Sourav Ganguly Marriage: Falling For The Girl Next Door

Sourav Ganguly was a visionary, and one of the greatest Indian cricket team captains ever. He led the side to the most number of wins in test cricket, and showed great strength, character and leadership which laid the bedrock for the successive generations of superstars. Along with his proven skills at the helm, he always encouraged and endorsed the inflow of young talent in the Indian cricket team, thus also making him a brilliant selector.

Sourav married his childhood sweetheart Dona Ganguly in 1997 after immense family resistance from both sides. Despite the fact that the couple eloped, their families mellowed down and invariably gave their consent to their children. But it has not been a smooth ride though since Sourav allegedly got involved with the actress Nagma. It is said that they even secretly got married but Dona and Sourav rubbished it all thereafter. So was Sourav sailing two ships at once? Let’s find out.

Sourav Ganguly – A Cricketing Legend

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Sourav Ganguly was born on 8th July 1972 in an affluent Bengali family residing in Kolkata. He received all of his education from this city, and grew up playing football, which was in fact the sport he loved the most. It was when his elder brother Snehasish Ganguly became a state-level cricket player that he gave a serious thought to becoming a cricketer himself. His parents, though, were not keen on seeing their other son become a cricketer and wanted him to focus on his studies.

It was eventually his elder brother who persuaded and convinced their father to enrol Sourav into a cricket academy. Sourav began his practice as a left-hand batsman despite being a right-hander. He later shared that he did so to use his brother’s cricket equipment, since his brother was left-handed.

After playing at college level, Sourav Ganguly got his first opportunity in first-class cricket in 1989 when he was selected for the West Bengal state team. After playing in domestic cricket for three years, he made his debut in one-day international cricket in 1992 against West Indies. He was dropped from the team the same year but was reinstated in the 1996 as a replacement for Navjot Singh Sidhu.

The occasion was a test series in England – also Sourav’s debut test match. He scored an impressive 131, which went on to become the highest score a debutant cricketer has ever scored at Lord’s, the most historic cricket ground across the world. In the subsequent match he scored 136 and made a 255 run partnership with Sachin Tendulkar. It is these achievements that made everyone stand up and take notice of the 20-something Sourav Ganguly.

Ganguly went on to become the captain of the Indian cricket team in 2000, and led India through many victories in tests and one-day internationals. In the late 2000s, he began concentrating towards domestic cricket – predominantly focusing on the popular Indian Premier League (IPL).

Sourav Ganguly announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on 29th October 2012. He currently works as the President of the Cricket Association of Bengal and President of the Editorial Board for Wisden India.

Dona Roy – The Girl Next Door

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Sourav Ganguly tied the knot with his childhood flame Dona Roy on 21st February 1997 in a grand wedding ceremony at Kolkata. Dona Roy (b. 22nd August 1976) is a classically trained Odissi dancer who began dancing at the tender age of three. Just like Sourav, Dona hailed from a well to do business family, and the Roys and Gangulys lived as neighbours – sharing a common boundary wall, in the same locality. Needless to say Dona and Sourav would cross paths several times ever since they were little, and both were quite curious to learn more about one another.

“While playing football, while going somewhere. I could see her, may be way too much.”
– Sourav Ganguly on his courtship with Dona

The two always knew one another since they would encounter each other every day but were not exactly friends though. As they grew up, the courteous eye contact began beaming a more amorous look. Whenever Sourav would play badminton and the feather would fall in Dona’s compound she would rush to recover it so that she could have an excuse to talk to Sourav.

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By the time the pair was in junior college, they had very much realised that they have fallen in love. They knew that their parents would never endorse their relationship since their families were not on good terms. Sourav and Dona would sneak out on the pretext of meeting a friend and would then roam hand-in-hand at a local market, where is was tough for anyone to spot them. They eventually had a proper ‘first date’ at a Chinese restaurant where Dona was left awestruck by Sourav’s appetite!

“He ate most of it… I was thinking he eats so much!”
– Dona Ganguly about her first date with Sourav Ganguly

The couple saw each other for many years this way. By 1996, Sourav had carved a place for himself in Indian cricket, and he felt that time was ripe for him to get espoused with Dona.

