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Donít love a Married Man

Mumtaz Warns Women

There is no greater regret in life than to recall in hurt, the times when one was happy. And this can be especially painful for a woman at 50.

Since life has come full circle, Mumtaz shares with CB readers, all that it has taught her.

Why isnít there a snow woman? Why is there only a snowman? Very simply put, we women are the ones who build statues of snow and then weep to see them melt.

Man is supposed to be strong, firm, stable and correct. Yet heís the one who weakens, lies and lets down. Perhaps Iím writing from a womanís point of view, but 90% of men who read this would also agree with the fact that women are certainly not the weaker sex. Whosoever said so, should listen to Mumtaz, a woman they lusted after, from '60s to-date.

"Men are sissies", she says emphatically. "I've lost so many close male friends, because their wives feel threatened by me. And the moment they object, these men start withdrawing their friendship. Arre baba, first find out whether I'm interested in their husbands. Whether I'm free and willing to leave my own husband or whether I'm still 16! Even when I was an actress, the hero's wife would feel shaky if he were working with me. I guess it's the lack of confidence. Somehow I was never very close to any woman in the film industry. I always got on better with men. Even if I'm sitting at a party with 10 women, somehow I land up being alone, surrounded by men. I don't know how this happens!"

"I canít go out of my way to shake up these wives and tell them, ĎLook, your husband is just a friend so stop feeling insecureí. The fact is that when Iím in town, none of these wives invite me over. I donít know if they still feel jealous. I fell sad because Iíve lost so many male friends in the process. Here, people donít believe that a woman can also be close to a man without being involved with him."

"I donít know why people donít allow me to have friends. They just break up my friendships. Itís either the wife who is jealous and cannot tolerate it, or itís the people around who fill her ears."

It does hurt her, when, after working for so many years with a man, she cannot meet him in later years only because he is married.

"Iíve been close to so many people in life, they said so many nice things. But when I saw the other side of the person, I realised that heís not at all what he portrayed himself as. Sab upar ki baatein hain. Like last year, I met Rekha at an award function and she said, ĎHi! Milte hain,í And that was over. Why do people say things they donít mean?"

Doe she read whatís going on in the industry?

"I live in Mayfair and we donít get film magazines there. But I do know of certain relationships, like Sunny-DimpleÖ Kitna purana kissa hai. Woh to har jayegi. Men always go back to their wives. The wife will always be the priority, even after 20 years. Dimple should start thinking about her future. When you love a married man, you are bound to be hurt. Itís a stupid thing to do, so then you have to bear the pain later on."

"As I always say, men can only give you pain. They are liarsóa big bunch of liars! They only say, ĎI love youí when it suits them. And when it doesnít, they will nicely blame it on you, saying you are wrong and they will walk out of your life. Thatís my lifeís experience. If a woman wants to knowingly make the mistake of getting involved with a married man, then she must be prepared to face the hurt later on. Iíll never get involved with anybody in my life till I die. Itís not worth the pain."

Can anyone ever heal those wounds and ease that pain?

"Time heals the worst of wounds, as long as people around you donít come and dig it up again ad again. You should never allow that. Once it Ďs over, itís over!"

Can a woman be that strong? Can you be that strong, Mumtaz?

"I have to be strong, otherwise the man I love the most in my life, my husbandÖ"

As I sat admiring the woman who had half the countryís men around her little finger, tears welled in her eyes.

She wiped her tears as they dropped and continued bravely, "You have to be strong, otherwise people will walk over you. If you let him, even your husband will use you as a doormat. I will never allow any man to use me that way. Never, till I die! And until today, nobody has even done that! If I donít get on, I just walk out. Within the four walls, I still sit alone and cry but I will never allow anyone to walk over me."

"I think these young girls are happier today because they are not as emotional as our generation. Too much love and emotion doesnít work these days. Aaj kal toh Sunday ko love hua and by Wednesday, itís another man!"

Does she believe in love?

"After all that Iíve been through, I still believe in love. Though I donít believe in men! When in love, I love genuinely. You think I canít get a new man every day? You should see how these guys are ready to get me the moon. What matters is, how genuine their love and affection is."

"Sooner or later, these men, ugly or handsome, start showing their true colours. That way, I give all credit to Boney Kapoor. Though I do feel sorry for his wife, at least Boney has the guts to stand by the woman he loved and married Sridevi. Otherwise, most men are cowards, no guts. Very few men can love a woman and honour her. Thatís why a woman should never love a married man. Itís a mistake."

Didnít she ever, in her heyday, get involved with her married heroes?

"I was linked with Jeetu and Shammi when both were unmarried. But then I was linked with half the industry and most of it was rubbish."

And if she were to seriously get involved with a married man today?

"You are talking of an involvement? Here, if I so much as get friendly with a man, the wife feels jealous, insecure and threatened. So I think if a man wants to get close to me the next time, I will say, ĎAchchha? First, get your wifeís permissioní. Indian men have no guts. If he really is a man, he should tell his wife and still love you. Thatís genuine love or friendship. Why, even if Iím friendly with a man, Iíd make it clear that I love my husband and Iíll never leave Mayur for another man."

Then why should she grudge a man who wouldnít leave his wife for her? I argued.

"First of all, my husband has no right to object if I go out with another man because heís been with another woman for the last 11 years. So he should be graceful and accept it, like I have accepted it. Secondly, if I were friendly with a man, Iíd respect him he told his wife and didnít play games behind her back. Much as I was hurt, I do respect Mayur for being honest with both his girlfriend and me. He may be with her but he loves me and will never leave me. And if I love another man, I wonít leave my husband either."

"What Iíd demand from my man, is honesty and guts. If he can tell a woman, ĎIíll never leave my wife and I love you, you want to stick to me or go to hellí, then he should also have guts to tell his wife and love the other woman in spite of this. It takes a lot of character in a man to be able to do that. If he is with the other woman without telling his wife, then heís a dishonest man and is just using the other woman because it suits him to. Most times, the wife gets to know, packs her bags and then he runs back to her. What about the love he proclaimed to have for the girlfriend? Sab jhooth hai! Thatís why I say, men are big liars! I feel the only man who ever loved me and still does, is Mayur. Heís honest about everything. I have faith in God, one day heíll come back to me."

What is her advice to young actresses of today?

"Please, please donít love a married man. If he cannot be with you in spite of his wife knowing, then stay away because he is downright dishonest. Even if he says heíll get the stars in your lap, he is lying. Ask him, ĎYou love me? Then tell your wifeí. Till then, all he says is rubbish. Heís a coward. Thatís when doodh ka doodh, pani ka pani ho jaata hai. It proves whoís the ditcher and whoís the liar. Is that not enough to know the character of the man youíve given yourself to? Let him tell his wife, heíll speak to you for just six months and then run away after that. Because even those six months suited him!"

As I stared at the woman who sounded so bitter, she smiledÖ

"Zindagi aur waqt bahut kuchh sikha deta hai. By reading books, you donít learn. By living life, you do. Iím not at all educated but life has taught me that men are not the answer to all your prayers. Iíve been hurt so many times in my life, that I have no more room in my heart because it is overflowing with pain."

As the tears welled up again, I remembered two linesÖ

ĎMohabbat mein dil pe guzren hain aise bhi haalat aksar,
Ki khud lena pada hai apne dil se badla aksar.
í

And for this one woman has had to fight her heart, for all of her 50 years.

The woman called MUMTAZ.

Pammi Somal in Cine Blitz, February 16-28, 1998.

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