5 super Bollywood families symbolising the spirit of secularism

From Sunil Dutt-Nargis to Ali Fazal-Richa Chadha, there are more Hindu-Muslim couples in Bollywood than in another walk of Indian life

Salman Khan (File Photo)
Salman Khan (File Photo)

Subhash K Jha

From Sunil Dutt-Nargis to Ali Fazal-Richa Chadha, there are more Hindu-Muslim couples in Bollywood than in another walk of Indian life. As the great Gulzar Saab once said to me, ‘When you fall in love you don’t check each other’s religious identity first. Mohabbat mazhab nahin dekhta.’ Gulzar, a Sikh, writes and speaks fluent Urdu. So did another Sikh litterateur Rajinder Singh Bedi and super-journalist Khushwant Singh. Here’s looking at 5 families that represent the secular spirit at its supremest.

1. Salman Khan: Salman’s first girlfriend Sangeeta Bijlani was a Hindu (who later married a Muslim cricketer). Salman’s latest girlfriend is a Caucasian Christian. He has never sought love on the grounds of religious identity.His home is teeming with liberal marriages. Salman’s father writer Salim Khan’s first wife (Salman’s mother) is a Hindu. Salim Saab’s second wife Helen is a Catholic. Salman’s brothers Arbaaz and Sohail married Hindu women, and now Arbaaz, divorced, is seeing a Caucasian woman. In Salman’s home Eid, Diwali and Christmas are all celebrated with equal gusto.

2. Saif Ali Khan: Saif’s first wife Amrita Singh was a Sikh. His second wife Kareena is a Hindu. Saif’s mother, the legendary Sharmila Tagore, was happily married for 42 years to Muslim cricketer Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi. Saif’s children are equally at home with Muslim and Hindu tenets.

3. Shah Rukh Khan: Married blissfully to a Hindu Gauri Chibber. Shah Rukh’s three children have been taught the oneness of God by their parents. They celebrate Eid and Diwali with equal fervor. No matter how much he is trolled for his secularism, SRK remains above religious bigotry. Kuch bhi keh lo, phir bhi dil hai Hindustani.

4. Alia Bhatt: Her dad, filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, is half-Hindu, half-Muslim. Her mom Soni Razdan, who is Mahesh’s second wife, is a Christian-Hindu. Her father is a Kashmiri Pandit and her mother a German. Mahesh Bhatt’s first wife Kiran is a Hindu. And Mahesh’s children from his first marriage Sunny and Pooja are neither Hindu nor Muslim, or maybe both. Muslim-Christian-Hindu Alia marred into a Hindu family to Ranbir Kapoor.

5. Sanjay Dutt: Dutt’s mother, the mythical actress Nargis, a devout Muslim, was married to the Hindu star Sunil Dutt. Sanjay grew up knowing no different between Allah and Ram. Sanjay is married to Maanyata whose original name was Dilnawaz. Sanjay Dutt was earlier married to the Hindu actress Richa Sharma. He has a daughter from his first marriage. In the Dutt household, Eid and Diwali are equally important. His kids don’t know the difference.

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