Bollywood's Biggest Breakups
Devika Rani / Najmul Hasan
She was the First Lady of Hindi Cinema. He, the most handsome hero of his time. They were brought together by Himanshu Rai, the producer and founder of Bombay Talkies, for the studio's first production Jawani Ki Hawa (1935). The film was unique in that it was shot entirely on board a train as it chugged along between Bombay and Lonawala, a picturesque hill station. The journey proved momentous. Things got so steamy en route between the young Devika Rani and her hero Najmul Hasan, that he had decided to pull way the leading lady from the celluloid world to the real one. Impressed by their onscreen chemistry, Rai repeated the popular pair in his next production Jeevan Nayya (1936), but before long, in a fit of passion, the two eloped when the new film they were making had just gone on the floor and only a few scenes had been shot. When Najmul Hasan ran off with Devika Rani, the entire Bombay Talkies was in turmoil. However, the worst affected and the most worried man at Bombay Talkies was Himanshu Rai, Devika Rani's husband and the heart and soul of the company. An enraged Rai somehow managed to bring her back, but Hasan was given the boot. And he called upon his laboratory assistant Ashok Kumar to take the leading man's part in the film and thus began a six-decade-long acting career for that actor.
Nargis / Raj Kapoor
He was the greatest showman known to Indian films, she was amongst the greatest leading ladies of all times, together they made a pair that had chemistry hitherto unseen on Indian screen. Whenever they came together on screen, sparks flew. Their chemistry was electrifying. The passion that each had for the other poured out on the screen as they performed in several films, many of them super hits (Aag, Andaz, Barsaat, Awaara, Anhonee Shree 420, Chori Chori etc). The raw passion between them in Barsaat drove audiences wild. The song 'Pyar Hua Ikrar Hua' from Shree 420 (1955) with Nargis and Raj Kapoor under the umbrella in heavy rain was romance at its heighest. The most popular romantic team in history of Bollywood played it cool for nearly eight years before they split up - Nargis leaving him to marry Sunil Dutt. Chori Chori (1956), a breezy entertainer, being their last film together, although she appeared for old time's sake in the last scene of Raj Kapoor's classic Jagte Raho.
Suraiya / Dev Anand
The pair became famous for their off-screen romance rather than on-screen. Suraiya met Dev Anand during the shooting of Vidya. She was then an established singing star and he, a raw new comer, but she found him 'cultured and handsome'. It was during the shooting of a song their boat capsized and Dev Anand saved Suraiya from drowning. Suraiya fell in love with her reel and real life hero. Their films together may not have been great hits except Vidya (1948), Jeet (1949) and Afsar (1949), but they had no regrets as their love flourished and their love story was the talk of the nation. The lore has it that Dev Anad proposed to her at the Taj Mahal, putting a diamond ring to her finger. But hell broke loose at her home as her grandmother discovered the ring and threw it into the sea. Her grandmother and uncle threatened to get Dev Anand arrested or killed, and brainwashed Suraiya to believe that if she married Dev Anand, Hindu Muslim riots would breakout. Fearing for Dev's safety, she took the decision to drop out from the relationship. The episode sealed their fate to work together again.
Madhubala / Dilip Kumar
She was the icon of Hindi films and he the king of tragedies. When the two starred together for the first time in Tarana (1951), their pairing on and off screen went on to become the most legendary love affair of Indian cinema. It was an affair of melodramatic proportions, worthy of the best of Bollywood scripts. Their stormy relationship lasted about eight years, though the pair continued to pine for each other even after their tragic break-up in 1957, involving a courtroom drama in which Dilip Kumar, standing in the witness box, declared, "I love this woman and shall love her till my dying day." K. Asif's epic, Moghal-E-Azam (1960), their last movie together, took incredible 10 years to complete from the year 1950 to 1960. By the end of the filming, the pair had already gone through their break-up, as if their real life romance was imitating their reel life tragedy. The only difference being the reversal of role of the father - in real life drama it was Madhubala's father, who ruled her every move with an iron hand, that did not let the lovers unite at the end. In-spite of all the emotional upheaval in the pair's lives, their acting excellence made Mughal-E-Azam an all time unsurpassed epic of love story.
Guru Dutt / Geeta Dutt
He was cinematic genius. She a talented singer. He an admirer of Bengali culture. She a Bengali by birth. It was natural that the two would fall in love and then marry. Marriage and two children later, the marriage hit a road block. Many say that Waheeda Rehman was the reason. The director was smitten completely by this embodiment of classic beauty. Guru Dutt had discovered Waheeda Rehman and had made her his muse as they starred in a string of movies - Pyaasa (1957), Kagaz Ke Phool (1959), Kala Bazar (1960), Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1960) and Sahib Biwi Ghulam (1962). The onscreen lovers were involved in one of Bollywood's great real life love tragedies. The one-sided romance, failures at box office (Kaagaz ke Phool & Pyaasa - both were his labors of love) led to his end and the end of his married life. At the time of his death, he was separated from wife Geeta Dutt and Waheeda Rehman had distanced herself from him. Dutt felt as if at a crucification. An air of loss and mystery continues to shroud Guru Dutt's premature death in 1964 from an overdose of sleeping pills.
