When it comes to love stories, few people have had as dramatic a love life as Shahrukh Khan, the Badshah of Bollywood! As I’m sure you’d know, Shahrukh and his wife, Gauri have been quite happily married for the past 23 years, and they’re still going strong! In a world where relationships and love is fickle and tumultuous, their love stands as a beacon of hope for all of his fans. Not only do they have three lovely children, but they are definitely the Bollywood power couple who handle their busy schedules and work with great ease, and quite a bit of grace.
How It All Began: A Prelude To The Gauri – Shahrukh Khan Marriage:
Their love story began the way many great stories do – love at first sight! Apparently, Shahrukh and Gauri met at a party in Delhi, years before Shahrukh came into any fame. Shahrukh looked across and saw her dancing, and was immediately intrigued and captivated by this lovely young lady. Having been termed “anti-social” and “shy” throughout his childhood, it was no easy feat for him to approach her. But, biding all the courage he could find, this is exactly what he did. And he was turned down – at first! She told him that she was waiting for her boyfriend and that she wouldn’t dance with him. But Shahrukh soon discovered that she was, in fact waiting for her brother, and not a boyfriend. Seeing a ray of hope, he went up to her and asked her to think of him too as her brother. She smiled, and the rest, as they say, is history. They soon couldn’t help feeling so hopelessly attracted to each other. Shahrukh recounts those days in an interview he gave a few years earlier, “I danced with her, she was very good. I asked for her telephone number and she was the first girl with whom I had danced or asked for their number. I felt that she is the one for me, as she has not told me a ‘no’ for now.”
And so they started dating each other, albeit in secret. Gauri was from a family of Hindu Brahmins and Shahrukh was a rugged looking Muslim guy, who had yet to make his own mark in the world and it was the 80’s, you get the picture, right? They had clandestine meetings and romantic exchanges for the better part of five years. She was completely taken with his charm, humour and the easy magnetism that flows oh-so-naturally from him. They would meet often, but were worried about being caught or noticed.
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The Problems Begin
But then again, you know that the course of true love never did run smooth. Apparently, Gauri had started feeling rather stifled because of how possessive Shahrukh was. Shahrukh wouldn’t want her to wear a swimsuit to the pool, or even leave her hair open because he knew how pretty she looked, and would get upset if he caught other men looking at her. This, understandably infuriated Gauri, and she decided to leave to Mumbai without telling him! The day before she left was her birthday, and Shahrukh had filled up his room with balloons, flowers, lots of presents and even a cake. She was very emotional and distraught that night, as Shahrukh recalled later in an interview. He says about this period of his life, “At one point of time, I was extremely possessive about Gauri. I would fight with her if she wore a swimsuit to the pool or even if she left her hair loose. She looked very pretty when she opened her hair and I didn’t want other boys to look at her. It was basically insecurity because we couldn’t talk about our relationship. We didn’t meet so often. But I was extremely insanely possessive.”
But as soon as Shahrukh came to know that Gauri had left the city, he was very distraught and upset. In fact, he describes himself as having become quite frantic. But thankfully, he had some good friends he could rely on and he opened up to them about his enkindled passion for Gauri. His friends – Ashish and Benny – were there to support him in his time of need. Without them, who knows what could have happened? But the person who had the single greatest say in the matter was Shahrukh’s mother, Lateef Fatima Khan. She was incredibly supportive of her little boy, and made sure that she gave him all the moral support that she could muster. She was the one who told him to not let the love of his life slip away from him. She actually asked him to leave for Mumbai to win her back. She sent him away with a lot of blessings and even gave him Rs. 10,000 for the journey.
When he reached Mumbai, he had not a blessed clue about the whereabouts of his lady love. It was him, and a couple of friends searching for his love in the big, bad city! He was fortunate enough to be able to spend the first couple of days in his friend’s house. But the other times, he would sleep on the pavements of Mumbai, near Oberoi. Funnily enough, he talks about how he and his friends used to sneak into Hotel Taj early in the morning in order to make use of the toilets there. These were being re-built in the 1990’s and they took this golden opportunity to get their morning ablutions out of the way! And the little money that he did carry with him was rapidly dwindling by the day, and he was no closer to finding Gauri.
