She is bold, lively, and a beautiful synonym to laughter. He is cool, extremely handsome and the perfect face of chivalry. This is one interview, that changed a lot of presumptions. Why reveal the climax in the numbering itself. We want you to unwrap as you go through our little convo. This couple and their bonding is exceptionally tough to define in words. Lets say, they are to each other, exactly what Raj is to Simran, Shriman is to Shrimati, and fragrance is to jasmine — Inseparable Identities.
Dehradun born Archana Puran Singh (APS), is an alumnus of Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University. Having finished her graduation, she moved to Mumbai to try her luck at modelling. She was shooting for an advertisement, when the producer and director of that advert, Jalal Agha, noticed her ease with the dialogues in three different languages. He offered to cast her in a television pilot, to which she agreed. Soon she was shooting for a television soap ‘Mr Ya Miss’, becoming a household name in a short span. The film industry too opened its doors to the hard working girl, with her first film, ‘Jalwa’ — a cult representation of its time. “My debut as a lead was opposite an actor who I admired the most in the industry — Naseeruddin Shah,” reminisces Archana.
Having suffered a terrible heartache from her previous marriage, she had averted from entering into matrimony again. For her, the male world was insensitive and chauvinist. Then entered, Parmeet Sethi (PS).
“When he walked into my friends apartment I saw him for the very first time. At that time, little did I know that we would end up sharing a lifetime together. But I still remember, he wore dark green silk trousers and a lemon coloured shirt. That’s my first memory of him,” recalls Archana. Parmeet is a superhero that changed her perception towards men (not instantly though).
“I didn’t notice her at first, but she was sitting on a sofa, reading a magazine. I had done an ad which I wanted to show my friends. So I pulled the magazine from her hand, which shocked her completely. She must have thought how badtameez he is. I, in my exuberance, didn’t even realise I was doing that. Later that afternoon, when we got to talk to each other, is when I recognised that she is Archana Puran Singh,” Parmeet adds.
Born in New Delhi, Parmeet was very much a Mumbai boy. A Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics passout, he was a businessman before he entered modelling. His tall Punjabi stature, enviable good looks, and natural acting, earned him adulation and popularity.
WA: When did you realise you are in love?
PS: “It is very difficult to answer 30 years later (laughs). I think the whole thing just evolved. Because it started off just as a fling and grew stronger and stronger and then we decided to live-in with each other.”
APS: “He went to Delhi for some work and would call me from there. We would speak to each other throughout the night, till dawn. We insisted that we are just friends and this is just a casual relationship. But, then why do we prefer spending all our time together? That’s the first inkling we had that we maybe more serious about each other than we had ever intended”.
Between the known and the unknown, lie speculations. Thus, it wasn’t a smooth sailing affair. At that time, there were social taboos associated with the acting profession, plus, she was once married. His parents were against this marriage, but Parmeet went against all odds. One fine evening, he proposed to her, “Did your search for a life-partner end?” She replied with a “yes”. “Overnight we hunted for a pandit and the next morning we were married on the terrace of my house in 7 Bungalows. It was a secret (typical Bollywood filmy wedding) ceremony with only three close friends who attended it.” revealed Archana. He was on the verge of making his television debut when he decided to marry her, on June 30, 1992.
The first shot that Parmeet ever gave was for Shekhar Kapoor’s serial, ‘Tehqiqat’ that went on air much later, making ‘Junoon’, his television debut. And soon after ‘Dastaan’ aired on a popular channel, that made his character — Karan Kapoor — a positive NRI settled in Dubai, extremely popular. His image as a protagonist was so strong that Aditya Chopra at first rejected him for being ‘too nice and positive’ for the role of Kuljeet in ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge’ (DDLJ). It took a lot of hard work and improvisation for Parmeet to convince Aditya that he can do a negative character of an alpha male. A couple of screen-tests opposite – Anupam Kher, Amrish Puri and Shah Rukh Khan made Chopra change his decision,
saying — “You are my Kuljeet”. The movie was a turning point in his career. Parmeet made his strong screen-presence felt through the portrayal of Kuljeet. Since then, its happily ever after.
WA: Who forgets the anniversary, and what’s the penalty for it?
APS: I mostly forget it because I forget all important dates. Main aisi hi hoon! Abhi tak toh penalty nahin lagayee hai Parmeet ne. To please usey yeh idea bhi mat do!
