The story began with a simple ‘hi’ on Facebook messenger. One of the most popular actresses of Bangladesh, Mithila got the message from prominent Tollywood filmmaker Srijit Mukherjee. Just after three weeks Srijit came to Dhaka to see his Facebook friend and future wife Rafiath Rashid Mithila. It was back in January 2019.
Mithila took her friend Ireen to receive Srijit at the airport that day. She was feeling a bit awkward to meet a little-known Facebook friend in person. In their first meeting Srijit asked Ireen, “Are you free in December? Mithila and I are going to get married then.” The two friends were surprised to hear that proposition. Srijit himself was not much sure of what he was saying then. But it came true as the couple got married on 6 December 2019.
The newly-wed couple came to Prothom Alo office on 7 February, exactly after two months of their wedding, to talk about their love and life. Mithila told the above story when asked about what would be the opening scene of the film, if any, made on their love.
‘Hi’ on Facebook messenger
As Srijit said, Mithila first caught his eyes when he saw her profile in the Facebook recommendation lists ‘People You May Know’. “I hit the friend request button finally,” Srijit said.
Srijit is now 42. The four time national award winning filmmaker admitted that it is his age that made him get married soon after he was in love.
“Every man becomes mature enough to know his mind and what is right for him. The moment I met Mithila I knew she was the one. So I fixed the wedding date for December. Why wait? I am old enough!” Srijit said with a smile.
Mithila did not seem to agree with him about his age, though. To Mithila, Srijit has the similar innocence of her seven-year-old daughter Ayra.
Let the people talk behind
Mithila and Srijit have seen a lot. The couple, especially Mithila, had to go through a lot of character assassination before their marriage. There were hundreds of comments on her private life on the social media.
The actress said, she encountered questions like ‘why does a single mother need to get married again’, ‘if she does, why marry a foreigner’ and what not. How was life at the time? Srijit answered to this question.
“I told Mithila, we should consider our social media profile as our living room. We clean the room every day, wipe and dust every time it gets dirty. I told her not to pay attention to what people say, especially those who do not have any place in her life,” the filmmaker said.
Mithila said otherwise.
“I got affected. I felt pity for the people who hurled abuses at me. I used to surf their profiles and checked out the pictures of their family and friends. I felt bad for those as such indecent people were their friends or families,” she said.
Ayra calls Srijit ‘Bu’
Ayra, Mithila’s daughter from her first marriage, calls Srijit ‘Bu’. They have a relationship like the comic characters ‘Tom and Jerry’. They fight and patch up themselves.
“Bu stands for Abbu (father),” Srijit clarified.
One of the most extraordinary stories about Ayra for Srijit is, he never woke up hearing the songs of his own films before he heard Ayra humming the song ‘Je kota din’ from his latest movie ‘Dwitiyo Purush’.
Srijit gave the credit for Ayra’s fantastic upbringing to Mithila and her father singer and music composer Tahsan Khan.
“They have been fantastic parents to Ayra that made her so understanding well-behaved. I was brought up in a broken family, and I know how a child can be affected because of his/her parents’ separation.”
*This piece, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Farjana Liakat