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The Reunion In Mumbai
While Shahrukh was indeed struggling then, he sure did not leave any stone unturned in searching for her. His stock of money had run out, and he had to resort to dire means like selling off his camera to continue his stay in Mumbai! Little did he know then that he would soon become the “King Khan” of Bollywood, and millions in the city would flock to him adoringly. But he showed immense grit, passion and courage in the face of all odds. But, Shahrukh made it a point to look for Gauri in the beaches, because he knew how much she loved beaches. When Shahrukh was down to his last twenty bucks, he had already visited Aksa beach that day. Having seen no trace of his lady love, he had even taken a ferry all the way to Gorai Beach. He had no luck there either. Feeling rather dejected, they were returning in a hurry from Gorai beach so as to not miss their ferry back, when he heard a few people playing in the beach in not very dulcet tones. Their auto driver informed him that this was a private beach. Shahrukh had a stroke of intuitive inspiration, and asked him to take them there. As soon as he walked into the beach, he knew that his long journey had come to an end at last. He was home. She was standing in the water, wearing a simple T-shirt. As soon as they saw each other, she came running to him and they both cried and hugged each other. This was the moment when they realized they couldn’t live without each other. It almost makes us feel that Shakespeare wrote the lines “O mistress mine, where are you roaming? O, stay and hear; your true love’s coming.” specially for this moment! At that glorious moment, Shahrukh says he no longer cared about anything else but her, and the fact that he loved her more than anything else in the world. He says, “It was then that I realized I was being unreasonably possessive. I also realized that no one could ever love Gauri the way I loved her and that gave me tremendous confidence.” Once he realized that he had been rather silly about the whole thing, their relationship took on a new level of seriousness.
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“Will You Marry Me?” – How Shahrukh Popped The Question
Once Shahrukh and gauri had reached a certain degree of comfort and maturity in their relationship, Shahrukh felt the need to take their relationship to the next level. Being the shy guy that he was, he had to wait for days to muster up the courage to propose to her. How he popped the question to her is a very cute and adorable story, and very different from Shahrukh’s on-screen, suave persona. He had to drop her off at home in his Fiat car. Once she got down, he asked her if she would marry him. But, he was so nervous that he actually drove off in a hurry without waiting to hear whether she would say yes or no! But, fortunately yes was what she said, and the Gauri – Shahrukh Khan marriage was in the offing!
But this didn’t mean that it was the end to all their troubles. Gauri’s parents were very much against the match. At first they were all right with it, because they had seen him on television playing a character called Abhimanyu. But, as soon as they realized that his name was Shahrukh Khan, they were completely against it! But, Shahrukh, being the sweetheart that he is, completely understood their apprehensions. He says, “I don’t blame them. They may have thought that any day they would have got a better deal for Gauri. Let’s put it this way. If my daughter brought in somebody like me, I would hit the ceiling”.
But just like the story of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, the thought of eloping with each other was never under consideration for this love-struck couple. The onus fell on Shahrukh to do something about it and he gradually won over all the members of her family. He admits to being very intimidated by Gauri’s brother, who carried a knife with him! But after a while, Gauri’s family agreed to the match.
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They Gauri – Shahrukh Khan wedding was decidedly a Hindu-style affair, as well as a Court Marriage, which is mandatory for couples who marry outside their religion. They tried to keep it a secret for as long as they could, but our courts being what they are, had put up a notice about their impending nuptials. Once people got to know, there were many who tried hard to dissuade them from the match. Shahrukh was ambushed by some Muslim Organizations who held a morcha outside his house. But in spite of all these impediments, their love for each other remained the calm amidst the storm. Perhaps some of the Hindu revivalists in our country today can take a leaf out of their book to see how secularism really works.
They did end up having a grand Hindu marriage, with all its traditions and rituals. And no one seems to have enjoyed it more than Shahrukh himself. He says that his in-laws were surprised at how handsome he actually looked when he dressed up. The car that was supposed to pick Gauri up stopped working, and King Khan himself stepped up and drove her to the wedding. He then drove back to get changed. He then came back riding on a ghoda, as is tradition. But on the way, he climbed on an elephant and made his grand entrance! He remembers his baraat vividly, where he danced with great vigour and life for well over a kilometre!
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Gauri looked simply stunning in her traditional red lehenga, and classic gold jewellery. She sported a gorgeous bouffant updo that was prettily embellished by a traditional matha patti and a jaimala. Her natural beauty was taken to a whole different level when it was adorned with a traditional nathni. As is the custom, her hands were anointed with gorgeous mehndi designs that were further adorned by red-and-ivory chudas. She truly looked like a gorgeous queen from some time in the past – a perfect match for King Khan indeed! As for Shahrukh, he too looked extremely dapper with his black suit and traditional sehera. Their wedding was on 25 October, 1991. So now, even after twenty-three years of marriage, they are one of the few Bollywood couples who have yet to grow tired of each other. They both respect each other’s religion and ensure that they follow both at home. They also have three gorgeous children – Aryan, Suhana and AbRam Khan. Their abiding commitment to each other and their family is remarkable.
Here’s to many more years of bliss!