Loved & Married too: Rooted in the soil, a love that endures

It is not often these days that a college romance fructifies into wedlock. Corporate Citizen unlocks the story of love that has culminated into marriage, for we believe in the stability of a relationship and family unit. We bring to you real-life romances that got sealed in marriage

Noted Marathi film actor and Short filmmaker Sachin Gawali and his significant half, the effervescent actor Smruti carry the responsibilities of celeb-hood with grace and aplomb. What keeps them sane in a world as exciting and unpredictable as cinema and theatre is a deep sense of belonging to the values of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and their strong and steadfast Marathi roots

Actor film-maker Sachin Gawali is an unusual man. Unusual not only for his academic background - a law graduate and MBA post-graduate who happened to make an impact in the world of Marathi cinema but also his unabashed ownership of his roots. "I am from a farmer's family in Sangli. My extended family is in the military. It is something I never forget," he says amidst the ever-building adulation.

But that's not all the reason why this celebrity is different. Here's a man with an active social conscience and a strong belief in women's empowerment. A belief he has leveraged to great effect with his widely viewed videos on Respecting women, saving the girl child, as well as the importance of teaching girls self-defense, amongst other things.

"Having studied the history of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj as well his contribution not just to politics and warfare but also in his consistent demonstration of respect to women-including those from the enemy camp, I thought the one way of spreading the good word of women's empowerment was to link it to Maharaj and all that he stood for," he explains.

At the crux of it, all was a deep-seated frustration at the tacky and diminishing way women are spoken of in the course of the day to day conversations. "It's ridiculous that you say that you are from the land of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and then disrespect ladies," he shakes his head. Women are part of our world as mothers, sisters, daughters, partners and individuals, and it is im- portant to acknowledge the value they bring to our lives," he says with conviction.

The videos he started making from 2014 onwards have been circulated both in Maharashtra and outside, making an impact beyond his expectations. "When viewers tell you that your film made a difference in their outlook, it is a rewarding moment," he says quietly.

Wife Smruti would agree. After all, it is amongst the many things that drew her to him. Perhaps that's why, despite being married for little over a year, she understands the responsibilities that go with being the partner of an upcoming actor. What helps too, is that she is from the same field - a noted actor and dancer, despite having studied nursing. But like him, the love of the stage drew her into a plethora of dancing, modelling and acting assignments. However, she's never too busy for him. "I look after his diary, help with planning his dates and schedules, and overall, hope to support him as best as I can," she says. "His work is important, and so is his message."

Sachin and Smruti Gawli are bonded by an abiding belief in social work, cultural values, as well as love of family

Back to the beginning

This young romance was scripted over two and a half years ago not on the campus of a college but at an event that both had been invited to as celebrity guests. There wasn't much conversation beyond a cursory hello that day. But when Smruti returned home to read up on his bio-data, she was intrigued. From major roles in films like Lokmanya and Bikers Adda to making an assortment of over 50 socially relevant 50 videos, Sachin's work profile said a lot about the person that he was.

A common friend tried to get in touch, but as luck would have it, he happened to be busy with travel and shoots. " No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't get away. So it took us about 20-25 days to finally meet," he reminisces.

"Smruti took this delay to heart, and decided to repay me with a similar display of 'attitude'. Well, I must say she has stuck to her resolve ever since-especially in her role as my wife," he laughs.

Despite the uncertain start, the relationship progressed swiftly. From the outset, the conversation flowed easily. He found her straightforward, unpretentious and spontaneous qualities he cherishes deeply.

Besides, there was much to share, apart from a common background of cinema and the performing arts: food, for starters. "We are both foodies and enjoy trying out different cuisines," he shares. Not to forget a shared love of history and culture. "We both wanted to work towards building a sense of pride in our history and culture."

By way of dating, he took her to forts and temples. "It may sound like an odd choice of place to take one's fiance to, but apart from the fact that we both enjoy visiting such places, there was a necessity to do so as well. For here is where we could spend quality time, unhindered by attention," he says.

The families did not object. Given the fact that Sachin's work had reached Smruti's home long before the man himself, they found no reason to object and gave the young couple their blessings.

The duo was wed in a traditional ceremony on Dec 12, 2017.

What is important is to keep doing good work and being good to others around you. The relationships you build today are your greatest strengths tomorrow

- Sachin

The mantras of a marriage
  • Trust
  • A shared love of roots and family
  • Mutual respect
  • Caring for each other's families

The world of cinema may be a challenging one, but with strong roots, one can weather any storm is what they say

The building blocks of marriage

Obviously, things are different since marriage but in a good way, they aver. For starters, Sachin's fans are no longer content to see only him at a function. "They want to know why she hasn't come if she happens to be absent," he smiles. "It feels great actually to be accepted and loved as a couple."

The public interface apart, both have taken considerable efforts in accepting each other's families. "He is like a son to my parents, and I am a daughter to his mother. When you care for someone you need to make the effort to extend the commitment to their loved ones as well," says Smruti.

And no, despite the attention commanded by her actor husband, she does not for a moment, feel overwhelmed by it. "For starters, he addresses each and every lady he meets as taioraai (elder sister or mother.) That apart, trust is integral to every relationship. With trust you can go places, without it, nothing moves. Besides, we make it a point to be together wherever possible. He is also caring and solicitous of my needs," she says.

At the end of the day, she says it all boils down to one word-respect. "Give your partner the respect they deserve and value them for the person that they are."

The admiration is mutual.

"She is a talented actor herself and does a fine job on screen," says the supportive husband." She must take up roles that do her talent due justice."

Eventually, they do plan on starting a family but Smruti is sure that she will have his support, whether or not she chooses to work. "He is very encouraging of everything I do," she says.

For the moment, life is hectic but happy. Sachin has a plethora of projects coming up, including films like Jawaani Zindabad, Dhaap, Kaajwa, Hyderabad Custody, Lai Jhakaas and Kurhaad in which he's either the parallel lead or main actor in a villainous role. On the anvil are plans to come up with some more videos urging women to learn some form of self-defense. "I truly believe it is the need of the hour," he says.

Amidst all the excitement, the question arises nevertheless, as to how the couple manages to keep up the spirits in the lean period that is a given part of an actor's life. "See, ups and downs are part of life," says Sachin. "What is important is to keep doing good work and being good to others around you. The relationships you build today are your greatest strengths tomorrow," he added.

"Maharaj would say that anyone can benefit from an opportunity. But it takes a wise man to convert an obstacle into an opportunity... both Smruti and I hope to implement this in our personal and professional lives," Sachin rounds off.

By Kalyani Sardesai