Today, while Sussanne has separated from her husband and has filed for divorce, she continues to consider Mehr, Arjun and their two daughters family, and very much hangs out with them many a times, be it at their house or going out for dinners or friends’ parties together. After it became known that Sussanne and Hrithik had separated, there was a lot written about in the media about the relationship of Sussanne and Arjun, making many convenient assumptions.
While Sussanne and Mehr maintained an elegant silence so far, they now choose to set the record straight for the sake of their children. Before we bring you this conversation with the two ladies, may I also place on record that after meeting Hrithik and Sussanne independently, I can only say one thing, that both are beautiful people who are still sensitive to each other, still share a wonderful bond and above all, are responsible and caring parents who understand their responsibilities.
Mehr, how did you feel when there were stories linking your husband to one of your best friends, Sussanne? About four months before the first article came out, Sussanne and me had started hearing stories. A year even before that, I have friends in South Mumbai who were linking Hrithik and me up. As soon as I came to know about that, I told Sussanne about it. That is how open our friendship has been. When we saw the first article in August 2013, we thought that it will pass on. In March 2014, Arjun and I were celebrating our anniversary. What was reported was how Arjun had forgotten Mehr and how Sussanne and Arjun are partying and how Mehr came with Chunky and Bhavna and then left with another friend. Sussanne and Hrithik had formally separated by this time. The reality was that I was not just there at the party, but this party was thrown by Arjun and me for our anniversary. Then Sussanne filed for divorce. Arjun and I went for a friend’s birthday party, where Sussanne also met us. While leaving, Sussanne and I were there in the same car whereas Arjun went in another car. The media reported how Arjun and Sussanne were celebrating, implying that they were celebrating their divorce which was completely untrue. In reality, I was in the same car as Sussanne, which they had conveniently cut off.
Sussanne: My relationship with Hrithik will always be what it is. We have a good bond as parents first and that is our priority. And we will always remain close. Mehr and Arjun are like family to me and we have this beautiful relationship and are so close. They have been with me through thick and thin and it hurts me that every time I have a dinner or an outing with them, it is made out to be an ugly story, and it’s concocted and changed around to suit some nasty person to make us look like undignified, irresponsible and horrible people. We kept saying to ourselves, we know what we are, let it go, but it kept going on and on and on. Then the fabricated stories alleging that I was a gold- digger, asking for Rs 400 crore alimony came out and we thought it’s not the right time to talk. Then we went to our friend Gattu’s (AbhishekKapoor’s) birthday that was a casual party in his office. Again there was a made-up story claiming how Mehr left the party alone crying.
Mehr: We were at Gattu’s birthday party when it was raining and in the middle of the party, I got my periods. When we had come in, there was no media. I went down and was looking down calling for my driver, and saw that by this time, the entire press was there. I was already feeling really embarrassed about my situation. Seeing the media, I called Arjun, telling him that I am sure media will make up a story seeing me going alone. Till date, Arjun and I have never ever entered or left a party separately. I had planned to go home, settle myself and come back. As expected, the story was concocted to suit the writer the next day.
Sussanne: It’s just so irresponsible press. As two adults and two responsible mothers, and anybody can vouch for the mothers we are, what makes us angry is how irresponsible press can get away with attacking two people, who have no agenda whatsoever but to lead a proper dignified life. That is why we decided to not get bullied any more and talk about it.
How did you become friends? Mehr: We have always been thick friends for years. We became friends in 2004 when Arjun was on a world tour with Hrithik. Both Sussanne and me were travelling with them. Sussanne and me became friends. We also had a lot of common friends. Once it was known that Sussanne was leaving Hrithik, media was finding scapegoats. It was Arjun’s decision that come what may, we will not speak. He maintained that, ‘It’s our friends who have taken that decision and we will just take a step back on this.’
Sussanne: In a relationship like you very well know what a husband and wife have, and till today if I have the bond that I have with Hrithik, why does the world want to make a scapegoat out of my people, trying to demean me and her trying to make us look like disgraceful people. There is a section of people who are enjoying this and discussing why do they always hang out together, why do they stick together. I think the reason we both decided that no we cannot let this go on is because of our children. They are old now, her daughter is 12 and in Class VII, my son is also in Class III. You don’t want their friends and their mothers to start thinking rubbish about you. My agenda and her agenda has always been kids first.
