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Celebrities » Wedding-stories » Kamna-navin-040412
1952, A love story:
Kamna and Navin Chandra

Theirs is a union that has lasted more than fifty years. She is a well-known screenwriter with several Hindi films to her credit including Prem Rog and 1942: A Love Story; whereas he is retired chemical engineer. Coming from two completely different backgrounds Kamna and Navin Chandra are truly made for each other. Proud parents of internationally acclaimed novelist Vikram Chandra, filmmaker Tanuja Chandra and writer and film critic Anupama Chopra, this couple is proof of the fact that marriages if left to bloom can last forever.

Kamna & Navin Chandra with the family Once upon a time... in 1952
Kamna takes us back to the yesteryears when things were so very different. "We met each other in the year 1952, when things were so different than what they are today. Though we didn't have a love marriage we got to know each other very well before we got married. The first time I met him was at my home. Our families got us introduced to each other. He had come with his family to meet me over tea. I had done my B.A (Bachelor of Arts) from Allahbad University and was awaiting my results. He was a chemical engineer from Benaras University. He made a favourable first impression - he was fair, tall and a thorough gentleman. Over the next few months we got to know each other more as friends than anything else. We even went to see Raj Kapoor's Aah together, which during that time was very rare. Both are families were very liberal and we were allowed to meet from time to time."


Benarasi babu
Navin Chandra wasn't only bedazzled by Kamna's personality but was also in awe of her fighting spirit. "What struck me the most besides the fact that she was beautiful, intelligent and extremely talented was her determination. Kamna lost her father when she was very young and since then she has always been an excellent support to her family even in the worst circumstances." For Kamna, the choice was obvious. "He is soft-spoken, intelligent and easy to talk to. A complete gentleman."

First class bahu
So after a courtship of about eight months the couple tied the knot on 20th June 1953. "Our wedding was a typical Hindu marriage with the traditional saat pheras and all the vidhis that follow," says Kamna. "The wedding took place in Lucknow and we had all our relatives present for the ceremony. What made the day perfect was the announcement of the B.A. results, which I had been waiting for so long. When the baarat arrived on Lucknow station early that morning they heard of the announcement in the newspaper and they were over-joyed because now the had a bahu who was a first-class B.A. pass!"

Fifty not out
So, what after all is the secret of staying together for so long? "Trust and complete faith in each other's action," they announce in unison. Kamna explains further: "We have had our shares of ups and downs but we have battled them together for the past fifty years. Understanding each other's problems, caring for each other and having complete faith in your partner is the secret. I think giving each other space to grow and expand is also essential. He is very supportive of all my decisions even when I had almost decided to accept a government job in Lucknow while he would be working in New Delhi. I didn't do the job for my family and my marriage. I continued writing instead."

Her greatest strengths
"Kamna is a very pleasant, intelligent and a wonderful person to talk to. She has an ability to make all those around her very comfortable. I think these are her greatest attributes, though at times she is impatient and wants to get things done fast which doesn't work in her favour sometimes."

His greatest strengths
"He is extremely honest, hardworking and self-sacrificing. A complete optimist, he has been my pillar of strength all these years. My only complaint against him is that he is very quiet and there are times when he should talk more."

Friends for life
Both husband and wife feel that friendship is a very important ingredient in any marriage. "Friendship ke bina kuch nahin ho sakta (Without friendship you can't achieve anything)," states Kamna. "My husband is my friend first then whatever else. Marriage is all about sharing and caring." Navin Chandra tends to agree. "You have to treat each other with respect and honesty. We have never allowed personal goals to interfere with our marriage. And the fact that she is known in the industry and to the public makes me very proud of her and over the years we have learned to enjoy each other's success."

Marital perks
"Marriage has given us everything," they both announce. "We have been very lucky to find each other. Marriage has given us love, affection, security and a family that cares for us whenever we need them. Family life is very essential for your personal growth and marriage gives you just that."

Gen X
The couple feels very strongly of what the institution of marriage has been reduced to. Explains Kanma: "Today's youth has forgotten the true value of what it means to be married. They are falling prey to demands of everyday life and compromising on their married lives. Tolerance levels between husband and wife has gone down due to which you see such sad break-ups. In our time marriages were forever. My advice to them is to give marriage the chance it truly deserves."

Proud parents
And how does it feel to have such successful children? "The feeling is wonderful," they beam together. "We have never compelled them to opt for any particular profession. As long as they did what they wanted to, we were happy. We always wanted them to grow up to be successful professionals but more than that we wanted them to be wonderful human beings."

Aseem Hattangady
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