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When Stars Tie The Knot
[Bollywood-November 2008]

What happens when stars tie the knot? Who are some famous Bollywood couples? What are some of Bollywood’s successful and unsuccessful marriages?

Find out what happens when stars tie the knot.

DILIP KUMAR AND SAIRA BANU-MARRIED 1966

As a young girl of 12, Saira Banu wanted to marry Dilip Kumar. But when she became a star in the 1960s, Saira was deemed too young to be cast opposite the thespian. So one can imagine the surprise when Kumar showed an interest in the young actress and the couple announced their marriage in 1966. Dilip Kumar was 44, Saira just 22. The grand wedding was looked at with some scepticism but 40 years later, it remains an exemplary Bollywood union.
The marriage proved professionally lucky with both notching up individual hits soon afterwards. Dilip didn’t stop Saira from acting in films, and glamorous roles in Purab Aur Paschim and Victoria No 203 came after her wedding. In the mid-1970s she took on the Mrs Dilip Kumar mantle full-time, and in the early 1980s the childless couple successfully weathered a storm about Kumar’s clandestine marriage with a woman named Asma. Scandal ensued but Kumar left Asma to be with Saira.
Today, Dilip and Saira are an inseparable entity, accorded much respect and adulation in the industry. Saira, who calls him saab, is fiercely protective of him; and Dilip too actively supports her endeavours — whether¬† itis her Bhojpuri film, or her television chat show, for which he even filled in as anchor.
DEV ANAND AND KALPANA KARTIK-MARRIED 1954
Dev Anand and Kalpana Kartik’s marriage has survived 50 years, resting on a solid foundation. They got married in the most romantic manner. While shooting 1954’s Taxi Driver, during the lunch break, the two stars film slipped into the art director’s room, where a magistrate had been called. Dev slipped a ring onto Kalpana’s fingers and signed the papers. The besotted couple kept their marriage secret for a week thereafter!
Kalpana starred in House No 44 and Nau Do Gyarah after her marriage, the latter after the birth of their son Suneil. Kalpana, who starred in only six films (all opposite Dev), instantly retreated into domestic life.
In the 1970s, Anand’s name was linked with several actresses, and the couple drifted into different preoccupations with Kalpana taking refuge in religion while Dev plunged deeper into filmmaking.
The couple still lives under the same roof, and Kalpana remains the only Mrs Dev Anand.
SHAMMI KAPOOR AND GEETA BALI-MARRIED 1955

When Shammi Kapoor married Geeta Bali, he was still a newcomer struggling to overcome his initial spate of flops and find his niche, while she was an established star. The love between this outgoing couple was beyond mundane considerations.
Gutsy Geeta even played a man for an entire film, Rangeen Raatein, all because she wanted to be near the film’s hero, Shammi Kapoor. When the couple decided to get married in the mid-1950s, it was in an unconventional a manner. They waited outside Mumbai’s Banganga temple all night and got married in the morning.
In the 1960, Shammi became a huge superstar and Geeta, who had put her career on the backburner after the birth of her two children, decided to make a comeback with an author-backed role in a film called Rano .
Tragically, she contacted smallpox on the film’s outdoor shoot and passed away in Mumbai in 1965 at age 34, her devastated husband by her side.
SUNIL DUTT AND NARGIS-MARRIED 1958

The Sunil Dutt-Nargis union is still spoken of as one of Bollywood’s most successful marriages, even after both have passed away. The 1957 classic Mother India brought them together though they played mother and son in the film. After Sunil saved Nargis during an on-the-set fire, their relationship got serious. And in 1958, the two tied the knot after Mother India had been declared a huge success.
By the end of the 1950s, Nargis had been awarded the Padma Shri and reached the acme of her career. She settled down to raising a family (that’s the infant Sanjubaba with the couple) while Sunil’s career steamed ahead. Except for her home production, Raat Aur Din, Nargis never returned to films, plunging into social work instead.
When she was stricken by cancer, an obsessed Sunil embarked on a protracted fight against the dreaded disease. Nargis passed away in 1981, but their love story survived in her husband’s heart till his own death, a quarter of a century later.
RAJESH KHANNA AND DIMPLE KAPADIA-MARRIED 1973
They have one of Bollywood’s most complex marriages, but then, the Rajesh and Dimple relationship was always unusual. He was a 31-year-old superstar who had just split with his longtime girlfriend Anju Mahendru; she was a bedazzled 16-year-old newcomer whose first film had not even released.
Bobby hit theatres when Dimple was already heavily pregnant with her elder daughter Twinkle. The film proved to be a sensational success and made Dimple a nationwide craze, but she didn’t do another film and instead retreated into domesticity.
Swings of fortune rocked the Khanna marriage and the couple finally separated in the early 1980s, and Dimple returned to Bollywood. But the couple remained amicable and Dimple even agreed to act in Rajesh Khanna’s production Jai Shiv Shankar.
Today, there seems to be little rancour between this mature couple, whose association has settled into a comfortable groove.
AMITABH BACHCHAN AND JAYA BHADURI-MARRIED 1973

