Relationship Vs Love – How Bollywood Actresses Behaved Then and Now

In this blog, Subhash K. Jha looks at actresses such as Zeenat Aman back in the day who gave up work for love - but is the practice continued anymore?
Relationship Vs Love – How Bollywood Actresses Behaved Then and Now
Zeenat Aman

Love can  wait…Work comes first…. Today’s  actresses don’t allow their hearts to rule their heads. Did you ever hear of Kareena Kapoor or Deepika Padukone cancelling their shooting for even one day while they were seeing Saif Ali Khan and  Ranveer Singh, respectively? Quite a contrast to the screen queens of yester-years. When  it came to that  man-woman thing, their theme song was Sarey rishte-naate tod ke ke gayee/ Le main tere vaaste sab chod ke aa gayi.”

Meena Kumari insisted on Dharmendra playing her lead in a string of films from Phool Aur Pathhar to Manjhli Didi to Chandan Ka Palna.
Thank God there were no cell phones back then. Not  a single film starring Meena Kumari or Rekha would’ve been completed on time.
There are countless legends about the lengths that the older screen queens went to for love. If Meena  Kumari  recommended her young brawny garam friend to every filmmaker who would listen to her, Zeenat Aman almost gave up her entire career and wealth for a certain Mr Khan.
And what did these two  divas  finally have to show for their passionate devotion  to that achy-breaky feeling called  love ? Broken hearts and  dreams, not to mention a  fatally damaged liver for Meena K and a permanently damaged eye for Zeenat A.

Today’s average diva is no fool for love. Priyanka Chopra once said, “I can’t get into a situation where I’ve to be constantly answerable to anyone….Where are you? What are you doing?….Please! I’m too free-spirited to get tied down.  Right now, I want to focus only on my work, and whatever free time I’ve, I want to spend with my parents and  brother.”  Work first, then family….the rest can wait ….

The girls in filmdom today know their fundas only too well.  Jaya Bhaduri was the reigning queen of  Hindi cinema  when she gave it all up for love and marriage. Today, a Rani Mukerji or a Preity Zinta wouldn’t want to give up their blossoming careers for love and/or  marriage. At  the same time, they know exactly when to pull out for optimum  pleasure. Raveena, blissfully cocooned in domesticity advises her colleague Tabu to settle down  fast. “She’s a wonderful girl and will make a  wonderful wife. The time to get married is now.”

But contemporary actresses are too smart to marry for love. Except  Manisha Koirala. Silly girl,  she has to  let go of ‘true love’(whatever that  might be) repeatedly. Then she ended up marrying the wrong man. I’ve seen  how devoted and attentive one of her  boyfriends was. At  lunch at  my place, Cecil Anthony looked on lovingly as Manisha spoke into the phone, held on to her purse when she went to the restroom and earnestly discussed plans he had for managing her money. Yup, this was the true thing. “Ah, now if I were to get a  man as devoted as that I’d kick my career in the pants and run to the mandap,” a very successful diva tells me.

That’s what must have run through Zeenat Aman’s mind when she ran after love… and fell on her face. Today she’s happy. But what about Meena Kumari who died  of a  broken heart? Chalte chalte yuhin koi phisal gaya tha….