When former Indian pacer Zaheer Khan tied the knot with actress Sagarika Ghatge in Mumbai court on Nov 23, it wasn’t the first time that an Indian cricketer and a Bollywood actress were getting hitched. From Mansoor Ali Khan Patudi and Sharmila Tagore’s love affair in the 1960s to Virat and Anushka in the present day, cricketers and Bollywood actresses have from time to time seemed to have a thing for each other.
The honour of being the first ‘glamour’ couple often goes to Tiger Pataudi and Sharmila Tagore, who are said to have met in 1965. But it took him almost four years to persuade her and their families for this alliance. They ultimately married in the face of resistance from their unconvinced families.
A couple of decades hence, another love story became the talk of the town in the 1980s. This time around, it was Pakistan’s Mohsin Khan who was fell for Bollywood actress Reena Roy. Roy was at the peak of her career with box office hits like Naagin and Jaani Dushman when she started going out with the Pakistani opening batsman and all-rounder. The couple got married in 1983 and Roy gave up her flourishing career as an actress. However, this cross-border love story came to an end soon. The failure of Roy’s acting career coupled with Khan’s family not accepting Roy as their daughter-in-law meant that this short love story ended in a divorce.
Then came the 90s, when India opened up its economy and started going capitalist. This gave both cricket and Bollywood great opportunities to flourish and make an impact globally.
The 90s brought with it some of the biggest scandals of cricket fraternity. Former Indian skipper Mohammed Azharuddin was allegedly involved in those erroneous activities. Azharuddin’s affair with former Miss India Sangeeta Bijlani was one of the biggest gossips of the time.
Azharuddin was already married when he met Bijlani and things started off quite quickly. Azharuddin married Bijlani in 1996, thus ending his nine-year old first marriage. The former Indian skipper was later charged with match-fixing, which ended his cricketing career and resulted in a lifetime ban from professional cricket.
Another affair that attracted eyeballs was between actress Neena Gupta and West Indies’ legendary batsman Sir Vivian Richards. Richards was already married when he started an affair with Gupta in the 1980s. The couple didn’t tie the knot, but they were in a pretty serious relationship for a brief period and even begot a daughter, Masaba, who is now a fashion designer.
One more affair from the 90s was between former Indian cricketer Ravi Shastri and actress Amrita Singh. Ravi Shastri was said to be the most handsome cricketer of the Indian team. He had a huge female fan base back in his day. This ‘Champion of Champions’ was reportedly in a relationship with actress Amrita Singh. But they soon broke up and Shastri married Ritu Singh in the late 90s. Amrita Singh married Nawab Pataudi and Sharmila Tagore’s son and Bollywood actor, Saif Ali Khan.
Before that, Imran Khan-Zeenat Aman’s affair came to light in the 70s and became the most talked about story in the town. Imran was one of the most good-looking cricketers and Zeenat Aman was among the most beautiful women in Bollywood at the time. It was a match made in heaven! However, their affair was short-lived as the couple parted ways quite soon.
A lot of remarkable incidents took place in the first decade of the 21st century. There was the inaugural T-20 World Cup in 2007, followed by the IPL in 2008, both changing the face of cricket forever.
The heady first decade saw the emergence off flamboyant southpaw Yuvraj Singh.
Before Hazel Keech impressed him and the two settled down in 2016, it was the beautiful Mohabbatein girl Kim Sharma who clean bowled the cricketer. Their relationship was the talk of the town. However, things did not work out for the pair and they called it quits after a while.
Yuvraj also allegedly dated actress Deepika Paduokone.
Right now, Yuvraj is happily married with actress Hazel Keech. Yuvraj and Hazel were often spotted partying together and talks of their affair started when they attended Yuvraj’s teammate and close friend Harbhajan Singh’s wedding, who married yet another Bollywood diva, Geeta Basra.
Yuvraj is said to have popped the question to his lady-love in Bali, and the couple got married on November 30, 2016, in Chandigarh. Yuvraj and Hazel’s reception was held in Goa a week after their marriage. The who’s who of Bollywood and cricket attended their reception and that was where some of the cricket-Bollywood couples were also seen hand-in-hand.
On the night of Yuvraj Singh and Hazel Keech’s wedding reception, the another cricket-Bollywood couple was also seen together.
Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma finally made it official after keeping their affair under wraps for nearly four years. This Bollywood-meets-cricket love story has been the most talked about in recent times. From Virat blowing flying kisses to Anushka after hitting a century in a match, to standing by her when she was trolled by fans and professing his love for her on social media, the duo have become rather open about their relationship.
Virat and Anushka, also called ‘Virnushka’ by their fans, have made several appearances in weddings and red-carpet events. There are speculations that an engagement is around the corner.
Well, as they say, love knows no boundaries and these Bollywood-meets-cricket love stories prove exactly the same.