Most of us think that live-in relationships in Bollywood are a phenomenon of recent origin, but this is not wholly true, says ac tuli
ACTRESS Jiah Khan&’s recent tragic death, attributed partly to her frustration in love and partly to her fading career in Bollywood, remained in the news for quite a few days. What, however, kept this case in the media focus for some time were the letters she allegedly wrote to her lover, Suraj Pancholi, and also the statements her mother gave to the police about how her daughter was jilted and how desperation ultimately drove her to the act of self-destruction. The case is now under police investigation.
Jiah Khan, it appears, was an unusually sensitive woman who, perhaps, could not bravely face the ups and downs incidental to a live-in relationship. Also, she could not possibly have been unaware of the fact that such relationships do not necessarily translate into matrimony. There were, before her, some instances of earlier ill-fated relationships. The tragic end of Mauritian model and actress Viveka Babajee, Indian model and MTV video jockey Nafisa Joseph and actress/model Kuljeet Randhawa should have served her as warnings about the fragile nature of live-in relationships and the unpredictability of their ultimate end.
Normally, live-in relationships in Bollywood do not end in tragedy. In fact, quite a few have ended in a peaceful separation of live-in partners. And the protagonists of such broken relationships, instead of sulking and sobbing over lost love, discreetly put the past behind them and forged ahead in life without harbouring any rancour for each other. With the passage of time, old wounds healed and each one of them found a new partner and entered into a new relationship and, thus, life for them went on as usual.
Here are a few instances of live-in relationships in Bollywood that broke up at some stage and the partners decided to go their separate ways without losing their poise.
After Saif Ali Khan&’s marriage with Amrita Singh ended in a divorce, he was in a relationship with Swiss model Rosa Catalano, whom he first met in Kenya. Catalano, however, later claimed Saif had never told her he was a divorcee with two teenaged children. Their live-in relationship continued for almost three years before it broke up, much to her pain and frustration.
Saif Ali Khan was a free bird once again. Life, however, took a new turn for the chhote Nawab of Pataudi when he and Kareena Kapoor were attracted to each other. They had a long—enduring relationship which ultimately fructified into marriage.
The John Abraham-Bipasha Basu relationship lasted for almost a decade and that&’s some time, indeed. But when Basu wanted this relationship to mature into matrimony, Abraham backed out and the relationship broke up. Both, however, were level-headed realists who did not believe in crying over a broken relationship. Instead they took this break-up in stride and soon everything was all right again. Now Abraham is happy with new girlfriend Priya Runchal, and Basu, too, is no longer alone. She is nowadays said to be very close to Bollywood actor Harman Baweja.
Ranvir Shorey and Konkona Sen Sharma started dating in 2007 and the relationship culminated in their marriage in 2010. They had a son named Haroon in 2011. But for quite some time, the couple&’s marital life had not been very peaceful. When the differences between them became irreconcilable, she left Shorey to live separately with son Haroon. The couple&’s case for divorce is now awaiting court decision.
Ameesha Patel and Vikram Bhatt met on the sets of the film Aap Mujhe Achche Lagne Lage (2002) and started dating. The relationship continued for more than five years before both decided to separate. After some time, the new man that came into Patel&’s life was Kanav Puri, but now it is said that her relationship with Puri is over and she is seriously concentrating on her career in the film industry.
Currently, live-in relationships that are going great guns and come under media focus from time to time are those of Soha Ali Khan and Kunal Khemu, and Abhay Deol and Preeti Desai.
Most of us, however, think that live-in relationships in Bollywood are a phenomenon of recent origin. This is often pompously attributed to our liberated thinking and rapidly changing social mores. But it is not wholly true. If we go back in time, we find that live-in relationships were a reality of life even in the distant past. It is, however, true that most of those relationships remained hush-hush affairs because the media in those days was not what it is today.
For instance, Rajesh Khanna, before he married Dimple Kapadia, was in a relationship with fashion designer and actress Anju Mahendru for almost seven years. And after Khanna separated from Dimple, he was, for some time, romantically involved with Tina Munim. And after his death in July 2012, a middle-aged woman named Anita Advani suddenly came forward and made a lot of fuss claiming she had been the late star&’s live-in companion for several years.
Now, let us go back to earlier times. Filmmaker K Asif of Mughal-e-Azam fame first had a tempestuous live-in relationship with Kathak dancer and actress Sitara Devi for several years. They lived like a married couple, but many people say they were not married. The relationship, however, broke up when Asif fell for blue-eyed actress Nigar during the making of his magnum opus, Mughal-e-Azam. Nigar, by the way, was earlier in a relationship with lyricist DN Madhok. But this Nigar-Asif relationship also broke up when he suddenly married Akhtar, Dilip Kumar&’s sister.
In the 1940s, famous Urdu short-story writer Saadat Hasan Manto worked for a few years as scriptwriter for the two premier filmmaking companies of that time – Bombay Talkies and Filmistan. So he knew a lot about Bollywood actors and the inside stories of their love lives. Going by what Manto has written in his book Meena Bazaar, Bollywood personalities of yore were no abstemious saints who shied away from live-in relationships. As regards Sitara Devi&’s numerous relationships, Manto made some sensational revelations about them in his book — of course, much to the shock and indignation of the famed dancer-actress who at one time threatened to sue the writer for defamation in a court of law.