The women behind our heroes

Last Updated: Fri, Mar 07, 2008 10:55 hrs

It’s no longer the age of men–at least in Bollywood. Look around at the season’s most talked-about couples–Aishwarya and Abhishek, Kareena and Saif, Sanjay and Manyata, Bipasha and John, even Deepika Padukone and her various men–and you realise that women are calling the shots.

Aishwarya may have married into Bollywood’s First Family, but the lady is definitely the bigger celebrity. And she remains the more sought-after actor. As for brand ‘Saifreena’, the macho Saif does not blush while brandishing his Kareena tattoo or proclaim his love for the Kapoor girl. Even the lovable rogue Sanjay Dutt, with two marriages under his belt, is still the bright-eyed husband who wants to please his wife’s every whim.

Bipasha Basu, too, is very secure about her place in life. The Bong beauty made her indifference clear when John strayed after first tasting success. He immediately understood the danger signs and came scuttling back with fervent apologies.

And how about the freshly minted Deepika? She has confused everyone who made a prediction about her love life, moving from one man to another without offending any of her rejected suitors.

Woman power? But of course! We can rightly say that we have come a long way from the days actresses put their ambitions on the backburner for their spouses. However, what we don't realise is that their 'sacrifice' did not make them any less powerful. In fact, it just made them even more strong. Here’s honouring a few of the greats.

Jaya Bachchan

She put her highly successful career on hold while her husband pursued his. She was so supportive of him that she remained quiet even during his high profile affair with co-star Rekha. Today, she has come out triumphant, leaving the other woman far behind, and her husband is very conscious of her contribution to his life, career and family. And her devotion has not waned. Even today, if she has a public engagement while her husband happens to be home, she rushes back in order to have an intimate lunch with him.

Poonam Sinha

Husband Shatrughan Sinha had a roving eye. But this beautiful ex-Miss India sat quietly at home waiting for him to sow his wild oats. And eventually her patience won out. Today his high profile political career and film career find a balance thanks to her caring administration.

Neetu Singh

She gave up an astoundingly successful career to settle down. She made a beautiful home for her Chintuji and has found happiness remaining in the background. Ever the charming wife and mother, she has often put up with her husband’s volatile temper and kept the peace in their lives.

Sharmila Tagore

At the pinnacle of her career, she opted out of films to marry Pataudi. This former glam gal then fit herself into her husband’s Nawabi lifestyle and kept away from the arc lights, except for an occasional film or two.

Hema Malini

The dream girl found her dream man, Dharmendra, and married him. But since he was already a married man, she couldn’t stay at home and play housewife even if she wanted to. So she continued working, becoming an asset to films, her husband and her daughters. Today she stands tall–all by herself.

Kalpana Kartik

Kalpana quit films to marry Dev Anand and was heard of no more. She disliked acting and was quite happy to be a housewife. She quietly faded into anonymity while her husband became an icon.

Mehr Jesia

She was a model to beat all models. But when marriage beckoned, she gave it all up to become Arjun Rampal’s wife. She is content to stay away from the media glare and accompany Rampal to his shoots. Talk about loyalty.

Saira Banu

Where would Dilip Kumar be without her loving touch? She plays her role as wife to perfection–accompanying her ‘Yusuf Saab’ everywhere and looking after his every need.