I know its an old movie. I know extramarital affair is an old subject. I know they are fairly common. I know it’s been discussed to death. Yet the topic attracts intrigue and a lot of judgments.
So when the movie Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna released in 2006, I was a 20-year-old naive college-going girl. The movie struck a chord with me and I really felt it was an honest and realistic depiction of how life and marriages can be, even if the presentation was filmy and a little overdone.
At that time, I saw the movie with my parents who wrote it off as filmy and rubbish. Their main argument was that if a wife, that is Rani Mukerji has such an amazing and devoted husband, she would never, ever cheat on him or fall for anyone else. And similarly, what did Shah Rukh really have to complain about, he had a beautiful, successful, loving wife. My father said no, this is not how life is, good married women, don’t fall in love with random men. And followed it up with the universal parental statement, you are still a kid, what do you know.
Last weekend I happened to see the movie again. Almost fifteen years from that time, ten of which I have been married, I still felt that yes, it can happen to anyone. You can fall in love with someone outside your marriage, whether you follow up on it or nor is a completely different matter. Wives who have great, loving husbands may not necessarily be in love with their husbands. They might care for and be devoted to their husbands but in love with them, maybe not. And I am not even talking about the partners who feel that over time they have fallen out of love with their spouses.
And there are phases in every marriage which are not so great, or boring or tough or frustrating, it cannot always be smooth, fun, happy and satisfying. Boredom rots most marriages in my opinion. It is during these phases that a person is most vulnerable. This is true for both husbands and wives, it can happen very genuinely that you develop feelings for a new person. The excitement, the attention, the newness can be flattering for anyone, but whether they act on it depends on so many other things.
This brings me to a very important and insightful point shown in the movie. When Rani Mukerji and Shah Rukh confess to their affair, the first question that the wife (Preity Zinta ) asks the husband is that are you in love with her? And the first question that the husband ( Abhishek Bachchan ) asks his wife is that did you sleep with him?
This is the crucial and universal difference between men and women. Women attach more importance to emotional infidelity, while men define cheating primarily as physical infidelity. Wives might find it easier to forgive physical indiscretions but might not be able to forgive if the husband has genuine feelings for someone else. While for the husband, a wife physically cheating on him can be the end-all of the relationship.
Our views on these and many more things in life and relationships change as we grow older and maybe, wiser. Would love to hear others’ views on fidelity, infidelity and the likes.