Splits, break-ups, divorces, romances, extra-marital link-ups, fatal attractions, Bollywood has dished ‘em out for ages.
Marriages are not made in heaven. Made-for-each-other is not a mantra writ in stone, but an iconic marketing slogan coined by a cigarette company 50 years ago when the world was a different planet, as was the ditty celebrating deathless romantic commitment from a much-acclaimed Bollywood (Taj Mahal) movie, Jo Vada Kiya Woh Nibhana Padega. In today’s promiscuous, pacy, consumerist, globalized and digitalized world of Facebook, Youtube, Wattsapp and Twitter where nothing, nothing, can go hidden for long, where a rampaging and intrusive media and a hungry, sensation-crazed public are forever waiting for the next scandal, gossip and rumor, life for celebrities can be tough going. In fact, stars need to really unleash Oscar-winning performances to keep their secrets under cover.
History, however, is not on their side. The most vociferous, aggressive and convincing denials, more often than not, fall flat on their face when discovered. After all, that there can be no smoke without fire. In today’s open, khullam-khulla times, it is interesting to see some celebrities come clean and tell the media and the world about their breakups, heartbreaks, disappointments and insecurities, frequently shocking fans who truly believed that their beloved star or favorite jodi were living their unimaginable dreams.
The recent sensational parting of ways of Greek god Hrithik Roshan and his petite wife Suzanne came as a bolt from the blue to both his fans and friends in the industry for several reasons. For one, the light-eyed sublimely-toned object of a zillion women’s desire, was never known to have ever made a wrong, inappropriate move and always, through action and words, depicted himself as a through professional and devoted family man. Admittedly, there were rumors a few years ago during the shooting of Kites of his extra-closeness with the sexy, phirang heroine Barbara Mori, but that soon melted away and all was well. Besides, unlike many top heroes, Hrithik was one of the few leading men who never provoked or prompted any kind of buzz, gossip or scandal of the extra-marital kind. So when the news of the separation arrived through the media and was said to be initiated by his (wonder of wonders) wife Suzanne, everyone was astounded.
The Roshans weren’t the only ones. Actress Kalki Koechelin too announced her exit from hubby film maker Anurag Kashyap’s house seeking a trial separation. Both the couples have pleaded with the media and the public to respect their privacy and not freak out with weird stories.
Splits, break-ups, divorces, romances, extra-marital link-ups, fatal attractions, Bollywood has dished ‘em out for ages. Be it Raj-Nargis, Dev-Suraiya, Dilip-Aasma, Dharam-Meena Kumari, Rajesh-Sharmila/Mumtaz, Ranbir-Deepika/Katrina, Ranveer-Deepika, …the list is endless. Separations include Karishma and hubby Sanjay Kapoor, Rajesh Khanna and Dimple, earlier Gulzar-Rakhee, Babita-Randhir and Sanjay Dutt-Rhea Pillai. Point is, unlike yesteryear stars, the today dazzlers seem to have made their peace with the situation and confess to the world that all is not well in Premnagar and splitsville may happen.
What does this signify? The end of the hysterical guarding of privacy or the beginning of acknowledging the human aspect of failed relationships, betrayals and heartbreaks, and embracing transparency as the honest way to remain in the heart of their real fans?
Film Scholar Rauf Ahmed is first off the block. He says: “It is a generational thing. Yesterday was a different time, with different people and a different set of rules. There was, perhaps, more innocence, or denial, and the belief that their favorite screen-stars were infallible and lived the dream of ideal couple, was very strong. Hence, when break-ups did happen, there was strong audience, fan reaction, which sometimes threatened to eat into popularity among the more conservative segment. Today, we live in a more morally cool time where the new generation, after the initial surprise and disappointment, prepare to move on.”
Mumbai-based Bollywood addict, 20-year-old, Payal Kapoor says: “Stars are someone you adore for their glamor, sex-appeal and also what they mean to you in terms of image &and perception, but hardly for their morality and political correctness. C’mon, they are showbiz folks and lead impossibly fast, exciting and colouful lives way beyond our wildest imagination. That’s what we love about them. Their affairs, romances, indiscretions, cheating, flirting, indecent proposals powered by basic instinct, comes with the exclusive and elusive terrain they reside in. Otherwise they would be like us — dull, boring, everyday people without mystery or magic. Would anyone give a damn? All this ups their ante in terms of brand-value and they know that sensations and scandals are huge aphrodisiacs for lesser mortals. Admittedly, emotion-led breakups are sad — like the Hrithik-Suzanne one — are sad, but just wait for the tons of behind-the-breakup stories waiting to explode!”
Be that as it may, one thing is certain. Life is way stranger than fiction, or any movie plot, frequently panning out in ways that could boggle the human mind. What happens to our idolized dream-jodi (how, when, why and without waning) is what makes our journey to this planet earth and Bollywood so utterly, fantastically and dramatically … unpredictable … and exciting.