One of the photos in the Parliament was taken by Nik: Nusrat Jahan
its Alipore The apartment is being installed at this time, but the newlyweds Nusrat Jahan & Nikhil Jain have already made it their home with a lot of love. They might be super-busy, as Nusrat is an actress- MP & Nikhil , a businessman, but the duo said it’s their we-time that keeps them going. On Sunday afternoon, Nikhil was all set to leave for the hotel where their reception will be held soon & Nusrat had plans to make an elaborate dinner of matar ki kachori, daal makhni, Kashmiri aloo dum & veg pulao for her husband, but before that, they sat with us for a long-pending chat — their first after returning from Bodrum Where they exchanged vows. Extracts:
Nusrat, you have been invited as a special guest for the opening of the Rathayatra festival of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon) that will coincide with your reception date. Have you accepted your invitation?
Nusrat : It’s a matter of great honour for me to be invited by them. Of course, I will be attending it. It will be my pleasure to be associated with this inclusive event. They have also invited Nikhil . So, both of us will be present there. After that, we will get ready for our reception. I used to visit Mayapur for Ulta Rathayatra every year. I have always respected all religions & will continue to do so.
Nikhil : It is a moment of pride for anyone invited as a special guest for the opening of the Rathayatra festival in Iskcon. We are both looking forward to attending the event.
When a cleric recently said he doesn’t recognise your marriage to a Hindu, you wrote on Twitter: “Paying heed or reacting to comments made by hardliners of any religion only breeds hatred & violence, & history bears testimony to that..” At a time when everything about you is under scrutiny, whether you wear a sari, sindoor, mangalsutra or take a selfie in Parliament, how do you keep your calm?
Nusrat : I have been calm all these years. These things don’t matter to me. This gives me an opportunity to show people what I am. If this causes a stir & brings about a change, I will be more than glad. I want every woman to live life the way they wish to & not abide by the norms imposed on them. A lot of people had problems with me posting a selfie where I was covered from top to bottom. I am here to focus on myself & my work. I am not bothered about who says what.
Nikhil , does this bother you?
Nikhil : I agree that it’s not normal for me. Someone asked me, ‘How are you going to deal with it, she is an actor & now she is an MP …?’ I think when you love someone, you accept everything about that person.
Nusrat : He has never told me that not for nothing.
Nikhil : I'm just saying no to the things that I feel can hurt you.
Nusrat : Like I'm taking too many sweets at night ...
You get scared when she drives ...
Nusrat : I do not know why he gets nervous! First, I admit that I drive very well.
Nikhil She is the distant cousin of Michael Schumacher ...
Nusrat : Now nobody will believe that I drive well. Every time we left, only I drove.
Nikhil : Now to see her driving, I get a little conscious. I start to say: 'left, right' '. She says 'Gari nahin thukegi', but it's not about the car. The car has insurance, but human life is precious.
Nusrat : I drove everyone around. Ask my friends, ask my sister. I'm not even safe with me for that. It's nice to be yourself sometimes. It's okay if I take my sister out a little late for an ice cream.
Nikhil : Yes, for sure. At a time when you talk about every movement of yours, you should take precautions.
Nusrat offers Nikhil a piece of the cake that Calcutta Times presented to the newly-weds at their new love nest
How did this love story take shape? Nusrat was the ambassador of your brand…
Nikhil : She has been the ambassador of our brand for the last three years.
Nusrat : No, only two years. In the middle, the ambassador of the brand was my namesake (Nusraat Faria).
Nikhil : The first time it was Nusrat . Then it was Faria. I saw her first three years back. I had not seen her films & didn’t know much about her. My marketing guys said, ‘She’s the best’. I told them, ‘Okay, we’ll have to get her’. I met her at the first shoot & said, ‘Hi’. I liked the way she carried herself. There was a strong feeling that I wanted to know her, but not stalk her. That time, I didn’t get any vibes from her.
Nusrat : Sandy (her stylist) told me once, why do not you go out and have a coffee with him? I thought: Why should I go out with my client? He said: If you are handling brands, you should be kind to your customers. Sandy had never said that about anyone else. Something was in his mind even before things happened.
So what happened?
Nikhil : I could not say: 'Let's have a coffee'. I wanted to have an opportunity, but it did not happen. Once, we decided to meet as friends, but she canceled it at the last moment.
Nusrat : My mom was wrong
Nikhil : I never asked her out again. Meanwhile, we got Nusraat Faria for the second year. When she came on board, my friends said, ‘Oh you were talking about Nusrat Jahan , since you didn’t get her (for the brand), you got her namesake.’ It was a business decision that became an inside joke.
Nusrat : I had a fight with my team. The same team shot for his company & with some other actor!
