The Tumultuous Married Life A Cinema Phenomenon: Shekhar Kapur

By Sreoshi SenguptaSreoshi Sengupta  • 

Shekhar Kapur is one of the most renowned faces in cinema circles, with his talents and body of work renowned both in Bollywood as well as Hollywood. It is safe to say that Shekhar Kapur has carved a name for himself in the entertainment industry that will stay for some time yet.

A Bollywood Legend

Some of Shekhar Kapur’s most prominent directions in Bollywood remain firm crown favorites, including the family drama Masoom (1983) starring Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi and a young Jugal Hansraj; and the 1987 science-fiction film Mr. India starring Anil Kapoor, Sridevi and Amrish Puri in his most famous role as the villain Mogambo. Kapur is also the director behind the critically acclaimed movie, Bandit Queen (1994) that created a huge uproar in and outside India for its treatment of a very bold and violent social topic.

Fame In Hollywood

In Hollywood, Kapur made his presence felt for the first time by directing the Academy Award-winning period film Elizabeth in 1998, a fictional account of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The movie was nominated for seven Oscars. His fame reached greater heights with the release of his yet another directional phenomenon, the sequel to Elizabeth, named Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007). The movie starred Cate Blanchett as the protagonist. Kapur’s movie, The Four Feathers (2002) led to accusations of him being anti-British, but the director replied by saying that he was nothing of that sort, but he was merely anti-colonization.


Now let’s turn our attention to Shekhar Kapur’s tumultuous love life:

Shekhar And Shabana

In his younger days, Kapur was heavily smitten by Shabana Azmi, and soon their friendship turned into a full-fledged relationship. Though many of us know them to be a director and actor pair, very few and close knew about their romantic involvement and a seven-year long relationship. After a few years of dating reach other, it is said that they were living together too. But in spite of being in such a long relationship of seven years, they parted at the end but not on a bad note. The friendship between the two remained even though each of the two had moved on in their lives.
Shekhar had married Megha Gujral, and Shabana and Javed Akhtar (who was married at that time) fell in love. Shabana later got married to him. Even after settling down with different partners in their personal life, they continued to work together. When Shekhar was about to make his directorial debut, it was Shabana Azmi whom he selected as the lead actress. The movie, Masoom, tasted both commercial success and critical acclaim.

After that, the pair continued to work together and maintained a good relationship, and there were no sour feelings between Azmi and Gujral as they often worked in the same team headed by director Shekhar Kapoor.

First Marriage To Megha And Divorce

In the initial years he was married to Medha Gujral, who was the niece of our former Prime Minister, I.K. Gujral. After sharing a married life of almost a decade, they had a consensual and mutual divorce in the year 1994. Their marriage had been on the rocks for quite a bit of time and Medha no longer seemed involved in the marriage. Though it has always been said that Shekhar Kapur fell in love with Suchitra before deciding to divorce his first wife, the words of Medha’s sister Tani tell us a very different story.

In the biography Heartfelt, Medha Anup Jalota – by veteran film journalist Bharathi S Pradhan – we find that Medha was seemingly always upset with Shekhar over little things. She would complain to her sister saying, “When my guruji comes, he sits pointing his feet at him. He’s not interested in classical music.” Tani stated her views in the biography as such: “I said, you can’t make or break a marriage for reasons like that. But once she made up her mind, she was pretty stubborn about seeing it through. Shekhar, poor fellow, was pretty bemused and had no clue what was happening at first. The break-up didn’t happen in a well-placed, thought-out manner.”

Medha’s views regarding the matter can be observed through her quote saying, “When I wanted to separate from Shekhar, my mother was unhappy. It was the first divorce in the family. Midway, through our nine or 10-year-old marriage, I knew this was not working out. He was married to himself. When Shekhar and I decided to part, it was I who wanted to break it. So I moved out.”

The couple decided to take a weekend off and head to Samode Palace, Rajasthan to talk about the matter clearly before deciding on divorce. After coming back from the trip, they filed for divorce on mutual consent. In the Biography, Medha has revealed their feelings towards the divorce saying, “It was very clean and an easy separation. In fact, we even forgot to get divorced, just like I later forgot to get married to Anupji (Jalota). Our divorce came through six months after I started living with Anupji. I met him in June and in December Shekhar and I went to Delhi to file for our divorce.”

Marriage To Suchitra Krishnamoorthy – And Their Split

After his divorce in 1994, Shekhar Kapur took a while to get accustomed to the change, and with time, fell in love with Suchitra Krishnamoorthy – an actress, writer, painter and singer. They married in 1997 and have a daughter named Kaveri Kapur.

But Kapur was not even second time lucky and within a few years of marriage things went sour between the couple. The various rumours of him having affairs and Suchitra being an unstable and paranoid personality caused a crack in their relationship, and eventually led to their divorce. Suchitra later talked about how she felt overshadowed in the relationship and how she felt that she was slowly losing herself completely.

Speaking about the divorce, she said “I didn’t mind being eclipsed by Shekhar until I started to feel I was getting a raw deal as an individual. I started feeling I wasn’t getting the validation that I required as a woman and a wife. It was then that I decided to find my own space.”

Even though Shekhar thought highly of her and found her someone with whom he could relate well, it did not work out between them. Suchitra has openly said that she will always love him, but marriage is something they could not do together anymore.


Suchitra provides only this reason of moving away from Shekhar. She says, “I had just reached a stage where I didn’t want to be unhappy all the time. I wanted to laugh, I wanted to sing and dance. My whole life revolved around Shekhar. My music, my entire being was about him. And then to feel everything about the marriage was a lie…”

The identity crisis that Suchitra suffered in the marriage and their eventual split can be observed from her words, “In my head I was never only Mrs. Shekhar Kapoor. I had never legally changed my name. But yes, people did see me primarily as his wife. I’m proud of what Shekhar has achieved. But it’s got nothing to do with me…”


Twist In The Tale: An Affair With Priety Zinta?

But if we believe the common rumours and speculations, Shekhar Kapur had a warm and rather controversial relationship with Priety Zinta that did not go down down well with Suchitra. In fact, a ballistic Suchitra openly accused Priety of having an affair with her husband Shekhar and indirectly blamed her for their split. But Priety has straightforward denied the accusations. Priety refuted the accusations and went so far as to make a bold claim to the press by saying: “It is unfortunate that I am bearing the brunt of someone else’s paranoia. She’s clearly unstable and I wish her a speedy recovery.”

It is a very well known fact that at the time Suchitra was accusing her of being much more than friends with Shekhar Kapur, Priety was already in a serious relationship with the prominent industrialist Ness Wadia, with marriage plans imminent.

In any case, Shekhar and Suchitra are still friends and she is karmically connected to him, she believes. They have a beautiful daughter whom they completely adore. As far as their relationship is concerned, both believe they are in a state that has given them peace and mental stability, which is the best possible outcome for both.

Images Source: 1, 2, 34, 5, 6, 7

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