By: Upala KBR, Mid-Day
Monday, September 18, 2006
It's been a years since actor Raj Zutshi divorced his wife Nuzhat Khan, but few knew of the separation, until now. Nuzhat is the late Nasir Hussain's daughter, and director Mansoor Khan's sister.
Zutshi doesn't want to disclose the details about the break-up, but says that he parted on amicable terms from his wife.
"Even though we have parted ways, we still remain good friends. The divorce happened a year ago, but we are still very much in touch with each other," he maintains.
According to sources, one of the main reasons for the separation was that both partners needed space to grow.
How did they manage to keep the separation a secret for so long? Says Zutshi, "Nuzhat and I are intensely private people, and doesn't like talking about our personal lives. We hadn't spoken about it when we got married, and didn't feel the need to discuss our divorce in public either. If I am doing so today, it is only to clear certain misconceptions."
Nuzhat and Raj were married for more than 16 years, but have no children together. But he is very close to his 23-year-old stepson, Imraan, from Nuzhat's first marriage. And Zutshi is excited that Aamir Khan, Imraan's uncle, will soon launch him in his home production, Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na. The film will mark the directorial debut of writer Abbas Tyrewala.
Magical work front
Though Zutshi is trying to put his life back on track on the personal front, professionally his career is going great guns.
After Sanjay Gupta's Zinda and Abbas-Mastan's 36 China Town, he has more than 15 films on hand. Raj sounds upbeat when he says, "Since the year 2000, life has become magical for me professionally. Lagaan changed everything. It's like I struck gold, but it also changed me as a person. It wasn't easy to go around looking for work with a smile on my face."
One regret he has is that he couldn't do one of Naseeruddin Shah's play. "Naseersaab is my guru, and today he's very angry with me. He trained me in theatre and wants me to do a play with him. I want to but there's no time. Acting in theatre requires a certain kind of commitment. There's a very deep bond of love and respect that I have of him."
Does he harbour any bitterness about the fact that he couldn't make it as a hero in Bollywood? Zutshi says, "Not at all, but I definitely feel that my potential hasn't been realised. If I were bitter, life would be hell. Aamir (Khan) and I started out together in Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, but we've grown differently as actors.
People still tell me 'Aamir kahan pahuch gaya', but that doesn't make me feel sad. It's just that our journeys have been different as actors. I don't feel inferior to him or any of the younger lot of actors today."
At some point, Zutshi wants to direct a film. "It will be soon," he says, adding, "It will be a film written by me. It will be about relationships, since that's my interest," he says.
Even though he has separated from Nuzhat, he continues to share a close relationship with her family (brother Mansoor, cousin Aamir and his nephews and nieces).
"I will always remain an integral part of their family, as they will always remain a part of mine. I love the kids and they all keep in touch with me. I will always remain their favorite mama or chacha."
Nuzhat is a qualified clinical psychologist and practices from her office in Bandra.
Zutshi's current line up of films
Parzania, Divorce, Gandhi, My Father, Papa...Let's Go, Doosra, Mukhbir, Frozen, Apna Sapna Money Money, Speed, Baat Pakki, Geet, Vikram's Bhatt's next, Abbas-Mastan's next, Anuraag Basu's next, Sanjay Khanna's next and Sangeeth Sivan's next.