‘Love happens when you least expect it,’ they say. You don’t plan on falling for someone, it happens on its own. Something similar happened with Monica Bedi and Abu Salem. The two were madly in love with each other and the actress had to pay the price of loving an Indian gangster.
Monica and Abu’s love-life was really complicated. The gangster revealed that the two got married in Los Angeles in a mosque whereas the actress denied the wedding allegations.
Born in Punjab, Monica Bedi’s parents soon moved to Norway with her while she was a kid. A report in Filmfare suggests that the couple met at an event in Dubai and soon, Abu Salem started calling her every half an hour and that’s how the closeness grew between them.
“I met Abu around the end of 1998 at a show in Dubai. He introduced himself as a businessman but with a different name. After I returned to Mumbai, he kept in touch. We became friends over the phone. He’d call me up every half an hour; the comfort level grew between us. I began sharing things with him. We kept talking over the phone for around nine months. I don’t know when we fell in love. Then I flew to Dubai to meet him. There he told me that his real name was Abu Salem. Even then I didn’t know who ‘Abu Salem’ was. Actually, not many had heard his name then. He said he owned a showroom of cars, which he showed me from outside. He also organised shows. In the little time that we spent, we were nice to each other. You watch a film, go for dinner and your time is over… He was loving, caring and down to earth. I didn’t feel the need to go into any further details. When you’re in love you don’t see beyond,” Monica revealed.
Abu Salem was apparently very private about his personal life. “Gradually, I realised he was someone powerful. There used to be guards around him all the time and a lot of movement. I did find it strange,” Monica Bedi added.
Before getting arrested in Portugal, the couple stayed in the US for quite some time. Talking about the same, Monica said, “Abu had money. So people believed that I lived like a princess. But I’ve only seen tough times and struggle with him. We kept moving from one place to another. I used to clean, cook, wash for him… In fact, I learnt cooking from him. If I witnessed a good life, it was only in my parents’ home or with my hard-earned money. People would say, ‘She is with him for money’. But where is the money? I don’t grudge the hardships; it was only his nature that had turned aggressive and irritable. I wondered why I was pulled in the mess.”
Later when the two got arrested, the actress revealed that she was in fact happy that it happened and said, “Then the passport issue happened (In September 2002, Monica was arrested with Abu Salem by the Lisbon police for entering Portugal with forged documents. They served a jail sentence in Portugal). When we got arrested, I was the happiest person. I thought I’d be deported to India. When I read the charge sheet against him in Portugal – the penalties, the serious offences, the loss of people… it was shattering. Not that I didn’t know that he was running away from the authorities. But it was all spelt out on paper. That was an eye-opener. I’ve always been attached to Christianity. I attended preaching classes in jail and read the Bible. That gave me strength and wisdom. My feelings towards him changed.”
Things we do in love.
Currently, Monica Bedi is focusing on her career and Abu Salem in life imprisonment in Mumbai.
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