Wednesday, April 24, 2024

The Feeling of Love


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February, the month of love, or at least the one dedicated to love is gone but the feeling of love lingers. Through the months and years, love is a yearning, a fight, a quest and a destination even, to many. Through the series ‘Love Storiyaan’ streaming on Prime Video, that translates to love stories, is a pack of 6 episodes depicting real life stories of real people and their journeys of finding love in the most unexpected places and people and braving the odds to make it through.

Among the six, the second story holds utmost intrigue and interest, given that the story is that of a household name among the people of Shillong. This story is that of Nicholas J. Kharnami, popularly known as Madboy Nicky J and his wife’s Rajani Chettri that is titled ‘Love On Air’.

Their episode in the series, takes one through the busy iews (markets) churches, rivers, hills and forests of Shillong, as well showcasing the serenity of Meghalaya’s landscape. Directed by Vivek Soni and produced by Dharmatic Cinema features Kharmani and life partner, Chettri. Opening up and sharing their love story and how it mushroomed with the world to understand the many obstacles and hurdles, both speak with Sunday Shillong.

RJ Nicky speaks

SS: Congratulations on your most recent accolade. How does it feel to share your story with the world?

NK: We are feeling really blessed how our love story has connected with the viewers from all around. We are thankful for the overwhelming love and support we have received.

SS: You’re an RJ and active proponent for environmental protection. How did this collaboration come about?

NK: I have to give all the credit to my sweetheart Rajani. It was through her post on the Page India Love Project that our story paved the way for this collaboration.

SS: To be associated with one of the biggest production houses, Dharma Cinema is huge. How did it all happen?

NK: Dharmatics collaborated with India Love Project to produce a web series based on real love stories from across the country and our love story happened to make the cut among thousands of other stories that were featured on India Love Project. We had manifested way back in 2010 that our love story would make an interesting Bollywood film. As a matter of fact, we aspired Imtiaz Ali to direct us. We are absolutely elated that our wish came true and our story was filmed under the banner of Dharma productions, produced by Karan Johar and directed by award winning director Vivek Soni.

SS: Love is about vulnerabilities. How has the experience of sharing your story changed you and your relationship?

NK: Sharing our story has helped us to bond with each other all the more, it has helped us to understand our strengths and weaknesses and work on them. More importantly, to understand God’s plan in bringing us together and to cherish every moment spent together and to be able to share the message of Love through our lives.

SS: As a public figure, did it take you a lot of convincing to share some of the dark sides of your life?

NK: Absolutely not, as a matter of fact the credit goes to Vivek who made me feel so comfortable to share my feelings openly. I realised that whatever I had faced in my past and how I was able to fight the battles of my life was something that could be a source of encouragement for someone who might be going through a phase in their lives. Perhaps as a public figure you always lead by examples and inspire others to win over their fears and problems.

SS: As a father and role model to Mahyaan, what do you think you would want to see more in the world and society around you?

NK: As a father figure, I want Mahyaan to accept the dark realities of life and to be able to face the challenges of life upfront. I want him to trust God above all and his plan and try to live a righteous life. In general, I hope Love Storiyaan instils hope in each one of us and makes one fall in Love again…more importantly dwell on the much ignored emotional, mental, spiritual and issues related to addiction and substance abuse faced by us men and accept that we need help.

SS: What is the one message you’d like to convey to our readers about love and life?

NK: Well, to all the readers all I would like to say Love can only be best expressed and experienced loving one another unconditionally as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Life is God’s gift to each one of us, let’s live to make our life purposeful and contribute towards leaving behind a better tomorrow for the future generations to come.

Rajani Speaks..

SS: Most know you as a professor/teacher. Being a partner/wife to a well-known personality comes with its challenges. How was it stepping into the public eye?

RC: As a teacher when you are standing in a classroom full of young students, your words/ actions/behaviours are always under public scrutiny, so I’ve always felt that I’ve been in the public eye. In the case of my association with Nick, I have never seen him as a ‘public figure’ primarily because when I met him, I was a radio personality too, and later when we connected more as friends I was able to see the broken man beneath all that Gung ho of Nick. The attention we have got out of the film was initially overwhelming for me but slowly I am getting used to it and most of it has been very endearing and encouraging.

SS: How was the experience for Mahyaan (their son)? He must have many friends who ask him questions now about his parents and family. What was it like for him?

RC: (Jokingly as shared by Mahyaan) in his words – my football career is ruined and now people would see me as a “cameo actor” – but frankly we never felt like it was a film, PR or an enactment. It felt like a few guests had come to live with us and wanted to know about us.

SS: The episode depicting your life has both you and Nicky J emotional and teary in many parts. How does emotional openness strengthen you and your bond?

RC: During those moments, we felt super exposed and extremely vulnerable but also experienced a freedom like never before. It felt like a big weight had been lifted off our chest. Hiding/filtering takes a lot of effort. We realised being authentic is truly being in love and close to our being.

SS: In the series, both you and RJ Nicky have admitted that love sometimes is not it. There are bigger battles to fight – convincing parents, societal standards, community and religious barriers. Sometimes people give up. What is the one thing you’d like to tell couples dealing with similar issues?

RC: I truly believe that each one of us are guided in special ways by an unseen, unknown power may be God. Therefore, always find time and space to listen to your heart and let your heart be the compass to lead you and not your ego.

SS: What advice would you give to many heartbroken or even those who are looking for love but can’t seem to find it?

RC: Consider yourself lucky if you are going through tough and challenging times because victory comes to those who persevere.  Make sure to fall in love with yourself first- before you go out there looking for another being.

As a couple, they endorse accepting one’s share of responsibility towards a relationship and working towards it by putting their best foot forward. Asked if they’ll be seen on television  soon, they responded saying “Hopefully, yes. Just how this show fell into our laps, there might be future plans coming our way.”

Can a wrong phone call and connect you to the right person? Perhaps for RJ Nicky and his wife Rajni Chettri.

Overcoming fears, insecurities, and accepting love they end on the note ‘Pyaar aata hain 100 zakham liye, 1000 malham diye’ (Love walks in with some pain, but also renders immense healing).

(Interviewed by Esha Chaudhuri)

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