It was a marriage of equals. When the Amitabh-Jaya relationship started, Jaya was the country’s beloved Guddi, while Amitabh was a flop newcomer. But the twosome got married only after Zanjeer had already been released in 1973, making Amitabh a star.
The twosome were often spotted watching Zanjeer at Mumbai’s Strand cinema, enjoying their first hit together. As Amitabh’s stardom rose even further, Jaya retreated into the background. She did films after her marriage (she shot for Sholay while she was pregnant) but Jaya’s priority was always her family.
The superstar’s marriage was rocked by several rumours in the 1970s but has been rock steady ever since Amitabh’s near-fatal accident in 1982 and Jaya’s unswerving vigil at the hospital. In the 33 years of their marriage, the Bachchans have handled the many changes in their lives with equanimity and togetherness.
Jaya balanced being Mrs Superstar with the running of her home and creative impulses. And it was Amitabh who gave the mahurat clap when Jaya decided to return to film in 1997 with Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Maa .
DHARMENDRA AND HEMA MALINI-MARRIED 1980

Dharmendra was the epitome of masculinity; Hema, of all things feminine. It seemed natural that these polar representatives of their genders woult exhibit great chemistry on screen — their first 10 films together were huge hits — and this chemistry was bound to spill over into real life.
Dharmendra first saw Hema at the premiere of Aasman Mahal and was immediately taken with her beauty. They went on to work in a spate of successful films — Naya Zamana, Seeta Aur Geeta, Raja Jani, Jugnu , etc — and fell in love. But the fact that he was already married resulted in Hema’s mother parading a list of eligible suitors before her. Dharam and Hema, however, boldly defied societal norms, went ahead and tied the knot.
Twenty-five years later, the Dharam-Hema romance has become one of Bollywood’s most enduring, endearing, love stories. Though the two stars have, rather strangely, preferred not to be cast opposite each other after marriage, and though they live apart, each has played a supportive role in the other’s life, and the rearing of their daughters Esha and Aahna.
RISHI KAPOOR AND NEETU SINGH-MARRIED 1980

No one raised an eyebrow when the nation’s sweethearts of Khel Khel Mein and Amar Akbar Anthony took their love off-screen. There was something wholesome about Rishi-Neetu’s affair and subsequent marriage.
The born-to-riches Rishi wooed Neetu in high style with champagne and caviar, and the middle-class teenager got swept right off her feet by her constant co-star. The two got married while still in their twenties and have, since then, lived the privileged life.
Neetu gave up her flourishing acting career after acquiring the Kapoor tag; and though there are occasional noises about a comeback, nothing has yet materialised.
For now, she continues to stand by her man.
SAIF ALI KHAN AND AMRITA SINGH-MARRIED 1991

His famous surname was Saif’s only calling card when he married Amrita Singh in 1991. He was 21; she was 33. It had been a sudden courtship — she had forgotten her keys in his car; he came to return them and then began an association ending up in wedlock.
Few people expected their marriage to last the year. The naysayers, however, were proved wrong as the marriage enjoyed its highs, lasting for over a decade before it eventually disintegrated.
After Saif became a star with Yeh Dillagi and Main Khiladi Tu Anari in 1994, Amrita’s career took a backseat.
She became involved in rearing their two children Sara and Ibrahim and was by his side through his low phase in the late 1990s.
The couple never really revealed the reason but surprised everyone in 2004 by splitting after 13 years of togetherness.
Saif, now one of Bollywood’s most sought after actors, is now in a relationship with Kareena Kapoor while¬† Amrita has resumed her acting career with film and television roles.
AJAY DEVGAN AND KAJOL-MARRIED 1999

This one is a marriage of opposites. Ajay is the strong silent type, while Kajol is vivacious and effervescent.
What works is Ajay’s calming effect on the perennially full-of-beans Kajol. That’s what sparked off the two stars when they starred together in Hulchul around five years before their marriage.
Kajol was at the peak of her career and had just had a spate of hits — Pyar Kiya Toh Darna Kya, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hain — when she decided to hit the brakes and get married to Ajay Devgan. She demanded, and got, a successful marriage alongside a successful career.
Kajol has made her choices obvious. For the sake of her marriage and her daughter Nysa, Kajol does only select movies (Fanaa released four years after her last film), or works alongside her husband. She and Ajay have now come to represent the quintessential couple in sundry television commercials.
AKSHAY KUMAR AND TWINKLE KHANNA-MARRIED 2001

Considering Akshay’s many (and well-reported) affairs, few people expected his Twinkle liaison to lead up to the altar. But Akshay was finally ready to settle down and Twinkle too had had enough of the glamor of films and craved marriage. Their 2001 marriage has proved remarkably lucky for both.
For Akshay, marriage has coincided with an astronomical rise in his career. And for Twinkle too, giving up on films post marriage has proved to be a good career decision. She is a modern achiever with a flourishing furnishing business, and a truly exclusive clientele.
On a personal level too, they are, to all appearances, the golden couple. Rumours of Akshay’s dalliances are now increasingly rare, the couple have their son Aarav to dote on and the duo is known to holiday together in exotic locations like Spain.
Akshay-Twinkle’s films together — Zulmi, International Khiladi — may have all flopped, but their marriage seems a different story.

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