As Bipasha Basu got married to Karan Singh Grover on Saturday, who has been divorced twice, we talk to experts and couples about how is society accepting such alliances.
Earlier this month, the actors had finally made their relationship public. They released an official statement announcing their marriage on April 30. But everything hasn’t always been smooth-sailing for this couple.
According to a report, Bipasha’s father, Hirak Basu, did not approve of their relationship initially because of Karan’s past marriages. The TV actor has been divorced twice before. However, her family eventually relented, and blessed the couple.
Many would like to believe that in today’s day and age, a divorce doesn’t change a person’s marital prospects much. But the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. In India, it’s not uncommon for parents to have reservations about getting their children married to divorcees. Take for instance, the case of 32-year-old Sahil Menon, a telecom professional, who got married at the age of 25, and got divorced two years later. When Menon wanted to marry his colleague, Anusha Nair (29), “all hell broke loose”. “Her parents made my life hell because they didn’t approve of her decision. They forced me to leave her, and when I didn’t do that, they even landed up at my house, a few times, when I was away at work, and created a scene. My parents were helpless. They pleaded with me to leave Anusha,” says Menon, adding that they stood their ground, and eventually tied the knot without her parents’ consent. “My in-laws were shocked when Anusha broke the news to them three months after our wedding. But, after a year, they came to terms with it, and accepted us,” says Menon.
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Moving back in time
Relationship expert Shyam Mithiya says that even today, Indian society has a largely prejudiced view towards divorcees. “Usually, marrying a person, who has been divorced earlier, carries a lot of stigma in India. Because of this, divorcees find it difficult to find partners,” he says, adding, “Most parents of people who want to marry divorcees are opposed to the union. From my experience in dealing with such cases, I can say that as many as 80% of all people don’t want their children to marry divorcees. The remaining 20% agree only if they know the person well. But still, there is some resistance initially.”
Surprisingly, it isn’t just the older generation that finds it difficult to accept a person’s marital past. Manju Dey learnt this the hard way. The 28-year-old, who works in the retail sector, got married when she was just 23. By the age of 25, she divorced her husband due to compatibility issues. A few months later, she found 28-year-old Namit Prakash on a match-making website. Prakash worked in the restaurant industry. “After my divorce, I had stopped talking about my past. But while talking to him one time, I inadvertently brought my ex-husband into our conversation. This is when I got to know that he hadn’t read my profile entirely, and had missed the divorced part before sending me the first message. All of a sudden, he was a changed man,” she says.
Dey reveals that when she confronted him about his abrupt behaviour, he told her that he wasn’t comfortable getting married to a divorcee because of societal issues. “Namit was worried about society, and about what his friends would think,” she says, adding that she finally managed to convince him after many discussions, and the involvement of their parents.
Though several people still find it difficult to ignore societal pressures, Mithiya feels that second marriages are slowly gaining acceptance. “In our country, the divorce rate is increasing rapidly. Also, most people these days marry when they are about 30. So, if someone is getting divorced at, say 27, they are still young enough for a second marriage,” he says.
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Marriage portals are also cashing in on this increased demand. There are many wedding websites in India that cater only to divorcees. Says Aditya Save, CMO, Shaadi.com, “We have seen an upward trend in the last couple of years, where more and more single women are open to marrying somebody who has been married before. The stigma of marrying a divorcee is slowly diminishing, and this shows the progressive and non-judgmental outlook of the present generation.”
Other celebs who got married after a divorce:
Lara Dutta and Mahesh Bhupathi
Bhupathi was married to model Shvetha Jaishankar for six years before they got divorced in July 2010. He married Lara on February 16, 2011, in a civil ceremony.
Vidya Balan and Siddharth Roy Kapur
Vidya married Siddharth on December 14, 2012. Before marrying Vidya, Siddharth had been divorced twice. Reportedly, he was first married to his childhood sweetheart, while his second wife was a producer.
Kiran Rao and Aamir Khan
Before marrying Kiran on December 28, 2005, Aamir was married to Reena Dutta. He filed for divorce from Reena in December 2002. Aamir has two children, Junaid and Ira, from Reena, and a son, Azad Rao Khan, with Kiran.
Sridevi and Boney Kapoor
Boney was married to Mona Kapoor from 1983 to 1996. They have two children, Arjun Kapoor and Anshula Kapoor. He married Sridevi on June 2, 1996. The duo has two children, Jhanvi Kapoor and Khushi Kapoor.
Amrita Arora and Shakeel Ladak
The duo got married on March 4, 2009, in a Christian ceremony and again on March 6, 2009, they had a nikah. Shakeel was previously married to Nisha Rana, who belongs to the royal family of Nepal. Incidentally, Nisha was Amrita’s classmate in college.
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