Monday, 30th October 2017

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Live-in Genes

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By TT Bureau
  • Published 10.01.08


They are the divine lovers who permeate Indian culture, music, art and consciousness like no other. Divine consorts Radha and Krishna were never married, and Radha was married when she would see Krishna, and Krishna was later to marry, but who cares about their wedded partners? However, it is not certain if Krishna cherished the idea of making an official appearance with Radha, for she had been dumped when Krishna, the ex-cowherd, was the political leader, ruling Kurukshetra, and later, the leader of Dwarka. But Radha is worshipped with Krishna, not Rukmini or Satyabhama, his legally wedded wives.


The power couple from the south. Having given the young Jayalalithaa a break in films, MGR was also responsible for initiating her into politics. The much-married and much older MGR (he was 31 years senior to her) was completely besotted by Jayalalithaa — she not only landed plum roles in all his films, she also quickly rose to prominence in the AIADMK party, under the aegis of MGR. However, the two never really made public appearances as a “couple”, with MGR preferring to take along wife Janaki to official functions. Following MGR’s death in 1987, Jayalalithaa was humiliated and even physically assaulted by people close to Janaki. But today, Jayalalithaa is MGR’s political successor.


The two decided to do the decent thing. But Prince of Wales Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles were a couple from long before. Not that they were spared their share of trouble. Diana publicly blamed the relationship for her failing marriage. It is said that fans of Princess Diana once pelted Camilla with bread rolls in the supermarket. In the wake of Diana’s death, they often attracted rage whenever they appeared together. And even now, after the two are married, and much of the anger against her has been erased, Camilla continues to be called the Duchess of Cornwall, and not the Princess of Wales, the title that belonged to Diana.


The power couple of Hollywood, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, are living in sin too. Unmarried with four children, Brangelina have already made a trip to India together — a trip where they were chased by the paparazzi and had to quell charges of racism against their bodyguards. But fortunately for them, no one objected to them on moral grounds.

Cleopatra-Julius Caesar/Mark Antony

The beautiful Egyptian queen had relationships with both Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. Both began with her attempt to keep the Roman rulers from taking away her kingdom. Her relationship with Mark Antony blossomed, till the flames of their passion set the world on fire. Antony was defeated by Octavius and committed suicide, shortly after which Cleopatra killed herself too. To become immortal as lovers. And no, Antony was not shy of making official appearances with Cleopatra.

Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon was not only a courageous general and a shrewd politician, he was also a passionate lover. Married to the much older Josephine, who was mistress to many leading political figures of the time, Napoleon himself moved from one mistress to another, with Josephine even chancing upon her husband with her lady-in-waiting. And although he had a string of mistresses, Napoleon is said to have said: “Power is my mistress.” That way, Napoleon could go on a power trip anywhere with his mistress, without raising eyebrows.


Mrichchhakatika is the story of a passionate love affair between Vasantasena, a beautiful and renowned courtesan of Ujjain, and Charudatt, an impoverished Brahmin youth. Despite their very different lives — the opulent life of Vasantasena and the simple and ascetic life of a young Charudutt, they fall headlong into love, despite Charudutt’s marriage. They are an icon from ancient Indian literature. Utsav, a 1984 Hindi film by Girish Karnad, was based on an adaptation of this play, which led to the discovery of Shekhar Suman.

Uttam Kumar-Supriya Chowdhury

The greatest hero of Bengali cinema and the talented actress not only featured in many successful films together, their relationship extended beyond the screen as well. The fact that both were married did not deter Uttam and Supriya from throwing caution to the wind as they flaunted their relationship to the world. The two lived together for 17 years until Uttam Kumar’s death in 1980. Supriya still hasn’t stopped talking about how to prepare his favourite chingri dish.

And Salman Khan-Katrina Kaif and John-Bips are still rampant.