Vol. 5 Num 946 Fri. January 26, 2007  

Heart to heart with Kanak and Mainul

Kanak Chapa met Mainul Islam Khan at a tender age when she had gone to audition for the Notun Kuri programme. He was an assistant music director for the junior section and was just 18. In the course of a trip down memory lane, the happily married couple shares their story with The Daily Star

Was it innocent puppy love at first sight?
Oh no!! She was too young even for puppy love. However, I must admit I was spellbound with her voice from day one and chose her among hundreds to do the solo performance.
Kanak: I didn't even know what love was at that point.
So were you in touch with each other regularly?
After the programme I didn't see her for several years. I had gone abroad and on my return I saw her one day with her parents at Malibagh. I had last seen her in a frock and now she was wearing a salwar kameez. However, I did notice she was absent from the Notun Kuri scene and asked why. I came to know about the prevalent favouritism and partiality. Recalling Kanak's vocal skills and talent, I took it as a challenge to get her the position she deserved.
Kanak: My parents trusted him completely. He used to come to our house regularly. There was a lot of gossip as we lived in conservative times. However, my parents liked him, so they thought of getting us married.
Mainul: Many people thought we were too young. Kanak had just passed her SSC exams. We were little known and financially strained. But we still went for it. It was a struggle no doubt, both financially and socially. We were criticised from all quarters, including friends and the media. But we have been married for 23 years now, are well established and have a college going son and a lovely daughter. We could have not been happier.
What is so special about him/her?
Mainul: The list is endless. She has the most amazing voice, is a talented writer, a great designer and does excellent sewing. Also she is an expert make up artist, the world's best cook, a great homemaker, an excellent mother and more. Plus there is this simplicity and vulnerability about her.
Kanak: Many people have criticised Mainul because he is outspoken. But I turned a deaf ear and stuck with my husband. What I love most about him is that he is completely unaware of his own goodness. Plus he is extremely dependable.
What about the put offs?
Mainul: There is almost nothing that puts me off about her. But if you insist, the only thing I can say is that she sleeps late, reading tons of magazines and wakes up even later. As she is a great make up artist, often we have throngs of women lining up to her for make overs. This does get on my nerves at times.
Kanak: As much as I love his dependability, at times he makes me feel non-existent. All the major decisions in this house are made by him, I feel like an invisible breeze at times.
In this relationship who has sacrificed more?
Kanak: On a professional level no doubt it's Mainul. He spent a significant amount of time pushing my career when he could have focused on his solo career. He never let me travel alone. The sacrifice is unimaginable.

But on a personal level I have had to sacrifice a lot as well. In a relationship in which two people are supposed to meet half way, I have always met him the complete way. He takes me for granted.
Mainul: Many say I have sacrificed my career for Kanak. Maybe I have but I wouldn't call it a sacrifice. Her father had given her hand to me and said "I have raised her to this point, please take her further" and I had promised I would. I wanted to establish her, I took it as a challenge and I have accomplished it. If I was not there at every step, Kanak Chapa might not have been today's "Kanak Chapa".
Everything said and done how would you define each other?
Mainul: She is simple at heart and never questions my decisions.

Kanak: He is like a piece of puzzle that I can never solve.
What is in stock for you both?
Mainul: On a professional level Kanak is bringing out her 24th album featuring popular songs of yesteryears titled Padma pata. It will be released on Valentine's Day under the Gungcheel production house and I am the music director. On the same day Trishita (of Closeup 1 fame) is bringing out a new album with original songs. Once again it is under the Gungcheel banner and I've worked as the music director and composer.
Kanak: On a personal level we have never been an overly ambitious couple. We have taken each step as it has come. And that's why we are happy today.