Alka Yagnik Marriage: Two Decades Of Long Distance Relationship, Zero Regrets

When the legendary filmmaker Raj Kapoor heard the 10-year old Alka Yagnik sing he was left so impressed that he sent her with a letter of introduction to the famous music director duo Laxmikant-Pyarelal. The music composers were amazed by the young girl’s talent, and gave Alka’s mother the option of either letting her daughter be a dubbing artist for now or wait for a mainstream playback opportunity. She chose the latter, and that day cemented the career of the young girl, who went on to sing more than 2000 songs in a career spanning over three decades.

In her personal life, Alka has been in a long-distance marriage since more than 25 years. She had a love marriage with the Shillong-based businessman Neeraj Kapoor in 1989 but the couple barely stayed together due to their work commitments. It is an unconventional marriage, and was expected to crumble within years but interestingly survived more than two decades. So what has been the couple’s secret formula for success? Read on for more about Alka Yagnik’s marriage and how it stood the test of time and distance.

Alka Yagnik – The Melody Queen

Alka-Yagnik

Alka Yagnik was born on 20th March 1966 in Kolkata in a Gujarati family. She was just six years old when she started singing for the All India Radio in Kolkata. Seeing her potential, Alka’s mother brought her to Mumbai in 1972 with a vision of making her a mainstream playback singer. In the year 1976, she managed to secure an appointment with filmmaker Raj Kapoor, who heard the young Alka Yagnik sing. Impressed by her voice, he asked her mother to take Alka to his friends, the music composers duo Laxmikant-Pyarelal. They were equally charmed by Alka’s voice. They shared they will only be able to provide an opportunity later but promised to give her reference to other music directors.

Alka eventually made her singing debut in the year 1980 at the tender age of 14 with the song Thirkat Ang composed by music director Raj Kamal. She sang several songs thereafter but it was the song Ek Doh Teen picturised on Madhuri Dixit that made Alka an overnight sensation. That was the year 1988, and Alka went on to become the undisputed melody queen of 1990s. In her career spanning more than 35 years she has worked with nearly every leading Bollywood music director since 1980, recorded more than 2000 songs, and has sung in 16 different languages. That’s quite a portfolio, which actually makes her the third most prolific Indian singer after Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle.

“Intrinsic value of a song has diminished. You listen to it, you dance on it, you forget it… just like fast food!”
– Alka Yagnik commenting on the current scenario in music industry

Neeraj Kapoor – Separated By Distance But United By Love

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Alka Yagnik got married to the Shillong-based businessman Neeraj Kapoor in the year 1989 after years of seeing each other. The story of how they met is rather interesting. Alka Yagnik and her mother were visiting New Delhi in 1986 by train. Since their train was scheduled to arrive early in the morning, the nephew of a Alka’s mother’s friend, Neeraj Kapoor, was there at the railway station to receive them. This was the first time Neeraj and Alka met each other. They gave each other some tender glances but for now they just introduced themselves to one another. This marked the beginning of their friendship that would culminate into a more essential relationship.

“He came in his pyjamas and my first impression was what kind of guy would do this! Later he told me that his first impression of me was a very glamorous woman alighting perfectly spruce from a train journey despite the early hours.”
– Alka Yagnik about the moment she first saw her husband Neeraj Kapoor

Alka and Neeraj stayed in touch, despite Neeraj being a resident of Shillong, Meghalaya where he had a flourishing family business. Whenever he would visit Mumbai for a work-related purpose, he would make it a point to drop at Alka’s residence. It took six months of plain friendship for the pair to realise that their is more to their relationship than that. “Romance was a gradual invader,” shared Alka in an interview later. By the seventh month since their first meeting the two got romantically involved, and two years down the line they realised that it was time to take things to the next level.

Finally Finding The Soulmate

The year 1988 saw a major surge in Alka’s popularity after the song Ek Doh Teen became a chartbuster. The same year Neeraj and Alka took the decision of breaking the news of their relationship to their respective families. Like in most case of love marriages, the couple faced a stiff resistance from their families mainly owing to the fact that they belonged to different professions. Another point of concern for the families was the physical distance between the two. Alka was based out of Mumbai, and had no plans of taking a hiatus in her career, which had just begun to find its footing. Neeraj’s interests on the other hand lied in Shillong where he was managing his family business. The two were as disparate as east and west, literally. Their parents warned that the marriage may not last long but the couple remained adamant. Soon the families conceded, and Alka and Neeraj got married in February 1989. Alka continued to live in Mumbai while Neeraj lived in Shillong. They had their only daughter Sayesha in December 1989, and she stayed with her mother in Mumbai.

The Unconventional Long-Distance Marriage

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While long-distance relationships are often championed to be the litmus test for any relationship, a long-distance marriage surely pushes things to their limit. In theory Alka was a married woman but due to her career choices she had no choice but to live like a single mother for most part of her marriage. Despite that Alka always praised her husband Neeraj – for being a husband who understood and respected the demands of his wife’s career. The long-distance marriage was an option enforced due to their individual career choices despite which they made a point to live a life as wife and husband. Alka would spend a month in a year at Shillong during her daughter Sayesha’s summer vacations. Even Neeraj would visit Mumbai on fixed time intervals to spend time with his wife and daughter.

“Neeraj even tried to launch a business in Mumbai. But he is this simple small-town guy and he got cheated of a huge sum of money. So I told him that he should go back to Shillong and not let his business there get affected.”
– Alka Yagnik about her husband

Neeraj and Alka were always supportive of one another’s decision and stood as a constant source of motivation. But no matter how cordial the things, a long-distance relationship always takes its toll by creating a void that constantly gets deeper.

“People say you’re on a constant honeymoon. But it’s not like that. If you don’t live together, you don’t grow together. Somewhere, the communication gap creeps in…”
– Alka Yagnik on long-distance marriage

The couple even separated for 4-5 years, which was the time they never saw each other even once. But later they reconciled and realised that they invariably end-up coming back to one another no matter how far they go. Later Alka cleared the air, and shared in an interview that one day they sat down together and revisited the terms of their marriage. “The basic bond was always there,” said Alka positively in an interview later.

Successful Long-Distance Marriage – That’s Commendable!

Alka-Yagnik-and-husband-Nee

Alka and Neeraj are excellent examples to the fact marriages can survive anything as long as the partners are ready to work on it. One may say that staying away from your spouse can open various avenues for infidelity, which is true. But that happens only when one brushes aside the virtues of marriage and takes the plunge. Even Alka went through such phase but stood firmly by her principles.

“I’ll not lie and say that I’ve never got attracted to people. But I didn’t get carried away. My values are strong. I also believe one’s dignity lies in one’s hands. I don’t believe in frivolous behaviour.”
– Alka Yagnik on sanctity of long-distance marriage

It has been more than 25 years now, and Alka and Neeraj are still together with no regrets about their married life. Neeraj maintains a low profile, and is seldom spotted at parties or social events. Their marriage is surely a success even if the path to it was riddled with sacrfices and problems. But then that is what makes a marriage a good marriage. Leaving you with these adorable words by Alka about her marriage, and on that note here is wishing the couple tons of happiness and success.

“Our marriage can be summed up in the U2 song ‘Can’t live with or without you’. It’s been a difficult marriage to hold on to. But we couldn’t let go of each other.”
– Alka Yagnik about her marriage with Neeraj Kapoor

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