Tsk, tsk. Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan barely got a few hours of the limelight when Sanjay Dutt and Maanyata (his bride of many months) displaced them in the headlines. What a charade the Sanju-Maanya public wedding has been! Unwilling to admit that hed merrily gone through a private nikkah when he was supposed to be tense and meekly wooing the gods to deliver justice to him, Sanjay Dutt preferred to play along with his lawyers advice rather than play the officially wed, new bridegroom last year. Sanju even told the media that as per his promise that hed keep them posted about his marriage, here he was before them on his wedding day! Goofy and grinning like his Munna Bhai character, he won over the media and got the splash that he hoped to make. After all, he had to make it all official and legit before Maanyas baby bump began to show.
That Sanju chose to go through a ceremony in the company of his friends but not his siblings falls in with the pattern he set years ago when he wed Wife No. 2, Rhea Pillai, without his father or his sisters by his side. It was exactly the same month of February when Sanjay and Rhea had taken an impromptu decision to wind up a party in south Mumbai by waking up a pandit at Mahalaxmi temple and making Valentines Day their wedding day. Dad Sunil Dutt and sisters Namrata and Priya were duly informed in the morning, after Sanjay and Rhea returned home as man and wife. Looks like Sanju has a soft corner for Valentine weddings since he did it again this year, just three days prior to February 14.
If filmland bridegrooms do follow a pattern, Saif Ali Khans sound bites denying a secret marriage to Kareena (Bebo) Kapoor last week should be taken with a sackful of salt. Years ago, at the coffee shop of the Holiday Inn in Juhu, Mumbai, Saif was a peppy, immensely pleasant newcomer who had sat across the table and told me how ridiculously untrue the rumours of his secret nikkah with Amrita Singh were. He had been so glib and convincing, so honest and ready to meet your eye that hed have even passed a lie detector test. To top it, Amrita Singh had given a sincere interview to a prominent editor, asking the question, Are we lepers that we should deny a marriage?
Two days later, both Saif and Amrita sheepishly told the world that they were indeed married, but had denied the news because they wanted to first break it to their respective parents.
And so, when Saif Ali Khan looks clearly into the camera and denies his marriage to Kareena, you dont have to necessarily take his word for it. This is, after all, the 39-year-old who wears his heart on his bare, exposed forearm where Kareena is clearly tattooed in Devnagri, but says it is too private to discuss!
On the other hand, Saif has come a long way since he denied his marriage to the impulsive Dingy (Amrita Singh). In recent years, he has been forthcoming about his divorce with Amrita, his relationship with Rosa and the subsequent break up with her. In fact, even Kareenas rival, Bipasha Basu, has admired Saif for being man enough to acknowledge his relationship with Ms Kapoor.
Also, this secret Saif-Kareena marriage includes a Kapoor girl who has, thus far, been fairly frank about her life. The Kapoors more or less have a tradition of not fibbing over something important most times they choose to sidestep a tricky question rather than lie their way through it. Even sis Karisma always opted to be discreet about a situation instead of being blatantly dishonest about it.
Therefore, when Kareena goes on record to say, Rubbish! There is not an iota of truth in this rumour that we are married, you can believe her or at least give her the benefit of the doubt.
Coincidentally, heres what she said to me just a little before the secret marriage rumour began its round. Right now Im very ambitious. I want nothing to come in the way of achieving whatever I want in my career. I want to focus on my work for the next five-six years. And then let destiny lead me to the shaadi mandap!
I havent the foggiest idea why, almost like a peep into the near future, I asked her if shed ever opt for a quiet, secret marriage. Kareena had replied without hesitation, I would like the blessings of everyone, my family, the industry, so many people Ive worked with and shared good times with. They must all come and bless me and my man.
Lets keep our blessings on hold for now. And Bebo, dont let us down on this one.
Bharathi S. Pradhan is managing editor of Movie Mag International