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Sunday, May 28, 2023

Amrita Rao and RJ Anmol on their book ‘Couple of Things’ : Our love story has so many juicy details that even a book is not enough – Exclusive – Times of India

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Amrita Rao surprised one and all when she tied the knot with popular radio jockey Anmol. Though the couple always kept their personal lives private, they shared their love story with their fans through videos on YouTube. Now, they are all set to turn it into a book titled, ‘Couple of Things’. The book, which is all set to be released on the occasion of Valentine’s Day, traces their individual journeys that eventually lead them to their destiny – each other.
ETimes sat down for a heart-to-heart with the lovely couple, where they opened up about why they chose books as the medium to spread love, their Valentine’s Day plans, and their favourite real life love story. Excerpts…

The video series, ‘Couple of Things’ received immense love from the audience. Are you nervous about the book?

Amrita: I am actually quite excited about the book. I feel every audience is important. Yes, we shared our love story through our YouTube channel, but there we couldn’t get into the details. There are so many juicy details that even the book is not enough. So a book was very much in the pipeline. It was inevitable.
Anmol: Whatever we presented on our YouTube channel was the starter, and this book is the main course.

We are in a digital age, and the advent of OTT has changed the way we consume content. Why did you choose a book as a medium to tell your fans about your love story?

Amrita: There are many people who have told us that ‘Couple of Things’ should become an OTT series. Like Anmol said, after the main course, that would be the dessert. But coming back to your question as to why we choose books as the medium, I feel it is a very intimate association. I have grown up reading books and romantic novels. It is a very intimate space, which I think OTT cannot break. On OTT, you can watch content, but books help bring your imagination alive. When we describe a situation, everybody has their own perception in their minds.

Anmol: A book is like the theatre of your mind. Everybody reading the book will have their own series going on inside their minds.

Amrita: I should give the credit to Anmol here because it was him who imagined ‘Couple of Things’ becoming a book.

Anmol: Publishing a book was actually one of the things on our bucket list. At the airport, there is this huge bookstall next to the business class lounge. Whenever we used to travel and pass through the bookstall, I used to tell Amrita, “One day our book will be here’. This has been happening for the past 10 years or so. And frankly, we had absolutely no plans to write a book. I am not a person who enjoys writing. I love to talk. I still had this uncanny conviction inside me that one day our book would be here. Now, it is finally going to see the light of day.

Amrita, you have had a special connection with books since your childhood. You wrote poems as a child for children’s magazines. Your grandfather wrote a book on India’s freedom struggle, and even your father wrote books on extrasensory perception and how to quit smoking.

Yes, my grandfather wrote a book many years ago, that is in Oxford English. Even my father has written a couple of books. So for me, writing was not as much of a challenge as deciding what to write. When we decided it would be about our love story, it flowed effortlessly from inside me. I have always enjoyed the process of putting together words and phrases.

Many who have read and reviewed the book have suggested the book should be turned into a film – your thoughts…

Amrita: That is definitely the next progression, but having the book first is the first step. It goes without saying that whoever reads the book will know that there is so much in between the lines that needs visualisation and OTT space. So that will happen, but for now, this is our first step.

How easy or tough is it to write and share your intimate feelings and moments in a memoir?

Anmol: I would love to mention one thing here that the book is not only about our love story. Our Love Story accounts for at least 60 percent of the book. But the first 40 percent of the book is actually about our individual journeys. This is something that we couldn’t tell in our video series. It is about me, a boy from Delhi, with no background, went on to become an RJ at a time when radio was not even considered as a career option. In the process, he meets his dream girl. It is also about how a simple girl, with no godfather, came into the industry and started ruling it. These two individual journeys are very beautiful. At one point, even our publisher said that ‘hum ek nahi 3 kitaabe likh sakte hai’, first two on our journeys and the third on our love story. ‘Couple of Things’ is an amalgamation of three things into one.

I will tell you, when I was reading about Amrita’s journey, there were so many things that I was unaware of before. An actress has poured her heart out, talking about what all she has done to crack it in this industry. As a reader, I found it very interesting.

Talking about intimate details, we are actually very private people, and I think it became easier for us to share it in the form of book. We were clear right from the start that we were writing a love story, so there was no point in not sharing the intimate details. Once you decide, you have to go full throttle. You cannot say ki yeh nai batayenge ya wo nai batayenge.

In one of your interviews, you mentioned how you were very sure about marrying Anmol ever since you met for the first time in 2009.

Amrita: It was not actually when I met him for the first time. When he proposed to me, I decided in that moment that it was going to get more serious for me from here. I feel that is the best way to approach any relationship.

Anmol: I proposed to her live on the radio. She didn’t say yes to me right away. Eventually, she did say yes. I remember it was November 5, 2009. We were in my car. She said, ‘yahan se ab serious hi hoga‘. I was actually more than happy because I was also looking for a serious relationship at that point. Even I wanted something more long term, so I was happy.

Your love story has a special connection with Dev Anand; tell us about it.