PS: Yeah! It’s her who forgets our anniversary or any occasion. I don’t. But I don’t impose a penalty on her. I think the guilt is good enough. If one feels guilty, it’s fine (smiles).
WA: What is the best quality of your partner that makes them unique?
APS: His ability to keep quiet when I’m angry. In fact, he’s so unique, he keeps quiet even when he is angry!
PS: She is extremely intelligent and super honest. There is nothing that she hides. She is very transparent in that sense.
WA: What has been the binding factor of your marriage that holds the two of you together?
APS: We are very similar to each other in some ways. In the right things we think alike. And then we are totally opposite to each other and that helps us to take the middle path which is a good thing for a stable life.
PS: We are best friends first. Pretty much, we do everything together as best friends would. We love each other’s company.
WA: Love is incomplete without sweet bitter fights. How frequently do you both get into one? Who eventually is the peacemaker?
PS: How frequently… that depends on what season it is (laughs). There’s nothing we’ve left out.
APS: We fight very often. Like best friends. And like the worst enemies. We argue. We discuss. We yell at each other. He walks out of the room in the middle of the fight. I tell him that I will never talk to him again. And then after five minutes, I go to him and say, “forget it na, life is too short” Or “let’s not waste the whole day on fighting. You know we are going to make up. So why not do it now only?”
WA: Any lesser known fact about your partner.
APS: He is actually the dominating partner in many ways! Hahahhahaaaa! See! Nobody believes when I say this. But in many ways he dominates the decisions in the house. I call him a “carpet dominator”. Even if he’s sitting on the carpet, he still dominates.
PS: *…….. She has always been a pure vegetarian. She laughs even louder at home, even madder.
WA: Any Bollywood song that you would like to dedicate to each other for your blissful bond of togetherness?
PS: “Tujhe Dekha to ye jaana sanam..” from ‘DDLJ’.
APS: “Ye kahan aa gaye hum, yun hi saath-saath chalte..” from ‘Silsila’.
Both their careers only blossomed after they got married. Both have played crisper yet impactful roles in their careers. PS has been a part of good projects in both films and television. After a few professional crests and troughs, he ventured into direction, writing the story and dialogues for his blockbuster directorial debut in mere six days. In 2010, released ‘Badmaash Company’. He later directed television serials – ‘Sumit Sambhal Lega’, and ‘Har Mard Ka Dard’. Archana is also one of those very good actors who knows her craft really well. She transforms from a glam-doll aka Prema Shalini of ‘Shriman Shrimati’ to a vicious stepmother in ‘Raja Hindustani’ with utmost ease. She is convincing as ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’s cute Miss Braganza, as she is as an expedient timeserver Kamlesh in ‘Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!’, and, her love for laughter is not an unexplored territory. She has acted in comedy serials, judged a comedy show, and can also make you laugh as a middle-aged-wannabe Zohra in ‘Bol Bachchan’.
WA: Since your love story is a fascinating one, any advice for the nervous readers who will soon tie the knot?
APS: 1) The truth is that, expectation can lead to disappointment. Disappointment leads to sorrow. So keepyour expectations from your partner as low as possible. He or she is not here to fulfill all your needs.
2) Never sleep without making up with each other. Resentment and hurt, builds up and the pain increases. So try and resolve your differences before bedtime. You both will sleep easy.
3) Don’t expect that you will change your partner. Accept him or her the way they are. Trying to change anyone is difficult unless they themselves wish to change.
4) Marriage is a 50/50 partnership. Each of you must uphold your end of the relationship. Don’t put all the burden on one partner. That partner will crack under the pressure and so will the marriage.
PS: Don’t make marriage as ‘something extremely special’ happening to you. Nothing changes. I am still best friends with my wife because we didn’t take our marriage too seriously, ki abhi shaadi ke baad to aisa karna padega. No! Keep it the same. The equation should not suddenly start changing. The way you were as girlfriend-boyfriend, is the same way you should be as husband and wife. Then it blossoms.
The ‘very sorted’ couple has two sons – Aaryamann and Ayushmaan, and would be happy if their kids wish to enter Bollywood someday, as this is one industry that has provided them name, fame, and good lifestyle.
Together, the couple has hosted a celebrity dance show, participated in a celebrity couple dance show, and acted in a television serial, ‘My Name Ijj Lakhan’. Their on-screen chemistry bespeaks their love. He calls her Micky, and she calls him Bittu. *She is not a Punjabi. She’s a Rajput.