Randhir Kapoor's Marriage: Ambition, Separation, Still Married?

Randhir Kapoor was the blue-eyed boy of Kapoor Khandaan and when he fell for the pretty Babita, little did he know that it would mark the beginning of a topsy-turvy relationship. Babita and Randhir Kapoor’s marriage was not just something that raised eyebrows in the Kapoor family but also broke the orthodox tradition of not marrying actresses, which the clan ostentatiously followed for two generations. In spite of everything that happened, and all the hoopla around their alleged divorce, the two continue to be wife and husband despite living miles away in the same city. Let’s take a closer look at what caused the discord in Randhir Kapoor’s marriage.

The Filmmaker’s Son And An Actor’s Daughter

Randhir Kapoor's Marriage - Randhir Kapoor

Randhir Kapoor was born on 15th February, 1947, as the eldest son of the legendary Indian filmmaker Raj Kapoor. Being a part of the Kapoor family meant that his default career stream would be acting and filmmaking. Randhir grew up in Mumbai and completed his higher education from Dehradun, having performed as a child artist, and later on in some more supporting roles. He eventually making his directorial debut with the 1971 film Kal Aaj Aur Kal, which starred his father, grandfather and Babita, then his girlfriend. Babita at the time was already an accomplished actress.

Randhir’s film career was doing well. post Kal Aaj Aur Kal. He starred with many actors and actresses, including Mithun, Shashi, Rekha, mostly in multi starers, with a career reminiscent of Saif’s. But his career took a dip in the 1980s, and eventually he made his return at the turn of the century with a supporting roles, and was in Housefull. Since then, he has focused on playing supporting roles.

Babita was born Babita Shivdasani on 20th April, 1948, to a Sindhi actor father and a British mother. Babita’s father Hari Shivdasani was an established actor before India’s Independence, with the controversial Bharat Ki Beti. Growing up, Babita was groomed to be an actress, and she made her debut in the year 1966 with Dus Lakh. Ramesh Sippy originally wanted her for Andaaz, but her father thought it was contrary to her glamour girl image and got Babita to turn it down. Ramesh Sippy then planned to have Babita and Rajesh Khanna launched in Raaz. Raaz, with Khanna, made her a household name. She worked in a total of 19 films in her career, all hits, with Farz with Jeetender being one of her biggest blockbusters. She cut her immensely successful career short and quit acting after tying the knot with Randhir Kapoor, as was Raj Kapoor’s wish.

[Read More: Saif Ali Khan And Kareena Kapoor Wedding]

The Secret Courtship And Babita And Randhir Kapoor’s Marriage

Randhir Kapoor's Marriage - Randhir And Babita's Wedding

Randhir Kapoor is said to have met Babita somewhere around 1969. Babita was accompanying her father on film shoots for Sangam, with Raj Kapoor. Randhir was accompanying his father for the making of the film, Raj was acting and directing, and the two happened to bump into one another on the sets. They had met before on the sets of her and Shammi Kapoor’s movie. Needless to say, Randhir Kapoor fell for the doe-eyed beauty and started off a friendship that soon manifested to a full-on romantic relationship. The couple kept it under the wraps though and would secretly date. But two years down the line, Babita became anxious about their relationship since she did not foresee herself getting espoused to Randhir. It was a Kapoor family tradition to not marry actresses. So she told him to either marry her or dump her. Randhir chose to marry her. He wasn’t sure how to tell his family. But he had a plan up his sleeve and decided to set up a virtual meeting of his family with Babita in the most filmy way as possible.

Randhir signed Babita as the lead actress in his directorial debut film Kal Aaj Aur Kal in the year 1971. The film also had the Kapoor family chieftain Prithviraj Kapoor, and the three generations played their real life relationships on the big screen. Signing Babita in the role of his love interest was one way Randhir thought he could acquaint his family with the girl he loved. While Raj Kapoor had no trouble working on the professional front with Babita, he was appalled by his son’s intention to make her the real life bahu. The couple invariably met with stiff resistance, but seeing their determination, the family caved-in on the condition that Babita would quit acting after her and Randhir Kapoor’s marriage happened. Babita agreed to this patriarchal tradition, and Randhir and Babita tied the knot on 6th November, 1971, in a traditional Punjabi wedding at the plush Kapoor residence in Mumbai. Randhir Kapoor’s marriage to Babita was seen as the perfect match, of the real reigning queen and king of Bollywood. But things would change.

