Kamal Haasan said Sarika would be upset if he offered her monetary help even when she was homeless, had Rs 60 to her name: ‘She didn’t want sympathy’

Actor Sarika, the ex-wife of superstar Kamal Haasan, once opened up about her difficult journey to stardom and how she had to begin her life again. In an old interview to Simi Garewal, Sarika talked about restarting her life and career at the age of 21 after walking out of her home with hardly anything in hand.

She said, “I just did something that was honestly good for me and my mother. It had to be done. It comes after a lot….you don’t make such decisions overnight.” Simi pressed, “You left with sixty rupees?” Sarika continued, “And my car. I coped. It was very hard—it was not just about where the next meal was going to come from, I just kept up with my friends—went to their house, had baths at their home, and at night, I slept in my car.” Sarika said she wasn’t fearful. “When you really have the need to do something, the strength just comes. When it happens, you’re not trying to show whether you have strength or not, you go through it—you just go through. There’s no time to analyse the process. I didn’t tell anybody.” Later, she moved to a PG accomodation.

Kamal Haasan intervened saying that he got to know much later about her conditions. “You would be shocked, you see her as a star on the sets, and very few people knew where she lived. When I became close to her, I was shocked to see, there was a little bit of sympathy and admiration. She didn’t want that sympathy. She found it very insulting when someone like me asked if she needed help. She would get upset, because any financial involvement would make it vulgar. It was pride, and I admired her for it.”

Talking about their love story, Kamal Haasan confessed he ‘flexed his muscles’ and ‘showed off’, as they were very young. In the beginning they were friends, though he was attracted to her. “I was terribly attracted,” he admitted.

Simi asked if they desisted from being in a relationship on set, Kamal Haasan said, “What is commonly described in novels as a storm—we were trying to avoid this storm, but we were thrown into the arena, with no-go but to fall in love.” He said that the actual realisation of love happened later, as he at first wasn’t sure if he was in love. “We seriously tried to end it.” Sarika added, “I realised I was in love…when things were really bad and there was so much apprehension. I am sure according to one section of society, we are the bad guys. Being the other woman is a bad thing to be, because everyone’s insults seem valid.”

Kamal Haasan was married at the time to Vani Ganapathy, and added that he was losing his faith in the institution of marriage. “It (his marriage) was definitely not working, I won’t lie,” he said. Kamal Haasan and Sarika separated in 2004.

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