came from nowhere to achieve instant Bollywood superstardom. When she was signed on as the lead of Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi opposite Shah Rukh Khan, the question in everyone's mind was: who is this Bangalore model?
It was answered soon enough when birthday girl Anushka made a successful debut and then went on to deliver one hit after another. However, it was her real-life jodi with Indian cricket team's vice-captain Virat Kohli which was on people's minds this past year even as she delivered superb performances in hits like PK and NH 10.
Virat Kohli was spotted at the Mumbai airport on May 1.
Theirs has been a love story which has been feted and reviled in equal parts. Every time Virat's performance tanks, it is blamed on Anushka. No, don't go looking for logic here for that's not how fans of Indian cricket work.
Anushka cheers on Virat from the stands.
Only, Anushka has handled this love-hate relationship with maturity and an innate poise, and, if anything, has emerged stronger from it. Like it or hate it, Anushka and Virat's was the love story which was on our mind last year. And isn't it a match made in heaven: cricket royalty meets Bollywood queen in-waiting?
Once she confirmed the relationship in an interview, she has said little about it in any public fora. Virat, on the other hand, has been quick to take umbrage when someone belittles his ladylove.
To thee, my love: Virat publicly acknowledges his ladylove
In November last year, after he and Anushka took a lot of heat over his bad form, Virat celebrated his 32nd half century by blowing a kiss to Anushka who was watching from the stands.
After months of a diplomatic silence on her relationship status, interspersed by some stout denials to Karan Johar on Koffee with Karan, Anushka finally capitulated. In an interview, she said, "I am in a relationship with him (Virat) and I have respect for my relationship. The only reason I don't talk about it is because we don't know where to draw the boundary. If someone comes out in the open and tells you that yes I am in a relationship and if you are going to constantly just keep asking questions, it's like my personal space isn't being respected."
Shutterbugs get a glare from Virat as Anushka looks the other way.
That did not stop the duo from being seen out in public, or media from clicking them. Living under the spotlight all the time must have affected the couple because Virat launched an expletive-leaden attack on an HT journalist while the World Cup was going on, mistaking him for a mediaperson who had written an article about him and Anushka.
The real test of their relationship was yet to come: India's 95-run defeat during the World Cup semi-final was pinned on an unlikely target - Anushka. She was trolled and called derogatory names.
But if internet bullies thought that it will bog the star couple down, they were mistaken. The two returned to India, hand-in-hand and made their stance very clear. As Bollywood came out in Anushka's support, Virat told his fans and detractors to take it down a notch.
Anushka and Virat return from Australia hand-in-hand.
"My relationship with Anushka has only become stronger because of that incident. We have gone through this together. If someone is saying bad things about my partner, obviously I will get angry because that's a very personal thing to me," said the cricketer in an interview.
Proving once again how strong their bond is, he added, "When she was there clapping for me when I got a 100, I felt very happy and relieved. It was there for people to see what Anushka's presence can do to me… I thought with me performing and she clapping in Australia, we had made a joint statement."
Hum saath saath hain: Anushka and Virat on RCB bus.
And that you did. Take that, bullies for this past year belonged to them. And on Anushka's birthday today, we hope that we see more of this couple in the years to come.