Renuka Vyavahare (BOMBAY TIMES; February 9, 2017)

Life doesn't pan out the way you had imag ined, but that's the beauty of it, says Neil Nitin Mukesh, who had once dreamt of eloping like his grandfather and having a love marriage. As he ties the knot with Mumbai girl Rukmini Sahay in Udaipur today, the actor speaks to BT about opting for an arranged marriage in today's times and what made him finally end his wait for 'Mrs Right'. Excerpts...

You will tie the knot today. Are there any wedding jitters?
It hasn't sunk in yet, but I am not nervous at all. I always knew this'll happen someday, and was even looking forward to it.

Did it take you a while to open up to the concept of arranged marriage, especially since as an actor, you are always surrounded by attractive people?
I had always dreamt of having a love marriage like my grandfather (singer Mukesh), who had eloped. But life is unpredictable, which is also what makes it beautiful. It's a perception that actors end up marrying people from the industry. They are lovely no doubt, but at the end of the day, it's just work. If I can't find someone, what could be better than my parents doing it for me?

You have been planning to settle down for some time now...
There was a time when I wanted to be a bachelor all my life, and I remember telling my father (singer Nitin Mukesh) that. I thought it's good to be single than suffer heartbreaks. I had been single for too long, but after a point, you realise it feels good to have someone around, who is bothered about your existence. I remember, at the age of 13, my father once told me, 'Sitting in a room and having chips won't help you shape your career. You have to get out of the house and work towards it. No one is going to come looking for you. You have to let people know that you want to achieve something.' The same principle applies to marriage as well. Unless you tell people that you are interested in getting married, how will anyone know? Luck favours those who work for it. Marriages are made in heaven, it's just that some matches are orchestrated by parents.

What made you feel that Rukmini is the one?
I am close to my parents and I was looking for a girl, who'd understand that. When I spoke to Rukmini, I posed a tricky question to her. I asked, 'Now that we are starting our life together, shouldn't we have our own space?' She immediately replied that we should be with my parents. 'As they grow older, they need us more than we need them', she said. At that moment, I knew she was the one. Her beauty lies in the kind of person she is.

She is not from the industry. Is that refreshing?
When you grow up in a film family, it's a good change to be with someone who is unmoved by filmy talks. I think, as an outsider, she is slightly intimidated by the media attention, but is slowly settling in.

Your family must be thrilled to welcome her into the fold...
Yes. In fact, my father pampers her more than me. I have always been his favourite child (Neil has an elder sister and a younger brother) and even he says so. But now, she is the centre of his affection. I feel left out at times, but since she is mine, the love comes back to me at the end of the day.

You've known her for five months now. Do you still show only your best side to her?
I hate being pretentious. I probably am at my worst in front of her, so she is prepared. I am not diplomatic or hypocritical. I am impulsive and react to things easily, so initially she was a bit con fused. But she has realised that I am childlike and is now chilled out about it.

Why did you choose to have a destination wedding?
I would have loved to have a simple court marriage, but this big fat Indian wedding was my parents' dream. I wanted my shaadi to feel like a family holiday. The only thing I hate about weddings is getting ready. I would rather be in my boxers!