Nikhil : En el tercer año de aprobación, tengo la fuerte sensación de que debo volver a abordar. Mis chicos de marketing sugirieron muchos nombres, pero dije que no. Me gustaba, pero profesionalmente, ella estaba muy bien. its fama era inigualable. Esta vez nos pusimos a hablar.
Nusrat : I asked him, ‘Where’s your girlfriend?’ & he said, ‘It’s complicated’. I was like, ‘Okay, not bad’. This was pre-Puja last year. I was shooting for the brand when a woman friend of his came & said the pallu of the sari I was wearing was wrong. I was like, ‘Pack up, I won’t shoot’. They had given me 10 saris. In my life, I had not shot in more than five for one shoot. For an hour & a half, I was inside the room, not getting ready & the makeup person stood outside, brushes in his hand, trying to convince me. He said, ‘You ought to be professional’. I was like, ‘He just said his relationship with his girlfriend was complicated & how come she just walked in?’
Nikhil : It was also a surprise for me. Actually, she was a good friend.
Nusrat : Good friend in terms of the industry. But I completed the filming that day.
Nikhil : We are still crossing the roads in these three years. So, this time, when I invited her out, she said: Sure. I got the feeling that she was interested.
Where did you go for coffee for the first time?
Nusrat : Honestly, it was not coffee, I thought we would talk about work. We met in a lounge bar. He asked me to have a glass of red wine, but he was on a diet. But we do not talk about work. We talk like good friends. I called him friend.
Nikhil : I didn’t like that. I wanted to be a special someone or a no one. When she called me buddy, I thought this was not going the right way. Then, we started calling & texting each other & there was a spark. After that, there was a Puja launch of our Gariahat store. The coordination is done by my team, but this time, I did it. I chose the sari & sent it to her. When she came, she sent someone to say, ‘Call Nikhil , I am here’. I was already there, taking her out of the car. It was not a brand ambassador & an owner walking in. It was two good friends coming together. After that, we went on many more drives. Meanwhile, there was a gym get-together. We go to two different branches of the same gym.
Nusrat : It was like I was leaving, you're going, can you pick me up? Apart from my friends, I never asked anyone to pick me up. I was surprised by my own behavior.
Nikhil : I was already at the venue. But I told her I was leaving office & went to pick her up.
Nusrat : At the gathering, everyone’s eyes were on us. When he went to the washroom, I was with his friends & kept looking around. Everybody thought there was something between us.
Nikhil : We were also getting to know what others felt. After meeting her three or four times, I felt she was special. Personally, I didn’t want to settle down. I am 31 & come from a conservative Marwari family. Since I was 28 or 29, my parents were like, ‘Find someone for yourself, or we’ll find you one’. I was clear in my head that I’d settle down with someone I wanted to grow old with. When I met her, I thought maybe she’s the one. I wanted her approval.
What attracted you to her?
Nikhil : its aura - toda su personalidad. Me puso nerviosa que ella fuera una actriz. Pero pensé que si ella ve lo que siento por ella o si siente lo mismo, no importaría si ella es una actriz o una política. Son solo dos personas. Quería ponerme a prueba si podía mantenerla feliz. Me pregunté si el barco en el que estamos se hunde, ¿salto con usted? La respuesta fue sí. Cuando pones a la otra persona delante de ti, nada más, el pasado o el futuro, importa.
Nusrat , when did you realise it was love?
Nusrat : From giving something to someone on the road to taking care of someone in the family, he has done it all. In stressful situations, I’d give him a call & things would get sorted in my mind. My problem is, I cannot lie. There were certain things that I needed to talk about, but he made it all so easy. I kept thinking why I was opening up with him. We spoke to each other about our deep, dark secrets. For me, being with a good human being is all that matters. I think I have found the best.
Was it the first person you called after your application for the Lok Sabha polls was announced?
Nusrat : His TV was on all day & we were all very anxious. When the nomination was announced, I was bombarded with calls & messages. He was not the first one I called, but when we spoke, he said, ‘I was guessing it already’. The nomination list is not given out before for security reasons. And before the nominations were announced, people made calls to me saying I was contesting from other constituencies…
Nikhil : She had a show in Basirhat two days prior to the announcement. She said she was feeling a bit low & I went with her.
Nusrat : He has seen me in macha shows & I had asked him to sponsor the saris in Zulfiqar. I had invited him for the premieres of Love Express & Zulfiqar.
Nikhil : I used to like her, so when she invited me, I was like, ‘Why turn it down?’ I watched these two films & later, many others...
Nusrat : He sat next to my sister, who then told me: I was wondering full time, kya ho raha hai!
He accompanied you in your campaign ...
Nusrat : He accompanied me four-five times. People in Basirhat had already accepted him as their jamai even before we got married. Once, people were like, ‘Ke eshechhe ke eshechhe? (who has come, who has come?)’ & I thought of passing him off as a hero from the south.
