of my life and I don’t miss the old days at all,’’ she replies emphatically. ‘‘Life is to be enjoyed in every stage. I never wanted to be just career-oriented and stuck in one phase of life.’’ Confirming that there are no plans of returning to the silver screen, she adds, ‘‘Not for the next two or three years and even after that, maybe not. I may have more kids and till they are in the eighth standard, I will need to be with them. And by then, I will be too old to act (laughs).’’ Her husband adds, ‘‘Offers keep coming in but until she finds something really mind-blowing, she won’t take the plunge.’’ A working relationship Given the admiring glances they throw each other from time to time, I can’t resist asking them about the secret to their successful marriage. ‘‘It largely depends on your man. It’s the assurance he gives you that he is with you in the smallest of things, that makes all the difference,’’ says Jyothika. ‘‘He is the ideal husband who has been with me even through my pregnancy , taking care of me for six months without shooting. Even in the delivery room, he was there holding my hand and talking to me continuously . I couldn’t ask for more.’’ Suriya has this to say , ‘‘Marriage is built on complete trust and love and surrendering yourself with no secrets. It’s about being the same person outside and inside the house. When you know each other completely you have the confidence to discuss everything without fears.’’ And on a lighter note, he adds, ‘‘I have just one policy . My ‘boss’ is always right.’’ Bringing up baby ‘‘She’s totally like Jo. A late sleeper and late riser,’’ quips Suriya. Jyothika shoots videos and photos of Diya to share with Suriya later. ‘‘I keep updating him on each facet of her growth, from her first step to everything else.’’ The doting dad was so excited with his princess that he even bought her a real Swift car and wanted to paint it pink, with her birthday as the registration number. ‘‘But I convinced him that he was getting too excited and it was better to keep things simple,’’ laughs Jo. Getting out in Chennai ‘‘We have a Movenpick addiction and we love Café Coffee Day. We usually sit in the car and order,’’ says Suriya. ‘‘I don’t go out that much in Chennai. But back in Mumbai I usually go jogging at Joggers Park or just enjoy chilling out somewhere,’’ says his pretty wife.

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