Socialite Bina Ramani's life might have been a roller coaster ride from being a fashion designer, a restaurateur and even an entrepreneur to being a witness in the Jessica Lal murder case, but the only regret she has is of not marrying actor Shammi Kapoor, whom she claims to have had a tumultuous affair with.
"I wish I had married Shammi Kapoor then. I regret marrying my first husband, Andy Ramani and moving to San Francisco" Ramani said in her recent autobiography.
Bina has candidly written about her romance with Shammi Kapoor which "was doomed to die before it blossomed" in her recent autobiography titled Bird in a Banyan Tree-My Story.
"I was introduced to Shammi by Raj Kapoor's wife, Krishnaji, ten months after his wife died of a sudden illness leaving him in an inconsolable state with his two children. While his film career as an actor was at its peak, he was very lonely in his personal life and was becoming increasingly reckless in his behaviour," Bina, who was in conversation with Suhel Seth at an Oxford Store here recently said.
"Soon enough, Shammi was openly displaying his growing affection for me and, usually with Bhabhiji's help, managed to find many occasions where we could either meet in private or run into each other publicly, she said.
However, their romance didn't blossom into marriage, because of Raj Kapoor's opposition towards the match, claims Bina.
"My parents weren't comfortable too as the thought of losing their daughter to a movie star with a terrible reputation for 'drinking' and 'womanising' was alarming. I had plans of eloping with Shammi, when my parents introduced me to Andy while Shammi was away on a seven-day tour," she said.
While Shammi was in a jungle with his buddies, engaged in his favourite sport, he lost his love to a stranger from San Francisco - forever and I changed from Bina Lalvani to Bina Ramani in those seven days, she said.
"But today, if I am asked to choose one thing that I would like to undo in my life, is not marrying Shammi," said Ramani who is now married to Canadian citizen, George Mailhot.
After going through a troubled marriage with Andy for 13 years, Ramani said she decided to settle in Delhi and started her struggle as a fashion designer, putting Hauz Khas village together as a hub for artist and artisans. As her life seemed to settle down after marrying George, one fine night Jessica Lal was shot dead in 1999 at her restro-bar, Tamarind Court by Manu Sharma, son of an influential politician.
Bina writes about her seven years of roller coaster ride from being taken into police custody and sent to Tihar Jail for being a "stubbornly honest witness" to being vilified by the media to being lauded for her "heroic role in the case."
"Though I often think of the possibility that haunting memories of the Jessica Lal case would not have existed in my life's narrative, but I know if it wasn't me as the witness, Jessica would have been any other victim, and this would have been any other case," Ramani said.