Chit Chat

Nandita is the home-breaker, not me: Om Puri’s first wife

She has written quite a few TV shows and among them were Neena Gupta’s Pal Chhin. She has also directed a few episodes of Rishtey. A few years back, she directed Haat, The Weekly Bazaar and the film won much critical acclaim. But, she is in news as ‘Om Puri’s first wife’. The usually reticent Seema Kapoor has been facing the rough end of the stick ever since Om Puri’s marriage with Nandita hit the rocks.

When we ask for an interview, she hesitates, but eventually relents. Over hot cups of tea, she unfolds her side of the story: “The press has tried to corner me for a chat ever since Om and I ended our marriage. I never spoke up. But perhaps it is time now. Nandita has been harassing me for the longest time.”

Excerpts from the chat that followed:

How did Om come into your life?
Om knew my elder brother Ranjeet (writer of Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, Khakee, Lajja) since his NSD (National School of Drama) days in the early 70s and eventually became a family friend. One fine day, we realised that we were in love. We were very serious about our relationship and after dating for almost a decade, we finally tied the knot in 1990. But my marital bliss was short-lived. Nandita stormed into Om’s life when our marriage was just about a year old. She had met him in Kolkata for an interview, and the next thing I knew was that she was staying with him in his hotel room. Initially, I thought it was a fling. But I was wrong. It did not fizzle out. I had lost my father three months before my marriage. My mother used to feel very lonely. And I would visit her in Jhalawar (Rajasthan) quite often. In my absence, Nandita used to drop in and stay with Om. I found her letters and I even found her undergarments in Om’s cupboard. At one point, I was so disturbed that I went away to stay with my mother. I was pregnant and I didn’t want all this to have an effect on my child. But, I was so traumatised that I eventually lost the baby.

Was it a miscarriage?
No. I was five months pregnant and the baby died inside my womb. Sometime later, Om sent me the divorce papers at Jhalawar. My brothers, Ranjeet and Annu, were furious. But I told them to ‘let it pass’. If I have no place in Om’s heart, what’s the point in having a place in his house?

Did he keep in touch with you after he married Nandita?
He was in touch with my brothers and we occasionally met in a group. Three years ago, when my mother died, he came to the condolence meet and apologised to me at the gathering. And he wasn’t feigning. He was honestly sorry…I could see it in his eyes.

Om told us that once he’s out of his present marriage, he would like to stay with you… That makes me feel good. But I wouldn’t like to stay with him.

Why? What’s wrong in starting afresh?
What afresh! Ab toh life khatam ho gayi hai.

Do you think Om deserves what is happening to him now?
Certainly not. Whatever happened between him and me does not call for retribution. We need to live life in a civilised manner.

Did you ever encounter aggression from him in your married life?
Om is not an aggressive person. He cannot raise his hand on anybody. We had many fights, but it never resulted in physical violence.

Nandita blames you for Om beating her up on August 22. She says you called and instigated Om…
At his age? At 64? Do you think he is a puppet in my hands? Nandita has been lambasting you in the media for quite some time now. Why do you think she is doing this? I wish I knew. But she definitely needs to meditate. There’s too much of dirt and negativity inside her. She uses the choicest of Hindi expletives. I was terribly embarrassed when she stormed into my building and started abusing. Have you read Om’s biography written by her? It is a semi-porn book, which failed to take off. Om is not a hero. Who is interested in the bedroom life of a character artiste? Om had asked his friend Aparajita to pen the book, but Nandita went hysterical and snatched the project from her.

She says Om has bought you property and given you a hefty loan…
She needs to prove that. Honestly, she is talking rubbish. Nandita has alleged that Om helped you get your film script passed from NFDC when he was the chairman there. People at NFDC are laughing at her and that is why they have not taken any action against her for levelling such baseless allegations.

She accuses Om and you of adultery.
She and Om were in an adulterous relationship. They were having an affair when I was still married to Om. She is the home-breaker, not me. When I lost my baby, she was on a pre-marriage honeymoon with Om in Nepal.

Have you abstained from getting into another relationship after the marriage broke?
For such things to happen, you need to trust a person to a certain extent. Many people were interested in me, but after being betrayed by my husband, I had lost all my faith in relationships.

Have you ever replied to Nandita’s allegations?
Not so far. But now I am going to take legal action against her for defaming me. Enough is enough. She even wrote something very derogatory about me in Om’s biography.


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