Veteran actor Kabir Bedi tied the knot with Parveen Dusanj, his long-time partner in January 2016. The celebrity marriage made news because of their age difference – Kabir is 70 years old (they got married on his birthday) and Parveen, 42.
Most people at 70 consider themselves retired from the love game. What do you think is different about you?
Love is a wonderful feeling. It makes you young again. I am no different from anyone else in that respect. Sharing your life journey, celebrations, joys and sorrows with someone else makes a huge difference to your life. There have been times when I was put up in these fabulous hotels in different parts of the world with amazing views and no one to share it with. What is the use if you cannot share your joys with someone else? Having a loving companion is wonderful. I wish it for everyone.
What made you fall in love for the first time? How has this changed over time?
I remember falling in love for the first time while growing up in Delhi.
Related reading: First love and feelings
Falling in love is always exhilarating, confusing, all-consuming. They say it’s a trick of the genes to insure the survival of the human race. But I think it has a spiritual dimension too when there’s harmony in a relationship. Problem is, you can fall in love with the wrong person too. As you get older, you learn to look before you leap. But even that’s not fool proof as I discovered.
Are ceremonious days like Valentine’s Day important in keeping the spark alive? Or do you find them gimmicky nowadays?
I believe love should always be celebrated, and your partner should feel appreciated and valued throughout the year, not just on one special day. I never grew up celebrating Valentine’s Day but I do understand it’s important to many people and I respect that.
What do you think of the institution of marriage? Why enter it when it didn’t work for you the last three times – why not try some other way of sustaining love?
I am an optimist and always will be.
I have respected every relationship I have been in and felt marriage was the right thing to do. No one goes into marriage thinking it will end; I never did. I felt it was important for the woman I love to know that she is respected and also protected by the institution of marriage, especially in a very traditional country like India.
My wife, Parveen and I had been living together for over 10 years, so were already married in spirit. She was very happy living the way we were and I respected that. She took her time agreeing to marriage. I was ready to marry Parveen after four years of togetherness but it took me another six years to convince her, and her family. But it has all worked out beautifully. Finally!
How do you look back at your previous loves after all this time? How do you think of Protima Bedi and Parveen Babi now?
They were both extraordinary women. And when I think of them, I think of them fondly. There are no regrets, no bad feelings, just fond memories of wonderful times shared together. Generally, I don’t look back into my past, I live my life very much in the present.
At 70 years, have you found the right balance in your life?
Balance is never easy. Each day has its ups and downs. We all have our joys and sorrows, triumphs and failures. That’s life. All the emotions of life affect us in different ways, at different times. How do you find balance? If a man is sitting with one foot in boiling water and another foot in freezing ice, it does not mean that, on the average, he is comfortable. Balance can only be achieved by the way we look at life. A glass can be seen as half full or half empty. I always prefer to emphasise the positive in everything. It removes a lot of stress and gives joy.
What’s your advice to young people – how should a guy approach a woman to ask her out?
There’s no magic formula, you will learn as you go along. The most important thing is to respect a woman. Don’t see a woman as a game, as a score card. Humour is a great way to approach a woman, make her laugh and you will be liked. Be genuine in your questions. Pay a compliment if you mean it, or else don’t do it. Forced or clichéd compliments are real turn offs.
In short, be yourself, be respectful, get to know her, treat her as an equal and hope for the best.
Related reading: Indian gods teach us about mutual respect in relationships
Be careful who you choose, because you may get them!