Best Marathi star Sonalee Kulkarni during her surprise Dubai wedding during the COVID-19 pandemic

Love in times of coronavirus can be tricky, but Maharashtrian actress Sonalee Kulkarni – who had a spontaneous marriage at a temple in Bur Dubai on May 18 – celebrated her bond amid a raging pandemic. Kulkarni and her UAE-based partner Kunal Benodekar planned a decadent wedding in June in a castle on a cliff in the UK with a robust wedding list and a flashy caterer, but their best plans had to be scrapped if countries had airspace begins to seal to stop the spread of the virus. What did they do then? Opt for a tranquil wedding with even fewer guests at their fingertips. So a day before her marriage registration in the United Arab Emirates, the Apsara Aali star snapped at Meena Bazaar and plucked a blue sysari from the popular store Kalyan Silks and picked up a simple black bead mangalsutra. [chain] of PNG jewelers. Her blouse – not the perfect match – was finished, as it would take time to go to a partner to adjust it, a luxury she could not afford. ‘I remember buying and pinning jasmine flowers just outside the temple just before we ended our marriage. It was such a simple ceremony with sindoor [vermillion] a warm meal [floral garland], ”Kulkarni said in an exclusive interview with Gulf News’ pony newspaper !. “Because of Bollywood, we have become very picky about keeping this big fat Indian wedding in our lives,” she added.

Pandemic wedding

Bollywood romantic musicals have revealed this idea that a wonderful wedding of a young woman is the ultimate childhood dream or fantasy. Designer trousseau on degrees seems to be the joint credo. But Kulkarni does not buy it. ‘But why do we not cultivate a generation that will take care of the marriage and not just the wedding? I wanted to make it public that marriages can be done this way too. In small towns, they spent their entire lives saving and earning money just to make a stupid wedding look great. “Having a big wedding today should not be anyone’s only priority,” Kulkarni said. This actress, who is one of the leading actresses in the Marathi cinema, with among others ‘Hirkani’ and ‘Poster Girl’, has her priorities straight. Their big day was without splendor, but it was very important for mutual love and worship. Her husband – a second-generation immigrant in the UK and now working in top management at a financial firm in Dubai – was not even aware that Kulkarni was an award-winning actress. Benodekar was blissfully unaware of her star status in Maharashtra, but sparks flew immediately when they met. [When she told him that she was fondly called ‘Apsara Aali’ (Angel) for her dancing skills, he asked: ‘Apsara Aali as in Mohammad Ali, the boxer’?]. ‘This is how little he knew about Marathi theater! We’ve been together for three years. I got engaged in Dubai last year just before the pandemic took place. At the time we thought both of our families could come together in the UK in June this year and hold this ceremony with family, parents and proper rituals … I do not feel like a traditional bride yet, but I am really happy, ” Kulkarni said. On the day of our interview, the 33-year-old actress was wearing a blue cotton maxi dress and her posh mangal sutra. [a beaded chain that signifies the marital status of Hindu women] was put in the halter neck. Although she was not disappointed with the marriage without any fraudulent marriage, she claims that she was just like any bride from pre-pandemic hoping to have a lavish celebration. ‘We even booked the castle a year and a half ago, and all our family and friends were planning to travel to the UK for this dreamy summer destination wedding. His parents in the UK even tasted for a menu … But then the second wave hit the UK and travel bans followed. “Some say why it will not be moved to September 2022, but we felt that it waited too long,” Kulkarni said. The actress flew to Dubai for a short time with her then boyfriend to clear up his apartment in Dubai Marina, but she decided to stay back. ‘The only people who were together were us, while our family and friends were not in the same country. So it made a lot of sense to register and celebrate our marriage in Dubai … I had the choice to be upset or sad about it, but I chose to be together. ”

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Apparently their parents had to provide a NOC (No Evidence of Objection) to get married in Dubai. ‘When I got an appointment for our wedding registration on Friday, Kunal’s response was,’ were we not supposed to go for breakfast at 10:30 and dinner? ‘… I just cracked down because he was on a speaker and my friends were all on the call. “We all wondered if he got the seriousness of this call … we were getting married,” Kulkarni said with a laugh. For those wondering, her husband canceled breakfast and dinner on his wedding day. “He can be so funny! And I remember telling him that we were going to celebrate our anniversary on this day for the rest of our lives. Even though we do rituals with our families, this day will be the most important day in our lives. ‘ Her Dubai-based friends Rahul and Deepali Tulpule, along with her foster parents, Sachin Joshi and his wife, were her biggest support systems during her hurried wedding in Dubai. She chose a blue silk sari because Kulkarni wanted to wear the traditional yellow, green or red color saris for her upcoming ritual ceremony with family and friends, once the pandemic is under control. The couple met when she was filming in London. Although he was not familiar with her active career, her in-laws protected her films. In Kulkarni’s eyes, his ignorance was blissful. ‘People can get really fascinated or star-struck when they meet someone from the acting industry. They think it’s a fantasy … Honestly, I never wanted to marry someone who belonged to the world of acting. “I did not want to share my life with someone who does not know a world outside of movies,” said Kulkarni. Her husband is a sincere financial wizard who is far away from her world of musicals and grim dramas. “I knew I would never marry someone who always wanted to look young all the time or was worried about how many fans he had on social media … He is completely removed from our world and is actually a stark contrast to me. ‘ The adage: ‘opposites attract’ fits well with this newlywed couple. With a pandemic raging worldwide, it’s time to adapt to new realities, Kulkarni believes. ‘We do not know how long this pandemic will last … Why do we not make smart decisions? Do not think of weddings as your most important event in your life. If you really love each other, just get married without all that … I’m been married many times on screen or played a bride, but it was not like any experience. Getting really married felt incredible, ”said Kulkarni. The homemade star also plans to continue to bolster her career and her production. In June, she will return to India to film her Hindi language series with Amazon Prime Video and also start working on her own production, a Marathi magazine. ‘Theater is so valuable to me. It’s been 13 years in this field and everyone has been really kind and loving to me. Just before the pandemic took place, I had the most successful film of my career … So nothing will change on the work front … Kunal and I know how to balance our lives exactly. ”

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Sonalee Kulkarni, who has an Indian army background, is a homemade star. She is known as the ‘Apsara Aali’, a label she earned for her excellent dance skills. But being a pigeon hole is her biggest fear. ‘There comes a stage in your career when you are trapped in a certain image. People saw me as this glamorous dancer … I wanted everyone to see me outside of my appearance. I worked very hard for it … I want everyone to talk about my actions rather than my appearance. I want to create my own opportunities, otherwise you will be in a certain image all your life, ”said Kulkarni.