The First Wives Club – The Changing Face of The Bollywood Bahu
The image of the Bollywood Bahu has changed in public consciousness and thank God for that
They say that all things change with time and the only constant in our life is change itself. This adage holds true for the innumerable changes in the First Wives Club of Bollywood. Women are more empowered now to make their own choices and while – in certain circles and areas of society – they are still often shamed into staying at home to take care of their kids instead of pursuing a career, many are respected for balancing both parts of their life.
It also helps that we have drastically changed our notions of masculinity in the past decade or so. Being a house husband is not looked at with the same amount of derision that it was long ago. Films like the Kareena Kapoor Khan and Arjun Kapoor starrer Ki & Ka have addressed this issue and both men and women can now wear the aprons and the pants in the relationship.
There was a time when famous Bollywood actresses left their careers (and one assumes, their ambitions) to raise the children while her actor husband went out there and got the bread. One has to respect their choice if it was freely made. A Bollywood bahu, in those days, was expected to be some sort of a trophy wife who took care of the palatial bungalows and farmhouses, threw posh parties and supported her husband on the red carpet.
However, in interview after interview, Kareena Kapoor Khan and sister Karisma Kapoor have spoken about how it is only a mistaken and outdated notion that the Kapoor women aren’t allowed to work. “My parents are very modern. My father is a cosmopolitan person. He always supported the fact that I will be an actress. There is nothing else I would do rather than being an actor. I am passionate about acting. Girls in our family are not allowed to act is quite an outdated thought to have. They did it till my mother but now no more,” Kareena had told PTI in an interview prior to the release of her film, Gori Tere Pyaar Mein.
“This is my job and being married is a separate part. My thinking is lot more different with many actresses in the industry. I don’t understand why people in showbiz put their profession of acting in the back seat after marriage. Even before marriage, I was with Saif for five years and I worked with almost every actor. I will continue to do like I did before my marriage,” she had said.
It’s been five years since that interview and the actress has been true to her word. She’s still one of the highest paid actresses in the industry and was recently seen in the blockbuster hit Veere Di Wedding. Similarly, nobody assumes and neither are there articles wondering if Priyanka Chopra will continue her flourishing career after her marriage to Nick Jonas. One doesn’t remember if Sonam Kapoor Ahuja was asked that either following the much-tweeted-about #SonamKiShaadi and we are more interested in knowing what Ranveer Singh will wear to the DeepVeer wedding instead of even thinking if Deepika Padukone will take a break.
Our thinking has changed and hence, we approach issues differently. Sussanne Khan, formerly married to actor Hrithik Roshan, has a flourishing business in The Charcoal Project and her friend Gauri Khan is the co-founder and co-chairperson of Red Chillies Entertainment. Last year, Khan launched Gauri Khan Designs in Juhu, Mumbai and has collaborated with icons like Roberto Cavalli and Ralph Lauren. She’s Gauri Khan, first and foremost and not just the wife of the world’s biggest superstar.
Another term used quite often was ‘comeback’ and it seems like it was exclusively reserved for actresses. From Kajol to Madhuri Dixit-Nene, films like Aaja Nachle and Dilwale were termed ‘comebacks’. We won’t be using these terms (hopefully) for Sonam Kapoor’s next film. After all, what’s a ‘comeback’ when she never really left? And thank God for that.
(Header credits: Instagram)