Back in the latter part of the 1960s, those of us inclined to watching movies thought Waheed Murad would marry Zeba. Or Nadeem would marry Shabana. There was the naïve belief in us that since these pairs were so popular with cinegoers, they could not but tie the knot in real life. Well, it did not happen that way. Zeba ended up marrying another actor, Mohammad Ali, clearly more versatile as a thespian than Waheed Murad. Nadeem did not marry Shabana. Should that have happened? Ah, perish the thought!
In the world of movies, though, there have been pairs who did well in cinema and at a point became couples in real life. Our very own Azim married the beautiful Sujata. It was, as far as we can tell, a happy marriage. In India, a forty-four year-old Dilip Kumar married the twenty-two year-old Saira Banu. The event took a good number of people by surprise, given the age difference between the two and given too all the reports in the preceding years of Dilip's links with many of his leading women in the movies. One of those women, Madhubala, was in the end to marry Kishore Kumar. But then, Kishore had a way of marrying all the time. Among the other women he transformed into his spouse were Yogeeta Bali and Leena Chandavarkar. Nargis and Sunil Dutt lived a fulfilling life in happy wedlock.
In Pakistan, the brothers Santosh and Darpan married the women who were the heroines in the movies opposite them. To the end, the marriages of Santosh-Sabiha and Darpan-Nayyar Sultana were pretty charming tales in wedlock. That is something you cannot quite say about Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, the latter turning into a psychological wreck inside the marriage at some point. Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor went into wild passion before proceeding into a wilder marriage, twice. The marriage between Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman did not last; and now Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones have made it known they wish to give each other some space. The actor Ronald Reagan married twice, both times to actresses. He married Jane Wyman in 1940. The marriage lasted seven years. In 1949, Reagan took Nancy Davis as his second wife.
Some marriages that should have been did not happen. Dev Anand and Suraiya could not marry because of the latter's infuriatingly interfering grandmother. And the Guru Dutt-Geeta Bali marriage was quite destroyed by Dutt's obsession with Waheeda Rehman. Dutt eventually took his own life. Bali died more of heartbreak than illness.
The writer is Executive Editor of The Daily Star