Bollywood star Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao change status, no more couple - GulfToday

Bollywood star Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao change status, no more couple

Saibal Chatterjee


Indian national award-winning film critic


Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao. File

It takes courage and grace to announce the end of a 15-year marriage in the manner that the high-profile Kiran Rao and Aamir Khan have done. Not only did the couple face the media together, they also issued a statement so dignified and assiduously worded that one couldn’t but marvel at their equanimity.

This divorce by the 56-year-old Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan is no different from the one that he got from his first wife, Reena, nearly two decades ago. But that seems like another era now considering the ridiculously low levels to which people are willing to take the discourse because two mellow individuals have decided to part ways.

As an actor, Aamir is known as Mr. Perfectionist. Kiran, as a professional, has never been less than meticulous. Their approach to life and work is fully reflected in the  divorce statement

Social media has created a monster that wants to rear its ugly head every time a public figure says, or does, something that does not fit into its narrow view of the world. In 2002, Aamir’s decision to file for divorce from his wife of 15 years, Reena, did shock people, but it did not lead to the kind of media frenzy that the Kiran-Aamir separation has whipped up. Trolls of a particularly obnoxious hue have come out of the woodwork to vent their misplaced ire.

Fatima Sana Sheikh (left), Amir Khan and Sanya Malhotra during the promotion of their film ‘Dangal’ in Dubai. File/ The Gulf Today

This is 2021. India has been overrun by mass bigotry and media bombast. The gutter press does not possess smallest driblet of dignity. It feeds off gossipy generalizations and spews venom.

They hide behind their anonymity to trot out their sick, stupid, skewed ideas about morality. They obviously do not have the sense to see the honesty that Kiran and Aamir have so admirably demonstrated.

The whys and wherefores of the very personal decision that the couple has taken are not for us to speculate over. Instead of sweeping things under the carpet or getting into a bitter slanging match, what Kiran and Amir have done is normalise divorce. It is perfectly all right, the duo seems to be telling us, for a relationship to evolve, change, assume new dimensions, or simply cease to be.

Compare the Kiran Rao-Aamir Khan announcement to the messy manner in which Bill and Melinda Gates rupture seems to be panning out. Ugly truths have started to come out of the closet regarding Bill’s history of questionable behaviour over the years. Aamir, mercifully, has nothing to hide. Yes, he has had his share of brushes with detractors over the years.

Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao. File

He has had his films being subjected to threats from fringe outfits. But that is a professional hazard that anybody who does not toe the establishment line has to live with in today’s India.

Of course, the grapevine would have us believe that the divorce has been triggered by Aamir’s affair with actress Sana Fatima Sheikh, whose Bollywood career was launched in the wrestling drama Dangal not all that long ago. Even if that were true, nobody has any business to get on a pedestal and pontificate.

Kiran and Aamir’s joint statement has a ring of authenticity to it. It isn’t the sort of half-hearted, token explanation, if at all one is put forth, that parting couples usually give out to the media.

Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao. File

As an actor, Aamir Khan is known as Mr. Perfectionist. Kiran Rao, as a professional, has never been less than meticulous.

Their approach to life and work is fully reflected in the statement. The thrust is this: “we began a planned separation some time ago, and now feel comfortable to formalise this arrangement, of living separately yet sharing our lives the way an extended family does.”

The “arrangement” doubtless alludes to the role as co-parents that they intend to play to the son, Azad. The world should respect the decision and let them move on.            

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