Madhuri Dixits piya has come home at last, thanks to Ramji. A surreptitious marriage with a man who proves more elusive and hard to find than the filmstar herself. A 33-year-old doctor who will finish his residency at the University of California in Los Angeles (ucla) in the year 2000.Meet vascular surgeon Shriram Madhav Nene. It certainly sounds filmi enough. To find a Maharashtrian Kokanastha Brahmin half-way across the world. She met him last June and he did not recognise her for the glamorous film actress that she is. He did not follow Bollywood back then.
Over the past few weeks news has slowly been filtering out, and every little bit is drawing attention: that the wedding was conducted in traditional Maharashtrian style on October 17 at her brother Ajit Dixits house in Aliso Viejo, southern California; that it was a small and well-guarded affair; that Nene was born in London; that his family moved to the US when he was seven and that he moved into medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis. Yet, in the whole affair, privacy appears to be overriding. Says Madhuris sister Bharati Adkar: "We are private people and it is a private matter." Adkar lives in the San Francisco Bay area (Silicon Valley) and works as a computer engineer. Protecting Shriram Nene from the public eye seems to have become part of the routine. "For him this is all new," she said in an interview. "Our family is used to dealing with it."
Apparently things seemed right even at the first meeting and the courtship took off quickly. "When the two met, they clicked very well," Adkar said in an interview. Speaking through Adkar to an Indian newspaper Nene said, "Im the same old surgeon. Im the same old guy."
Yet he appears to be a man who treasures his privacy more than ever before. A private wedding with one of the most glamorous film stars. An unlisted phone number.
While hearts are slowly breaking in California and the rest of the world at this surprise wedding, they dont even know what their competition looks like. Asked to describe him, the actress sister was guarded on the phone, and said her sister would release pictures of her husband when she was completely ready.
The marriage was followed by a short honeymoon in Hawaii, after which the actress returned to her work in Mumbai and the doctor to his, in Los Angeles. Since the wedding, he has been maintaining a super low profile.
The question that, however, still hangs fire is: will this wedding in the US mark the end of Madhuri Dixits career?
Coming soon after Wajood and Arzoo, both of which were flops, could it be more likely that Madhuri will give up celluloid for matrimony? Probably the release of films, Raj Kumar Santoshis Pukar and M.F. Husains Gajagamini, will provide some answers. Gajagamini, in which the 32-year-old Bollywood diva plays several roles, is to be at the London Film Festival this month and is also scheduled for screening at the Berlin Film Festival in February. Husain describes his movie as "celluloid on canvas" and Madhuri a "complete actress". Will Madhuri Dixit give all that up for her marriage? Nene said (through her sister to the Indian paper) that they had not yet come to a decision about where they would live. But it would be difficult for him to pack up and leave his medical practice in California.
Whether Madhuri would give up her film career was also an open question. "Weve had no chance to talk about it," he said. On an earlier occasion the star had commented that the marriage reports were getting to her. "Whenever I go for my yearly trip (to the US) the Press gets me married to somebody or the other. Its hilarious actually. These days I dont even get upset when I read these stories. So much so Ill probably even miss them when they stop," she said. Hilarious alright. But who is the joke on? Heartbroken fans who want to see Nene, the low-profile doctor? (who presented a paper to the Annals of Vascular Surgery Inc. in collaboration with three others, about the rupture of the perivisceral aortas, in 1997). Or is it on Bollywood which does not like to believe that real life princes live outside its precincts?