Dimple Kapadia / Rajesh Khanna
He was truly the only super star the country has known. Rajesh Khanna broke many-a-hearts when he tied the knot with the 'Bobby beauty' Dimple Kapadia. It couldn't have been better matched-she a wonder-eyed 16 year old tasting success for the first time in her life and he a superstar keen on settling down. The young teen star was swept off her feet when the charming Khanna, the heartthrob of millions, dramatically threw Rishi Kapoor’s ring into the sea and proposed marriage. The spontaneous 'Yes' from Dimple and the wedding bells ranged on 27-Mar-1973. At the same moment there was the sudden end to the champagne-and-roses affair that Rajesh Khanna had with Anju Manendru for seven long years. When Dimple came into Rajesh Khanna’s life, little did she know that she would have to bear the brunt of the casualties in his first affair. From childhood she was roughly jerked into adulthood. The marriage went wrong from the very beginning. Dimple was so awestruck by her superstar husband, that she was totally subjugated and robbed of the confidence to behave in a natural manner. She wore what he liked and mixed with the people he approved of. 'It was always his approval that mattered', Says Dimple. Things became worse, when Rajesh Khanna’s films started flopping. He became more rigid and withdrew into his shell. If Anju couldn’t cope with his success, Dimple couldn’t cope with his failure. And separation was the only way out. Till date, they live separately, both unmarried but they keep in touch and support each other because of the bond of their daughter.
Rakhi / Gulzar
Rakhi Gulzar married when they were at the height of their career. Rakhee was a leading heroine working with the top banners and Gulzar was one of the few directors of that era whose films earned him both; commercial success and critical acclaim. This was his first marriage and Rakhee's second marriage. They became one of the biggest celebrity couples of Bollywood, Gulzar having the distinction of being a versatile composer, poet, filmmaker and writer and Rakhi, blessed with excellent acting talent, considered the most successful professional in real life, while she also proved to be a passionate lover, a woman in charge and a real mother. But within a couple of years of marriage they split up and they still live separately. According to rumors, Rakhee didn't want to give up her career after marriage and Gulzar wanted her to be a housewife. Yet another faction insists they broke up because Gulzar signed her arch-rival Sharmila Tagore for Mausam. Neither of them has cared to remarry but they still live separately. Rakhi and Gulzar have said that their daughter Meghna could not accept their break-up and, therefore, they never got a divorce. Mid way through 'Because He Is', writer Meghna Gulzar brings to readers some of these lines written by her father which have never been published:
'sheher ki bijli gayi
band kamre mein bahot der talak kuchh bhi dikhai na diya
tum gayi theen jis din
us roz bhi aisa hi hua tha'
And you instantly know that it is only a daughter who could have unearthed the true feelings of her father - the pain of separation from his wife Rakhee, the woman whom Gulzar calls as 'The Longest Short Story Of My Life...'.
Babita / Randhir Kapoor
He was the Kapoor khandan scion and she an upcoming actress. Randhir Kapoor and Babita did several films together before deciding to tie the knot. The marriage produced 2 children: Karisma Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor. After the birth of their daughters, their relationship was under strain and finally after a few years, breaking all convention, Babita decided to walk out of the Kapoor household along with her two daughters, Karisma and Kareena. Reportedly, Babita could not cope with the larger-than-life figure of Randhir's father and filmmaker Raj Kapoor over his life. Her insistence that their daughters act in films created a distance from the Kapoor clan. Raj Kapoor had famously declared that no Kapoor woman would appear in movies, and both Babita and her sister-in-law, Rishi Kapoor’s wife Neetu, abandoned their acting careers after they got married. However, Babita, who industry insiders recognize as a woman with both ambition and acumen, decided that her daughters would be as famous as their uncles. Kareena Kapoor was in school when her sister Karisma began acting, and as soon as Kareena could, she too started taking steps towards stardom. Though Randhir Kapoor and Babita never divorced, they never ever stayed together either. Decades later, Randhir Kapoor and Babita continue to remain husband and wife, though leading separate lives. Randhir Kapoor believes in the sanctity of marriage. He has always said that she is the mother of their daughters.
Although we are use to seeing short lived relationships in Bollywood spotlight, there are always times where none of us expected a breakup or the reason behind it with certain couples. Whether it’s because they have been together forever or if it’s because they just look so good together, sometimes we are caught off guard from what seems to be the perfect relationship. Sometimes even the most seemingly rock solid celebrity couples just can't make it work and unfortunately there were many star-studded breakups that shocked us in recent years: Amrita Singh/ Saif Ali, Aishwarya Rai/ Salman Khan, Rhea Pillai/ Sanjay Dutt, Ravina Tandon/ Akshay Kumar, Karisma Kapoor/Abhishek Bachchan, Reena Dutta/ Amir Khan, Kareena Kapoor/ Shahid Kapoor, Katrina Kaif/ Salman Khan, Preity Zinta/ Ness Wadia, Priyanka Chopra/ Harman Baweja, Sushmita Sen/ Randeep Hooda and the last but not the least, Bipasha Basu/ John Abraham. As much their romance was heart warming, their breakup was heart breaking. Their interesting though tragic love stories leave scope for a sequel, which I hope to post sometime soon as Part 2 of Bollywood's Biggest Breakups.