Nikhil : Her friends told me that if Naina (he calls her that) would get away with it, I would become her fashion designer, stylist, driver, all in one.
Nusrat : That’s because you have a say in the way I dress up. Once he marked a picture of mine in an article & sent it to my stylist, saying why I looked like that! He loves to dress me up.
Nikhil : When I was campaigning for 14 hours in that heat, sometimes I worried ...
Nusrat : If it were my health, I would not listen to anyone.
Who is more possessive between you two?
Nikhil : She will not share me even with my friends.
Nusrat : I never say no to anything.
Nikhil : But I know when she needs my time.
Nusrat : It's super possessive. Not only about me, but also about my family, my team ... He said that I need his time, that he only needs me.
Nikhil : I always need to know what is happening, because I want her to get the best comfort.
Nikhil , when did you propose marriage to her?
Nikhil : It was on my birthday last year. On November 17 he gave me a birthday party. Three or four days before that, I decided that I would propose. I bought the ring ...
Nusrat : I had seen the package, but he told me it was for someone else.
Nikhil : We went out for dinner. I was driving & she sat beside me. All our friends were following our car. There were butterflies in my stomach. I stopped the car in front of Victoria Memorial at midnight. I said, two of my friends are fighting in another car. I walked her out, went down on my knees & proposed to her. I asked her, ‘Will you make my jawlines ache forever?’ She said yes. It was an emotional moment for us.
Whose decision was it to marry in Turkey?
Nusrat : I thought of it. My first film (Shatru) was shot in Turkey & that changed my life. I thought why not take another important step in my life in Turkey itself!
Nikhil : It was hot in Kolkata & I had initially thought of going to Goa or a hill station. I didn’t want a big, fat wedding. But whenever she said she liked something, I would take notes in my head & do them later for her. She once spoke to me about Turkey…
Nusrat : Turkey in December was going to be very cold & my parents suggested that we got married before that. Also, being a public leader, I didn’t want to be seen chilling out with my boyfriend. I wanted to set up my home & get full-fledged into work mode.
Nikhil : We became very attached to each other & it was tough staying apart. If the elections were next year, we still would have got married.
Nusrat : I wanted to establish myself. Also, my parents are dedicated to him.
Nikhil , what was your reaction when Nusrat was trolled for posting a picture of hers at Parliament?
Nikhil : If people talk about it among so many parliamentarians, it's a good thing. I probably just took that picture. I felt that she was wearing a perfectly normal dress.
Nusrat : One of the photos was taken by Nik (she calls him that). If this incident had not happened, I would not have known how many women were there to support me. It is good that someone takes the initiative to achieve change, this is how we progress in society.
Nikhil : The same thing happened when she wore sari & sindoor…
Nusrat : I am a married woman & I was following the rituals of a married woman. I don’t know why people are saying that I converted. I am a Muslim woman, but that doesn’t mean I cannot pay respect to any other religion or their rituals. People are writing to me, ‘Tumi jahannam e jabe (you will go to hell)’. They are probably guards of hell & heaven & make a call & say, ‘yeh karna hai, woh nahin karna hai’. How can people tell you what you are supposed to do!
Nikhil : That’s probably 5% of social media. The rest 95% is very positive. On Twitter, many said this is what secular, inclusive India is — a Muslim woman keeps her name, adds a Hindu name to hers, wears sindoor, touches the feet of elders, which is the tradition in India, & says Vande Mataram.
You also had a white wedding apart from following the Hindu & Muslim traditions…
Nusrat : I really dreamt of it from my childhood. I wanted to wear a white gown & walk down the aisle. Whatever I dreamt of, he turned it into a reality. I might sound romantic, cliché, mushy, but that’s the reality. It came to me like a surprise. He flew in my favourite artiste, Rahul Jain, to render songs we’d be hearing in the car…
Nusrat , what happens to your acting career now?
Nusrat : Many asked me, movies or politics? My answer is, both. The movies made me what I am. I do not have my first remuneration as MP , so what I earn as an actor is feeding me now. I'm not giving up in the movies.
The list of celebrities, who are not known to be good parliamentarians, is quite long ...
Nusrat : I wouldn’t take the responsibility of actions taken by others. If attendance is a question, one has to wait it out to see mine. Also, if I am just attending Parliament & not doing anything for my people, that too would make no sense. I will have to balance both. I took the opportunity to speak about my people; I don’t want to be in the category of actors who are faces to capture votes. If I am there, I will work seriously. I will like to make a difference in people’ lives & the system.
Nikhil : On his first day in Parliament, he talked about children ...
Nusrat : I am glad the way my parents raised me. Today, I can speak for myself & others too. If we shape the future generation, they will grow up to make a difference, so I asked for Kendriya Vidyalaya in my constituency.