You’d have to be living under a rock - on one of Jupiter’s moons - to not know that Sonam Kapoor got married in 2018. Her wedding to long-term boyfriend Anand Ahuja was attended by the Bollywood glitterati and made headlines around the world as fans and brides alike waited to see what India’s brightest fashion icon would wear on her Big Day.
Since the nuptials, things have been a whirlwind. Sonam flew to Cannes, then on to promote her latest film, all while squeezing in moving to their newlywed London pad.
In her very first UK interview as Mrs Sonam K Ahuja, she reveals what happened after Happily Ever After.
Brides know they will be in the spotlight on the Big Day but you had the world's watching too! How did you handle all the attention?
I didn’t know the world’s spotlight was on me! I was at my wedding and it just happened to be broadcast because a lot of my friends were a little merry! It was my brothers and my friends, they were excited. My hashtag was #EverydayPhenomenal.
It wasn't mine! Anand was like, "Hey, it’s my shaadi also!"
What was your favourite moment of the celebrations?
The Anand Karaj, I thought was the most beautiful part of the wedding.
Soft lilac short choli lehenga with hand embellished gold sequins throughout the ensemble: Shehlaa by Shehla Khan Earrings: Rubina Kapoor
You went to Cannes after the wedding, do you ever plan to go on honeymoon?!
Of course! I’ve been so busy, we’ve decided to honeymoon at the end of the year. I’ve been working and then setting up a house in London. So much going on!
Where's your dream destination?
We’re thinking of places outside of the honeymoon box, like Africa or the Far East. I want to go to Japan, or maybe Cambodia or Vietnam. It’s more adventurous.
Lots of brides describe a come down after the excitement of the wedding - have you?
I wish! There was no comedown, it was go, go, go. I was at the wedding, then Cannes, then film promos, and then moving. Now I’m here on this shoot with Khush Wedding! Next, I’ll fly to India for filming. There’s no stopping.
What's your new house in London like?
It’s really tiny, nothing fancy but really beautiful and cute. I love that it’s just ours. It’s two and half bedrooms, as I like to call it. I’m looking forward to decorating it and making it ours.
Dusky rose embellished lace sari, complemented with a sequin Bardot-style blouse: Shehlaa by Shehla Khan Earrings: Rubina Kapoor
So we can expect to see more of you in the UK?
I love London but India is home. I’ll split my time between the two depending on my schedule.
Is your schedule stressful?
I try not to get stressed. Anand wants me to take more time out so we can spend time together, but it’s all about balance. Anand is the love of my life, but I love working.
Is Anand the antidote to the Bollywood lifestyle?
Because we aren’t involved in each other’s industry, when we talk about work, we can offer different perspectives. The conversation is less narrow.
Can women find love and get married without sacrificing their career?
You could stay home or work. I chose to work - as does Anand. It’s better, there’s less pressure on the relationship. Being a mother and wife can be a very difficult job; our mothers will tell you that. My parents brought us up together.
Will you raise your kids in the same way?
As Asians, we’re so used to our mums just being there. But my dad had a hand in my upbringing, and that was very important. Anand will be a great father and role model.
Long puff sleeve detail blouse, with a flowy, pleated skirt in an elegant champagne shade: Shehlaa by Shehla Khan Necklace: Sandook Gems
You got a lot of fire for changing your name
Changing my name doesn’t make me less of a feminist. I kept my father’s name and my husband’s, because it was my choice - and isn’t that partly what feminism is about; the freedom to choose? What Anand did in changing his name was extremely progressive. It’s so our kids – if we have kids, when we have kids – have both our names.Long puff sleeve detail blouse, with a flowy, pleated skirt in an elegant champagne shade: Shehlaa by Shehla Khan Necklace: Sandook Gems
So you’re officially...?
He’s Anand Sonam Ahuja or Anand S Ahuja, I’m Sonam Kapoor Ahuja or Sonam K Ahuja. It’s a partnership. A lot of men and women reached out to Anand after he changed his name to say, ‘this is so cool, it’s amazing’. I think it’s cool.
Let's talk about Veere Di Wedding! You seemed like the ultimate squad - did that translate when you weren’t filming?
Yeah, I really whatever happens on screen is a reflection of what’s going on behind the scenes. If you don’t have chemistry, it’s no fun and it shows. I thought the content would scandalise a lot of people, but mostly it was aunties went to watch the film. They were like, we talk like this!
Do you think Veere's success will change the mindset audiences have for female lead film?
It should, we’ve proved it’s a formula that works. And touch wood, I’ve only done female-led films, and they’ve all done very well. But they were never super commercial, besides perhaps Khubsoorat. Veere Di Wedding is just that, commercial. It opened to double digits, which even Razi didn’t open to. It’s insane.
Champagne hued sheer lehenga, with constrast mint embroidery: Shehlaa by Shehla Khan Necklace: Sandook Gems
Has Veere started a revolution?
People can be stubborn. We have to keep making films that basically say the same thing over and over again until the mindsets change and the message gets through. I think Veere is a tiny step forward and we have a very long way to go.
The film tackled some controversial subjects...
There were a couple of issues we broached. One was that women shouldn’t be afraid of their sexuality and it’s okay to talk about it, and women DO talk about it with their friends. Men shouldn’t be scared that women have a sex life. They’re not the only ones who are allowed to have one.
Second is that, marriage does not make you complete. It’s your choice. For example. my character Avni is beautiful, she’s very successful, she’s doing really, really well but because she’s not married she’s made to feel less than normal. Even though she has all these things, all these markers of success. If it were a man, he would be a bachelor, most wanted etc.
Thirdly if you’re getting a divorce, there’s nothing wrong with it. If you want to have sexual pleasure without your husband, it’s fine. And if you’re not having sex, well that's fine too. There are so many phases a woman can go through – crazy love, lust, marriage, divorce, singlehood. It’s okay to make mistakes.
Unfortunately, brown women have this pressure to be perfect. To look pretty, to be skinny, to be pure. But…. why? Are men held to the same standards? No.
Blush lehenga sari with hand painted motifs, finished with hand embroidery: Shehlaa by Shehla Khan Earrings: Sandook Gems
Are the rumours of Veere 2 true?
Well everybody wants one! I think the writers should start writing the second one and since it’s been so successful hopefully there will be a sequel.
Is it important to do more female-focused films?
It’s important to do these kinds of films. For example, I did Khubsoorat and Aisha. See, Aisha was about a girl who wasn’t perfect. She was selfish, spoilt and wanted what she wanted. And yet she was still the heroine of the film. And Khubsoorat was about a girl who was like, even if you’re my Prince Charming, I’m not going to change. I’m going to dress weird, have short hair, be clumsy. I don’t have to transform into a princess to get you.
What are you working on now?
A movie called The Zoya Factor, it’s the film adaptation of Anuja Chauhan’s 2008 novel of the same name about a girl who becomes a lucky charm for the Indian cricket team. I’m also working on Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga which is really fun as my dad is also in it. Fashionwise I’m working on Rheson, and... that’s it! I don’t think I can fit in anymore!
Editor-in-Chief: Sonia Ullah
Creative Director: Manni Sahota
Fashion Editor: Vikas Rattu
Photography: Michael Sheller
Makeup: Ganga Makeup
Hair: Aamir Naveed
Mehndi: CK Creatives
As seen in Khush Wedding Summer 2018 KW19. Buy this issue here