In one of the most high-profile cases of separation in the southern film industry in recent times, film producer and director Priyadarshan and former Malayalam actor and his wife Lissy filed for a divorce by mutual consent earlier this year.
Rumours of the couple headed to splitsville had been doing the rounds for a few years, and in 2014 Lissy had put it to rest by confirming their separation after 24 years of marriage.
And now Priyadarshan, in what is said to be his first interview post his divorce, has opened up to Grihalakshmi about his life, movies and his highly-speculated split with Lissy.
The filmmaker, who has been in the industry for over three decades and has made around 90 movies, said that it was only after the divorce that he realised the value of life and relationships.
A hardcore car enthusiast, he owned several cars at one point in his life. "During those times of depression (after the divorce), I sold my cars one by one after realising that family is more important than luxury," he told the magazine.
Talking about Lissy, the "Kalapani" director said that she is the reason of his success and that she had always been patient with him. "She is the best mother in the world. She brought up our children in a very simple manner and instilled in them the values of life and money," he said.
Reason for divorce
It was "ego" that divided the couple, according to Priyadarshan.
"The only reason for the problem in my family was ego. I was born and brought up in a conservative family and in my mind the model of a woman is my mother. When we marry, we should not expect our partner to have the same nature as that of our mother. Because it is not possible as she is from a different generation.
"My parents also loved Lissy more than my sister. All these years I was living in heaven and now we are separated. But my house (in Chennai) still bears the same name- Priyadarshan-Lissy. I know that irrespective of whatever has happened, she still respects me. It was just a problem of ego," he explained.
He is presently working on a movie titled "Oppam" which will star superstar Mohanlal.
Priyadarshan and Lissy tied the knot in 1990 following which she gave up her successful career in acting. She also converted to Hinduism through an Arya Samaj ceremony, and got involved in handling her husband's business. The couple has two children, daughter Kalyani and son Sidharthan, who are settled abroad.
In 2014, Lissy filed for divorce in a Chennai family court. What followed was a long legal battle, where both levelled allegations against each other in the divorce petition. Lissy had also filed criminal proceedings against Priyadarshan under provisions of domestic violence and Priyadarshan filed a case against her in the Madras High Court.
This year, the the couple decided to file divorce on mutual consent with a memo of compromise.
All quotes from Grihalakshmi have been loosely translated from Malayalam.