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Even if he was a ‘superstar’, it’s a wonder that Rajesh Khanna in his 30s got away with marrying a 16 year old Dimple. It was child marriage, even if she was ‘in love’ with him!
How many of you know that Dimple Kapadia was just 16 years old when she married Rajesh Khanna ‘the superstar’ and that he was 31 years old at the time?
If you have parents who were Hindi movie fans back in the 1970s, please do me a favor and go and ask them if they knew this fact and what they thought about it back then, what they think about it now, and please report back here.
I don’t think our parents, anyone else, or even the media back then thought that this was downright wrong. I don’t remember reading or seeing anything that ever called out Rajesh Khanna for this.
From my Wikipedia searches, Dimple was born in 1957, got married in 1973, and her daughter Twinkle was born that same year. This means that Dimple got married and had a child at the age of 16! What 31 year old mature, educated man does this? So what if she was ‘in love’ with him and wanted to marry him?
I know there’s no point talking about this now. He’s dead and they have two well-settled daughters. Why should I care?
The only reason I am raking this up is to point out how idiotic, patriarchal, and blind the India of the 1970s was (yes, including yours and my parents if they were Rajesh Khanna fans), that nobody questioned a 31 year old superstar ‘marrying’ a 16 year old girl.
The upside is that India has changed a lot. Nobody, especially a celebrity, would get away with something like this now.
The only reason I suddenly thought about Dimple Kapadia is because I saw her in Christopher Nolan’s Tenet and was so impressed. She is one of the brightest spots in the movie with a very meaty role at that, one that would put Anil Kapoor in Mission Impossible to shame. What elegance, class, and screen presence she exudes. Every time the other actors looked at her in a scene, you could see the awe and admiration in their eyes.
The only movie I remember seeing of hers is Dil Chahta Hai. I also remember her song with Kamal Hassan in Sagar (O Maria). More than the song, it was that yellow dress and her stunning gorgeous mane that stuck with me through the years.
When I was in high school, I remember asking my dad to get me a bottle of beer so that I could wash my hair with it after reading an interview of hers in Filmfare where she said she uses beer as a conditioner.
My dad did bring me more than one bottle of beer, which I diligently used for my hair (and may or may not have drunk a bit too) but my hair never became like hers!
Her hair is still as gorgeous as she is, at the age of 63. And I have come to appreciate her even more now, as a woman, for all that she must have gone through in her life.
Image source: a still from the film. Tenet
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