Do you think governments have a say in who we marry? At first glance, a sensible answer would be a STRAIGHT ‘no’
Is something wrong with Hindus and Muslims marrying each other?
Bollywood has often been targeted for exaggerating emotions and influencing people. But if there is one thing that does ring true, and that is the struggles of couples from different faiths who want to get married.
Bitter opposition, criticism, violence and fatal interventions were not only happening in movies like Gadar, Veer-Zaara, Pinjar and many more, but these are very common in real life of Hindu-Muslim marriages and the fear still looms large over interfaith couples.
But, can any amount of hurdles stop a true love story from becoming successful?
Today, a controversial new anti-conversion law that criminalises interfaith love marriages has put many Hindu-Muslim couples on the edge. And, now, they are facing the wrath of not just their families, but also the Indian government.
Today, however, couples who belong to different religions cannot be in a romantic relationship as it is becoming increasingly dangerous in India with the so-called “Love Jihad” conspiracy where Hindus accuse Muslims of forcing or converting Hindu women to accept Islam, in an attempt to eradicate Hinduism due to hatred. There have been in fact many cases of hatred and honour killings due to “Love Jihad” in India.
So far in the majority of Bollywood movies, we have seen that the main hero gets his true love in the end after crossing many hurdles and they live ‘happily ever after’. However, it is not just in the movies where we see our celebrities’ portraying us such examples of true love and strong commitment.
No matter if they face criticism from parents/families, religious issues or any other problems, Bollywood’s Dilwale take their Dulhaniyas away despite facing every big challenge of belonging to different religious backgrounds.
So, let us take a look at some of the most powerful and famous inter-religious marriages in Bollywood that will restore your faith in love:
- Shah Rukh Khan and Gauri Khan: The king of romance in Indian cinema Shah Rukh Khan was no less romantic in his personal life. And here, the Muslim actor fell in love with Hindu girl Gauri Chibber. There were many disagreements as well as strong resistance from her family but this time, nothing could stop our Veer-Zaara actor from believing & achieving in his love. The duo got married in 1991 and have been one of the popular and successful couples in Bollywood.
- Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor: This wedding made the headlines and was one of the most talked-about weddings in Bollywood as it was a Jodi of a Kapoor & a Khan. There were many rumours and expectations that the actress will change her religion after marriage, but just like Sharmila Tagore (her mother-in-law), too set an example and decided to remain a Hindu.
- Riteish Deshmukh and Genelia D’Souza: The super adorable Jodi of Bollywood is another good example of the inter-faith marriage where Genelia belongs to the Christian religion Catholic to be precise and Riteish is a Hindu (Maharashtrian). They got married in both Maharashtrian and Christian traditions and accepting each other’s religion, to show how much they value each other’s traditions. They are blessed with two baby boys and are quite popular on social media, making couple memes.
- Sunil Dutt and Nargis: A true fairy-tale romance that has been retold a thousand times. Nargis was impressed with the brave act of Sunil Dutt when the set of Mother India caught fire & the fire broke out on the sets and he saved her. The amazing couple tied the knot in a secret ceremony in 1958, which didn’t reveal for almost a year. Sources say that after marriage, she converted herself to Hinduism and even changed her name to Nirmala Dutt.
- Sanjay Dutt and Dilnawaz Sheikh (Maanyata): Sanjay Dutt’s wife Maanyata, whose real name is Dilnawaz Sheikh, entered our Sanju’s life in 2006, through a common friend. She was the one person who stood by him in his hard times and won his heart. They got married despite different religious backgrounds and beliefs and along with a whopping 19-year-old age gap.
- Sohail Khan and Seema Sachdev: This couple’s love story is no less than any masala Bollywood flick as they chose to run away when Sohail’s first movie as a director, Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya, was released. Their first marriage was as per the Arya Samaj rituals as Seema is a Punjabi and later, they had a nikah as per Muslim tradition.
- Shirish Kunder and Farah Khan: These two love birds met on the sets of Main Hoon Naa, and eventually fell in love with each other in no time. According to the sources, they too faced the hurdle of religious difference along with an unusual age difference as well. Farah is 8 years older than Shirish but then age was just a number for them and they got married in 2004.
- Kunal Khemu and Soha Ali Khan: Perhaps the youngest couple in Bollywood to join the club. Soha Ali Khan and Kunal Khemu dated each other for a long time before they got married, in 2014. The couple fell in love when they were shooting for the film Dhoondthe Reh Jaoge in 2009. Also, sources say that they were even in a live-in relationship for some time before tying the knot.
- Shakeel Ladak and Amrita Arora: Amrita probably got influenced by her sister and followed her footsteps by marrying a Muslim guy, Shakeel Ladak. Amrita’s mother is a Christian (Catholic) while her father is a Punjabi. They got married in three different styles- Christian, Muslim and Punjabi to honour there diverse cultures they belong to. How cool was that, right?
- Mini Mathur & Kabir Khan: Kabir Khan was a documentary filmmaker and Mini was still hosting TV reality shows when the duo fell in love. However, when asked about her marriage to a Muslim guy in an interview, Mini said that there were some religious differences but it meant nothing to her, and Kabir was very supportive and did everything to impress her and her father.
- Hussain Kuwajerwala & Tina Darira: There was a time when these two college sweethearts were the most attractive, adorable and popular couple on TV reality shows like Nach Baliye. Hussain, a Muslim married his Hindu girlfriend, Tina after 9 years of dating, in the presence of both families in 2005 and the couple is still together.
- Atul Agnihotri and Alvira Khan: Born into a Punjabi Brahmin family, Atul Agnihotri, married Alvira Khan who is Bhaijaan Salman Khan’s sister. The religious difference meant nothing to them when the couple fell in love.
- Arshad Warsi and Maria Goretti: Arshad was invited to a college to judge a dance talent show in 1991 where he met Maria (one of the participants). A few months later, they met again with the help of a common friend and that’s how it all started. Maria, a Christian girl fall in love with a Muslim guy, Arshad Warsi and the two got married in 1999.
- Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak Shah: When you are supposed to be with someone you will know it even if you’re married to someone else. The ‘truly in love’ couple met on the set of a play, back in 1975 and they not only belonged to a different religious background, but Naseeruddin Shah had a daughter from his previous marriage. However, nothing could stop these birds to be with each other so they got married and certainly lived happily thereafter.
- Manoj Bajpai and Shabana Raza: This couple always likes to keep their relationship very private. Manoj who is a Hindu from Bihar who was once divorced, and met Shabana Raza who is a Muslim girl aka Neha at the premier of Satya and started dating. The couple got married in 2006 and now have a daughter together.
- Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab: The couple met on the sets of a show and got married in 1986. Zarina who is a Muslim and is six years older than Aditya, a Hindu by religion didn’t have to face any issues and even their families were quite supportive of this relationship. Both are still together and have kids.
- Suniel Shetty and Mana Qadri: Suniel Shetty met Mana Qadri when she was just 17 and Suniel’s career was just taking off. Mana is a Muslim, and Suniel is a Hindu belonging to Karnataka (southern part of India). After a 9-year-long relationship and convincing their families, the couple got married in 1991.
- Urmila Matondkar and Mir Mohsin Akhtar: They are known to be another addition to the list of Bollywood couples with interfaith marriages. The 90s heroine, Urmila Matondkar met Kashmiri businessman and model, Mohsin Akhtar Mir met in a function and immediately hit it off. Not only it was a Hindu-Muslim wedding, but Urmila is 10 years his senior which did not deter him, and they still got married in a private ceremony.