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When stars tie the knot

In the wake of national speculation this week surrounding Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai, Dinesh Raheja looks at Bollywood's star marriages...

What happens after the public tamasha and the private honeymoon? What happens after the toasts have been made and the clinking of the crystal has dimmed?

Does the star union coast along on greased rails, because people in the same profession understand each other better? Or does it result in the clash of super-egos?

As the speculation regarding an Abhiwarya wedding reaches fever pitch, we look through Bollywood's case-files on previous star unions.

Dilip Kumar-Saira Banu (married 1966)

When 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 is her Bhojpuri film currently under production, or her television chat show, for which he even filled in as anchor.

Design: Uday Kuckian

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