The Secret Wedding

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After making a smashing test debut in England, Sourav returned home in Kolkata beaming with joy and confidence. After reaching home he rang one of his best friend and shared his intentions of tying the knot with Dona. For Sourav, it was the right time and right moment to get married with the lady whom he had been dating for years. Thus the plan was hatched to have a civil marriage at the registrar with only close friends as witnesses.

When Sourav and Dona arrived at the venue, albeit separately, they were stunned to see a huge crowd of their friends and acquaintances present at the registrar office already. Someone had spilled the beans. Sourav’s close friend and former Ranji trophy player, whom Sourav once referred to as ‘Bannerjee’ in an interview, realised that with such crowd, the news would be all over the press.

He had the couple make a hasty retreat and got the registrar to join them at his own residence. It is here Sourav and Dona signed on the dotted line in August 1996, and declared themselves as partners for life. After the mini-ceremony the two returned home – like nothing had just happened.

Not A Secret For Long And The Second Wedding

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The couple managed to keep their wedding a secret for six months, after which their parents started looking for suitable matches for their children! Eventually a local newspaper got a whiff of the secret wedlock and ran a column about the rising cricketing star and his less known wife. It was at that moment they realised they need to make a revelation, which they did so in February 1997.

Needless to say the parents were left stunned and fuming by the secret wedding between two families that were nearly sworn enemies. The back-story is that Sourav and Dona’s fathers were business partners at one point of time, and good friends as well. The land on which their houses stood was purchased by them together, where each built their own house without partitioning the land. But some years later they landed in a serious dispute and disbanded their conjoint business to start their independent enterprise.

It is then that they built the boundary wall, and stopped seeing eye to eye. Hence, the Roys and Gangulys would never assent to the marriage owing to this bitter past. But the acrimony and animosity could little to change the minds of the young lovers, and finally the families had no choice but to cave-in.

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Sourav and Dona had a grand wedding ceremony – complete with the presence of family and friends on 21st February 1997. Much to delight of the couple, the families buried the hatchet and made a fresh start with a cordial relationship.

Nagma – Getting Involved With The Actress

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In 2001, news started surfacing that the actress Nagma and Sourav were spotted at a temple in Andhra Pradesh where they performed a certain ceremony, which is only performed by married couples. It was later learnt that the pair had met in Chennai, and had drove all the way to the temple. The news was lapped up by the tabloids and the media, and given a front page coverage especially in Sourav’s home state of West Bengal.

It left Sourav red-faced, and apparently his wife Dona even had a showdown with him at a luxury hotel in New Delhi. She is said to have consulted a divorce lawyer and shifted to her parents place, next door. Coincidentally it was the same year Sourav and Dona had their first and only child, a daughter whom they named Sana.

It was eventually learnt that the Sourav and Nagma had met during the 1999 World Cup at London. It is still not known how love transpired between the two, but for the time being they denied any such alliance. Sourav received support from his family with his father-in-law going as far as stating that the images of Sourav and Nagma’s marriage were morphed and not true. Through the spurt of denials from all parties, the Sourav Ganguly marriage with Nagma lost its sheen and faded into oblivion.

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In 2003, Nagma gave a candid interview to an online publication in which she acknowledged having had a minor fling with Sourav. She said that the couple dissolved their relationship for the bigger cause and greater good. She did not elaborate on the alleged marriage though.

“There was a career at stake, besides other things, so one had to part. One had to weigh a lot of things, rather than be on an ego trip and insist on being together.”
– Nagma about her relationship with Sourav Ganguly

Both Sourav and Dona declined to comment on the sensational confession of Nagma, and instead shared that they have complete faith in their marriage and in one another. It slowly slipped out of public memory, and is firmly a relic of the past.

Happily Ever After Indeed

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Sourav and Dona have been in a firm relationship ever since. Their daughter Sana is walking in the footsteps of her mother and is learning classical Odissi dance. The Ganguly family is known to be one of the most low profile families in the cricketing world and they love it that way. On that note, we’d like to wish this happy family all the very best for the future.

Images Source: 13, 4, 6

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