From falling in love to corruption, murder and jail, Mukerjeas’ love story has now reached its climax with Indrani seeking a divorce from husband Peter. And not just divorce, she will be robbing half of Peter’s property as alimony. Alimony is pre-feminism era concept where unemployed and estranged women are dependent on their ex-husbands for money and livelihood. Like dowry, this evil is still prevalent today. Wonder when will feminists turn their equality-filled gaze to this misogyny and end it: women are capable of earning their own livelihood, they don’t need men’s crumbs.
When Peter met Indrani in 2002, he was the first citizen of Indian media being the STAR India CEO. He was a 48-year old mogul and she was 16 years younger, spirited and ambitious woman. So, what happens when power and wealth meets beauty and youth, opportunistic love happens – but let’s just call it love for the sake of all those cutesy pictures of them holding each other that will put even Bipasha and her arm-candy husband to shame, and for the sake of the Bollywood-style twists and turns this story takes in years to come.
Let’s go back into the histories of this cupid-struck couple (sneer) – imagine everything in black-and-white for the feel of it. Indrani, born a Bora, first ran away with a Das, brought him to her parental house after marriage (some say it was before marriage), gave birth to two kids – Sheena and Mikhail, ditched the unemployed husband and left to Kolkata as Indrani Das. There, she turned into a partyphile, met influential men, who were in turn smitten by her Assamese exoticism. Eventually, she set up an HR firm, married for the second time, became a Khanna, but ditched him. Peter, meanwhile, had a privileged life, luminous career, two kids from his wife whom he married in 1975 – just three years after Indrani was born. He divorced her in 1994.
You know how they say that every event in our lives is preparing us for the ultimate love of our lives. See, these two were doing the same thing – they were climbing the ladder of corporate success (by hook or by crook) to meet on the 38th floor of the 36-floor building.
Then they met, fell in love and married each other that very year – well, you know how it is – you must open the door when the right opportunity knocks. Wait, was it supposed to be love? What the hell, it was a match made in heaven of convenience.
But all hell broke loose when Indrani opened the Pandora’s box. Though in her case, it was her children from the first marriage that emerged out of the box. She introduced her children from her first marriage as her siblings. Now, that’s the sign of a woman with a mission. The step-parents expected their kids to cosy up to each other, but Sheena and Peter’s son from the first wife did a little more than cosying up -they fell in love. So, basically incestuous relationships were a thing in India much before it was made popular by ‘Game of Thrones’. But, Indrani was dead against this relationship. So to maintain her conviction, she made sure her daughter was dead with the help of her second husband. “Things I do for love,” the Khanna husband must’ve told himself when he murdered Sheena in 2012. She apparently took her ’50 Women to Watch’ title pretty seriously.
In the meanwhile, the couple set up INX Media, made shady transactions, had their dirty dance with corruption and bedded politicians (read senior Congress leader P Chidambaram and son Karti Chidambaram among others).
Everything was going well for the couple – she was heading a media company like she wanted to, and he was, I believe, getting whatever he hoped for when he married someone 16 years junior. But what will be the role of God if everything goes as we humans plan? So, in August 2015, Mumbai cops picked up a driver for possessing a gun illegally. They were yawning all through the questioning round with the man until he blurted out that he helped Mukerjeas murder a young girl. Media went crazy as if they ever needed a reason to go retard.
The details that plopped in the days to follow had everyone glued to the news channels, where people were getting more masala than from their mind-numbing, woman-turning-into-a-fly logic serials. The very first revelation that made spice-addicts grab pop-corn was that Sheena wasn’t Indrani’s sister, but her daughter. But the fact that shocked like nothing else was when Indrani was spotted with her hair so white that they popped my dadi’s chowkadi (dentures) out.
Indrani and Peter have now – while still in jail – decided to part their ways amicably because he doesn’t have the power he had and she doesn’t possess the beauty she had 16 years ago. If anything, she will be rewarded with half his property for being power-hungry, while he will lose the same value for mistaking the power-fuelled ego and lust for love.
Things men and women do for love…of power!