Mehr: When the first article came out, Arjun and I read it in the morning and sat down both the kids. We know how school is and how they will talk about a conversation in school. We told them that you are going to school today. Hridhaan and Hrehaan are even smaller than you. You have to look after them that much more in school. They all go to the same school. They see that Sussanne and we are always together, so they did not have a problem understanding.
Sussanne: We have to be hawks to protect them to set the record straight with dignity and decided that we need to talk about this. We need to make people understand that you cannot bully people and cannot demean people’s character and get away with it. We have young children and I am a working mother and don’t want people I work with to think of me in a bad light. Mehr has a sweet family, who has been so supportive of our friendship, despite so much being written about us. Is there an agenda? Why are we being victimised?
Could the reason be that Mehr and Arjun are not friends with Hrithik anymore? Mehr: Hrithik is a complete workaholic. He will work so hard on one movie that his whole year has gone. But we have gone to Bali, America and London and taken many family holidays together. I may not speak to a friend for 10 years, but he or she can call me any time of the day and I don’t have to prove myself to any of my friends. Sussanne is my sister and knows more about me than Arjun or my mom knows. We are very close. She is my closest friend from the industry. Sussanne and me have even done holidays together without our husbands and children.
Sussanne: We have shared a lot of good times. I too have my two old friends from school, but Mehr is one of my closest friends.
Did it stress you both? Sussanne: I was very upset. They have been my support system, taking all that flak for me and I felt it was just not correct. I was on Twitter, but it has a dirty energy with faceless cowards, who sit behind the computer and decide what they want to say. If you want to say what you think, come on Facebook and say what you have to. I feel it is 2014, we are modern mothers and we are not going to sit back and let people bully us, be it some section of the press or some crazy obsessive fans, who think that I have done something wrong. We will not allow people to put us down.
Mehr: My husband has been in this industry for 11 years and nothing like this has ever been written about him and then these stories about your husband and your best friend come out. This is the only time that someone has spoken against him, but we took this call that for the sake of Hrithik and Sussanne, we will step back. But now, we are seemingly being made out to be the couple that are selfish and insensitive to our friends and their families. It hurts to now be even called a love triangle.
I enter a room and can feel the ‘poor Mehr’ kind of energy. I am not trying to say that I am a good soul or anything, but I can’t take all this after being a responsible daughter myself. I am going to be 46 this year. I want to go out to a party and give out good energy. I want to see the smile back on the face of my parents. My kids see Sussanne all the time in the house and know that there is no truth in all of this. But I want my parents and their friends to feel fine with us. My parents are simple people living their own lives in this Parsi colony in Dadar and they love Sussanne. But my dad tells me, ‘Mehr, this is just not ending.’ Any parent would feel sad if their kid is being talked about like this in the press.
Sussanne: What makes us give out that energy? Just that we are happy-go-lucky people, who are not manipulative. Are we being victimised just because we are clean-hearted people? People writing about us need to ask their own conscience if they are doing the right thing by attacking us. I have learnt it the hard way who are my friends and who are not. People in the industry are very cliquish and can decide how it all translates into gossip. Whatever it is, Hrithik and I have decided that we are responsible parents and are together in that and no matter what, nobody can attack us in that. We will always be strong.
We will not agree with ugly thoughts. It is obvious that some people are trying to demean me, Arjun and Mehr, making us look like disgraceful people and I know more than anybody else that it is not Hrithik. They don’t even spare him. We have reached a point that we just want to clear the air. Mehr’s family and my family have been a rock to me and it affects me when they get affected. I don’t want that. We are responsible people and it’s important for us to set the record straight. We will not be bullied anymore. They have attacked Arjun and Mehr’s night club, said that I could be closing Charcoal, that I am even having an affair with a businessman in Dubai. How many things will they say to make us look bad? What should we do? Should we just get scared of media? It’s time we clarified and we chose Bombay Times to say what we have to, as we know that it’s a responsible publication.