The Tumultuous Journey

Randhir Kapoor's Marriage - Randhir And Babita With Karishma And Kareena In 1987

Things were going pretty smooth in Babita and Randhir Kapoor’s marriage, in the first few years of their married life. Despite the fact that Babita had quit her flourishing film career, she never let it become a bone of contention in her relationship with her husband or in-laws. Randhir was doing well in his film career and the couple were blessed with their first daughter Karisma Kapoor in 1974. Things would have been a cakewalk all the way had Randhir’s career not taken a dip in the year 1980. During that phase, Randhir is said to have developed a sense of casualness towards choosing films and he would often spend substantial time with his friends drinking and merrymaking. This was something that did not go down well with his wife, and the birth of their second daughter Kareena in the year 1981 added to her woes. She would even request her father-in-law Raj Kapoor to intervene but to no avail. Eventually, by mid-1980s, Randhir had developed an image of a partying ‘flop hero.’ By 1987, things had gone beyond Babita’s control and she decided to separate from Randhir. News reached the media soon that Babita and Randhir Kapoor’s marriage was in trouble, amid speculations of a divorce.

[Read More: Raj Kapoor Marriage]

The Marriage Goes Estranged

Randhir Kapoor's Marriage - Karishma, Randhir and Babita

The contrasting personalities of the couple and Randhir Kapoor’s downhill fall finally took a toll on his relationship with his wife Babita. In the year 1988, Babita asked Randhir to leave their apartment. Randhir went back to live with his parents and Babita stayed back in the apartment with her two daughters. Raj Kapoor was completely against divorce, to say the least of a much hyped one. Everyone agreed, temporarily. It was a difficult phase in her life, and it is said that despite all that happened, she never demanded any compensation or even divorce from Randhir.

But Babita had not just severed ties with Randhir but also with the Kapoor clan, whom she blamed for the mess Randhir had become. She even decided that it was time she did something that no daughter-in-law of Kapoor family would never dare do; she decided to groom both her daughters to become actresses. Prior to this, no Kapoor woman had ever been allowed into the industry, and Raj Kapoor was reportedly against Karishma’s career, despite many offers. It was her resolute effort that bagged Karisma Kapoor her first role in veteran producer Ramanaidu’s 1991 Hindi film Prem Qaidi. Babita reprised her efforts in 1999, which landed her second daughter Kareena her debut film with Abhisek in Refugee, and later with Yash Raj’s banner.

Randhir Kapoor's Marriage - Babita With Kareena And Karishma

All this while, Babita and Randhir Kapoor’s marriage was not dissolved. But Randhir and Babita had little contact and most of their conversations would be terse. It is said though that their daughter Karisma played a strong catalyst in bringing back her estranged parents once again under the same roof. Her efforts met success in 2007 when Randhir and Babita reconciled after 19 years of separation and buried their differences. It was a moment their two daughters had been awaiting for a really long time.

[Read More: Karisma Kapoor’s Wedding]

Reconciled But With A Rift

Randhir Kapoor's Marriage - Randhir And Babita With Karishma And Kareena

Despite the bonhomie between Randhir and Babita, it is said they continue to live separately due to the fact that two decades of separation has totally transformed their personalities. Although they do meet often and spend quality time together, they are not that doting pair they once used to be in their younger days. In spite of that though, they continue to be a common support to their two daughters. In fact, when Karisma was going through a tough phase in her own marriage, it was Randhir and Babita who came to her rescue by looking after her children and providing legal help. Babita encouraged her daughters to enter showbiz and kind of broke the norm. No Kapoor girl or bahu ever dared show that courage, and in spite of living separately, somewhere deep down even Randhir was silently supporting and cheering his wife’s brave efforts. We sign off on that positive note on Babita and Randhir Kapoor’s marriage, and wish the adorable parents of Karisma and Kareena all the very best.

Images Source: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6

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