The board outside the venue said "Cinema Pooja" but that was fooling nobody. Hotel PGS Vedanta on Friday was the place where so much of the rumour mill's ceaseless grinding had come to culmination.
Malayalam stars Dileep and Kavya Madhavan got married on Friday in a small ceremony at the hotel, putting an end to long standing rumours about a romance between them. Many of the guests who attended said that they had been informed only on Thursday and some only on Friday morning.
Elegantly clad in a green blouse and Kerala saree, Kavya Madhavan looked every bit the beautiful bride who lit up the simple ceremony which was conducted without any fanfare.
Kavya Madhavan (32) and Dileep (48) were a beloved on screen couple, like Sheela and Prem Nazir. Their crackling chemistry in the 21 films in which they paired together was much sought after by the industry and audiences.
Producer Ranjith, Mammootty, Jayaram, Narain and his wife Manju, Joshi, director Siddique, actors Jo Mol, Meera Jasmine and Chippy, Janardhanan, Kukku Parameshwaran, yesteryear actor Menaka and her family were among those who attended the wedding which was limited to about 250 guests.
Dileep said that he had his daughter's "blessings" for the wedding. "Everyone's blessing is needed. We're marrying with blessings of both the families," Dileep told the media.
â€śI am getting married today. When I felt I wanted to get married, my family, including my daughter came to this decision. Kavya, my friend, is someone whose name has been linked with mine in several gossips and I felt it was not appropriate for me to marry anybody else,â€ť he said.
He also appealed that there should be no controversies over his wedding.
The actor had made it clear many times before that he would not marry again without his daughterâ€™s consent.
Meenakshi, Dileep and Manju Warrier's daughter told the media that she was happy with the marriage.
â€śI am very happy for them. Dileep and Kavya are like my family. I donâ€™t want to speak about when this was decided,â€ť said Meera Jasmine.
Actor Chippy said, "They are happy. And what is happening was good. I was told about the wedding just a day before. I'm happy for them."
Actor Menaka said, "I did not know until reached here that it was Dileep's marriage. Husband Suresh Kumar told me to come to Kochi fora temple visit. I'm happy for it. Let them live happily."
Many guests who attended the wedding said that the marriage had become inevitable for the two to get on with their lives. "Gossip had taken over their lives. It was affecting Kavya more than Dileep," said producer Ranjith.
Dileep was previously married to Manju Warrier, a leading heroine in her time who recently made a comeback to films after their divorce in January 2015. The two of them had got married after a whirlwind romance in 1998.
Kavya was briefly married to Nischal Chandra, a businessman in Gulf in 2009.
Both couples eventually got divorced, amidst rumours that Dileep and Kavya's relationship had caused the seperation.
Though their 'wedding' was always part of the rumour mills, both actors had consistently denied that there was anything going on between them. Kavya had said in an interview, "Dileep is not just a co-star but my close friend. Our chemistry works out well." She denied being in a relationship though.
In August 2016, Dileep had told The Indian Express that "only time will tell" regarding the rumours. He had also put up an angry post on Facebook stating that he was aware that people were deliberately propagating negative news about him. The actor was especially outraged because certain sections of the media had dragged his daughter's name into the speculation. Dileep had said, "My life is an open book. In case I decide to marry anyone, that will be done only after informing the public about it. This is for all the people who are eager to get me married."
After Dileep and Kavya gave an interview to â€śVanithaâ€ť magazine recently, the speculations about their relationship gained momentum once again. Sources say that Dileep's daughter had been against his marriage to Kavya Madhavan and that she'd relented recently.
Just before the wedding, Dileep did a Facebook live.