Amrita: Yes, we do, actually! Anmol is a huge fan of Dev Anand, sir. I have never seen a bigger fan than him. It is really special. Dev Sahab has a very significant part to play in our love story. But for that, you will have to read the book!

Anmol: We kept our love life a secret. We had not told anybody that we were dating. Dev Anand Sahab was actually the first person from the industry to know that we were in love. He had seen us together somewhere. The next day, Amrita and I were in my car. We were travelling and I got a call from Dev Anand sir. He wanted to talk about something. The phone was on speaker, and out of nowhere he just said, ‘Anmol, that beautiful girl, Amrita Rao… there is something…’ We both looked at each other in shock. He was a legendary romantic hero for a reason! He could see something was brewing between us.

Do you both recall your first Valentine’s Day together?

Amrita: We drove to the bandstand, and Anmol had gotten me a handful of flowers for me, it was not a bouquet. We made an impromptu decision or drive all the way to Lonavala. We had a nice drive, and then we came back. We ended the day at the bandstand. We sat and recalled everything that we did that day, and it was very beautiful.

You have celebrated many Valentine’s Days together over the years. Which Valentine’s Day has been the most memorable one for you, Amrita?

Amrita: The first ones are always special, so that is there. Apart from that, I remember when Anmol gifted me a diamond solitaire ring. I was travelling and was not going to be there on Valentine’s Day. I was promoting ‘Thackeray’. In the middle of the night, he was like, ‘I wanted to gift you something’. He just opened a small box, and I was just dazed. I couldn’t even fathom what it was. I ended up asking him if the diamond was real.

Anmol: I was so excited that I couldn’t even wait for February 14 to come. I gave it to her on the night of February 13th only. The box was also quite unique, it had a small light inside it. So I turned the lights off and handed her the box. As soon as she opened it, the light fell on the diamond, and it looked amazing.

How have your Valentine’s Day celebrations changed over the years?

Amrita: I guess it has. There was nothing we could do in the last two years because of the pandemic. Even Veer was born. But this year, it would be special. With the publication of the book, we will be able to revisit some incredible memories. This year, we will make sure we make up for the past two years.

Do you read books to your son, Veer?

Amrita: I do. I actually conjure and make up stories for him. He has not started reading as much, so I read to him. More than reading, I just make up my own stories and tell them to him.

What keeps the spark and romance between you two alive after all these years?

Amrita: I think it is necessary to let the sparks fly, whatever they may be.

Anmol: We are no experts in relationships, so I am going to comment on it in general. According to me, what keeps the spark alive is the surprise element. You should keep discovering things about each other till the end of life. You should keep surprising each other. It could be both good and bad.

Amrita: I think in that sense, the book was full of surprises for us. During the course of writing, we realised that there were so many things we didn’t know about each other. The last two months, writing the book, were amazing for us.

Anmol: Both the video series and the book have been worth it for us as far as our romantic relationship is concerned. While making videos for our channel, we would revisit the places we had been. Recalling those moments that happened some 10–12 years ago and revisiting them renewed a spark in us. The book did the same thing for us.

Amrita: It reminded us of all the reasons we fell in love with each other.

You both are one of the most loved couples in Bollywood, even on social media. Do you still get bothered by trolls and negativity on social media? How do you deal with them?

Anmol: I don’t handle them at all. I make a joke and let it go. Sometimes I just reply with something that is totally unrelated. But frankly, we don’t get trolled that often. We have only experienced love.

Amrita: We have been blessed with good fans. We don’t get those nasty comments. We mostly get good and encouraging comments.

Anmol: It is also because all we are doing is promoting love. Be it on our YouTube channel, Instagram, or through this book, we are just spreading love genuinely. We believe that the world really needs love, and we want to spread it as much as possible. That might be one of the reasons we don’t get trolled much.

Aside from your own, what other real-life love story of your Bollywood counterparts do you adore?

Anmol: I have said this in one of my social media posts: ‘aise bahut log hote hai jinka pyaar adhura reh jaata hai. Bahut Mubarak ho aapko kyunki kahaniya aksar adhure pyaar ki hi banti hai’. Be it Laila-Majnu, Heer-Ranjha or Dilip Kumar- Madhubala – the love stories that are incomplete become popular. Pyaar parvaan chadha par mukammal nahi ho paya. However, it is not always the case. Our book shows that love stories that are complete can also be beautiful.

I admire Narayan and Sudha Murthy’s real life love story. They have had a beautiful journey of love and companionship. I have never dived deep into their love story, but I would love to know how their love blossomed. Their love story is not that mushy love story we hear and read, it is all about how they supported each other and helped each other build their strong individual personalities. They are comfortable in their own zones. They are both amazing. They probably have one of the best love stories out there.

Amrita: I feel Farah Khan and Shirish Kunder are an intriguing couple. I am sure their love story has not been easy. Farah has spoken about it in a couple of interviews in the past. There are many things to get inspired by. Maybe the world doesn’t see you as a perfect couple, but you know that you are. You stand by your convictions, and then you become the perfect couple for the world.



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