Happy birthday Pooja Batra: How Virasat actor found love with Nawab Shah
Till June last year, actor Pooja Batra had become a fading memory - people vaguely recalled the tall actor who had married and moved to the US to live a life of domesticity and bliss. Then, at the start of last year, her Instagram page was abuzz with pictures with actor Nawab Shah.
Nawab is not a name that would ring a bell immediately. But one look at him and instantly images of his character-actor roles in several hit Hindi films will race across the mind. In June last year, they had confirmed their relationship.
However, another surprise was in store for fans - in July last year, the two secretly got married. Suddenly, an actor who had faded from public memory, was back in action. On her birthday on Tuesday, here’s a look at her love story with Nawab Shah.
Pooja dazzled the world when she was adjudged the third runners-up at 1993’s Miss Asia Pacific at only 18 years old. She had been crowned Miss India earlier that year. Soon, the lithe actor was walking down the ramp and, in no time, Pooja was among the leading models in India.
However, for a vast majority of Indians, she became a household name when she starred in Anil Kapoor and Tabu-starrer Virasat (1997). It was her first film. Soon she featured in a number of comedies such as Haseena Maan Jayegi. She appeared in Malayalam and Tamil films too. And then in 2002, she married a US based surgeon Dr Sonu Ahluwalia and moved to the US. She stayed in the US with him till 2010 and then divorced him in 2011.
Talking about the experience, Pooja had told Bombay Times, “Everybody goes through phases. I survived one of the most difficult ones, as I was alone in a foreign country. But then, that’s life, isn’t it? You learn as you grow and your mindset also changes with time.”
Then, in 2019 February, she reconnected with Nawab Shah, whom she knew 20 years back. The rest, as they say, is history.
Speaking about the experience, Nawab had told MensXP in an interview, “It happened quite magically in our case because she was sitting in Los Angeles like ‘Saat Samundar Paar’. We knew each other 20 years ago and then we reconnected and somewhere, we felt that it’s the best thing that has happened. I met her obviously and we reconnected when she was coming back from LA. We met at the airport and that was the first time we met and that’s how we started to spend more time together and here we are now.”
Speaking about Nawab, Pooja had said in the same interview in 2019, “We strongly connected after we were reintroduced by a common friend in February this year. I guess we reconnected at the right time in our life. We were in the same space emotionally and hit it off instantly... We share emotional and intellectual compatibility, and we don’t have to explain too much to each other. I like the fact that he is a family person.”
After a brief courtship period, they married in July 2019. Talking about it, Pooja has said: “Nawab and I exchanged vows in Delhi, with only our families in attendance. Our loved ones kept asking us why we were delaying it (the marriage). I was simply going with the flow, but then I realised that he is the man I want to spend the rest of my life with, and there is no point in delaying it any further. So, here we are. We had an Arya Samaj wedding, and we will register our marriage this week.”
Follow @htshowbiz on Twitter