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When wives double up as muses for filmmaker hubbies

Last updated on: June 10, 2011 11:58 IST

When wives double up as muses for filmmaker hubbies

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Filmmakers, in the search for the ideal muse, often end up marrying their heroines. As Joel Coen and Tim Burton have repeatedly shown with Frances McDormand and Helena Bonham Carter respectively, this can be a very clever and confident mood indeed.

As we prepare to see Anurag Kashyap's latest production Shaitan, featuring wife Kalki Koechlin leading an ensemble cast, in theatres this Friday, here's a look at other Bollywood filmmakers working with their wives on screen.


Image: Kalki Koechlin and Anurag Kashyap (inset)

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That Girl In Yellow Boots: Kalki and Anurag

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Anurag Kashyap hadn't married Kalki Koechlin at the time this film was conceived and made (at breakneck speed), but she co-wrote this sexually charged film with the director that he then made on a shoestring budget.

The film isn't out in theatres yet, but the buzz on Kashyap's projects is always strong -- except in this case perhaps overshadowed by his wife's acting prowess.

Image: Kalki Koechlin and Anurag Basu (inset)

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Waqt: Race Against Time: Shifali and Vipul Shah

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Vipul Shah had directed Amitabh Bachchan many times over, but this decision of casting his much-younger wife as Bachchan's better half was a striking and confident one.

Shefali Shah was quite possibly the best thing about this prolonged family drama, however, and the director's faith in his spouse was justified.

Image: Shifali Shah and Vipul Shah (inset)

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Yun Hota Toh Kya Hota: Ratna Pathak and Naseeruddin Shah

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Naseeruddin Shah's ambitious but clearly half-baked directorial debut -- which centred oddly around 9/11 -- might not have been a memorable film, but boasted of a stellar performance from his always fabulous wife, Ratna Pathak Shah.

In a mature and beautiful love scene with Paresh Rawal, Ratna provided the film's truest moment.

Image: Ratna Pathak Shah, Paresh Rawal and Naseeruddin Shah

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U Me Aur Hum: Kajol and Ajay Devgn

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One didn't think Ajay Devgn would make his directorial debut with a sensitive drama about a woman suffering from Alzheimer's. Devgn himself deserves credit for having played a significantly flawed leading man, but this Kajol performance -- despite all its screechiness -- has to stand out as one of her very best.

Image: A still from U Me Aur Hum

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Jhootha Hi Sahi: Pakhi and Abbas Tyrewala

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Abbas Tyrewala's directorial debut Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na was a huge success, which is why the industry was flummoxed when he chose to cast his wife Pakhi as leading lady in his next, Jhootha Hi Sahi, opposite John Abraham.

Written by the wife in question, the film bombed and was killed by all critics.

Image: Pakhi and Abbas Tyrewala (inset)

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Maya Memsaab: Deepa Sahi and Ketan Mehta

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Ketan Mehta directed his wife Deepa Sahi in many films, but none quite as memorable as this spirited Madame Bovary adaptation starring Deepa opposite a young Shah Rukh Khan.

The film is about a young wife increasingly bored with her gentle husband (Farooque Sheikh) and seeking refuge in lovers and dreams.

Image: Deepa Sahi and Ketan Mehta (inset)

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Sadak: Soni Razdan and Mahesh Bhatt

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Prolific as he always was, Mahesh Bhatt too directed wife Soni Razdan on many occasions but her part in this strange but emotive Taxi Driver adaptation made quite a mark.

Razdan plays sister to Sanjay Dutt's disturbed protagonist Ravi, and while her screentime is limited, she delivers a strong performance indeed.

Image: Soni Razdan and Mahesh Bhatt

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Zamana Deewana: Kiran Juneja and Ramesh Sippy

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Ramesh Sippy met wife Kiran Juneja on the sets of his epic television series Buniyaad, and romance was kindled soon enough.

Sippy didn't direct many films but several years later in his Zamaana Deewana, Kiran played Shalini, a criminal psychologist. It was a role both amusing and interesting, and Kiran worked it well.

Image: Raveena Tandon, Kiran Juneja and Ramesh Sippy (inset)

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Pakeezah: Meena Kumari and Kamal Amrohi

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This 1972 classic took well over a dozen years to complete since Kamal Amrohi made it as a labour of love starring his wife Meena Kumari.

As the film slowly but elaborately progressed, the couple split up and abandoned the film, only completing it later after friends Sunil Dutt and Nargis insisted. Tragically, Kumari, often ill during the final leg of the film's making, died within weeks of its release.

Image: Meena Kumari and Kamal Amrohi (inset)

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The wife's turn: Dhobi Ghat

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It isn't as if husbands have to be the only people directing. Kiran Rao made a celebrated directorial debut earlier this year with her Dhobi Ghat, where husband Aamir Khan played one of his best roles to date. Playing an urban, Mumbai-based painter, Khan was restrained and understated and delivered very strongly indeed - something we hadn't seen for quite some time.

Earlier, in Pooja Bhatt's production of Rog, her husband Munish Makhija made a rare big-screen appearance.


Image: Kiran Rao and Aamir Khan

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