A man for all seasons, Ramesh Aravind has been the darling of Kannada audiences for over two and a half decades. An actor, director, popular television personality and also a motivational speaker who’s much in demand at TEDxtalks and college fests, an actor who appeals across generations, Ramesh opens up about love, marriage and his media-shy wife Archana, a Punjabi who has seamlessly blended into his Tamilian home.
Your latest directorial venture is Butterfly, the Kannada remake of the Bollywood movie Queen, about a girl’s heartbreak and her loss of faith in love and relationships. Have you been witness to such situations in real life?
There is a beautiful phrase that I included in the script. And it says, “Life is bigger than everything…be it love, relationships or lovers.” I agree that heartbreaks, like the protagonist in my film undergoes, are painful. But with the experience I’ve gained over the years, I can truly say that loss of love or a breakup is not the end of the world. It may seem so at that time, but when you realise that love, unlike death, is not a one-time phenomenon, everything begins to gain more clarity.
There can’t be a more important person in life than yourself.
Also, trust is more fragile than glass. Takes ages to build, but can be destroyed in seconds. If you make a promise, stick by it. And I have lived by that all through my life — in love or in my profession.
Many films in your illustrious career have had you playing the proverbial sacrificial lover. In real life though, you married the woman you loved. Tell us what sealed the deal for you about Archana.
Of course, at the age we were, me in my early 20s and she 19, it was pure attraction in the initial days. But gradually, we realised that it was beyond the physical equation and it was only because we completed each other that the relationship went from strength to strength. Archana was 19 when I began courting her and she was taking care of her entire household. She had unfortunately lost her mother by then and was the biggest support for her father and brother. I was bowled over by her efficiency and how she was her own person even at that age. If I’ve been able to focus on my profession and become who I am today, it’s all because of Archana. She simply just took on the mantle of managing the house, the kids, accounts and other domestic demands. I’ve functioned without a manager or an accountant only because of her. No questions asked; we understand each other so well. She’s the anchor of my home.
In the 25 years through your courtship and marriage, what is the one quality that remains unchanged?
Our commitment to the relationship. No matter what the circumstance, you have to have the intent to make it work. And not half-hearted attempts, mind you; it has to be 100 per cent from both sides. There will be moments of madness and times and you might make faces at each other! Misunderstandings are bound to happen and sometimes ego may take over or you may not know how to break the ice. But I believe that every couple should set the golden rule and live by it. If there is a disagreement, fix a time to settle the issue. It could be half an hour or even a day, but don’t prolong it. This is the area most couples need to tackle, don’t let a problem fester. Archana and I are extremely committed to the relationship and in 25 years, we may have hardly had three or four disagreements. Always know that your relationship is paramount; all else should just fade away into oblivion. Don’t give up easily.
We see an alarming number of couples of separating these days. Do you feel youngsters especially, are losing interest and giving up on relationships without a second thought?
Yes, I see and hear of couples breaking up at the slightest provocation. It is sad because marriage or relationships can be so beautiful. I think the advent of social media and the numerous platforms that provide access to various people has probably been a bait for those who have an inclination to look outside a relationship. Before you step out of a relationship and blame the other, just take a hard look at yourself and ask, “Am I the problem?” Half your problem is solved if you are true to yourself and stop pointing fingers.
How did the two of you tide over the challenges in your marriage?
I follow busy schedules that also involve long outdoor shoots. Hence Archana is alone at most times. She must have looked forward to the weekend when I’d be off and after having shot all through the week, I looked forward to spending time at home. It must have been a challenging time for her especially when the kids were growing up. But we never let it dominate our life and spoil the congenial atmosphere of the house. And the credit goes to Archana, she’s invested more in this relationship and is the support system of the household.
At the end of the day, after all the fanfare and stardom, when you go home and somebody is awaiting your arrival, there can be no greater moment of love than that.
Family is the most meaningful word in the dictionary.
So what is the best part of your relationship?
That I live with my lifelong friend. Both Archana and I choose to focus on the positive and ignore the negative. Both of us haven’t drastically changed anything about our individual selves, but we have made minor adjustments. It is like having an A/C at home. It’s not like you can’t live without it, but it makes life comfortable. It’s the same with adjustments — it makes marriage smooth sailing.