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'She's a Muslim'
August 15, 2003 16:44 IST
Religious differences have never been a barrier among Bollywod's famous couples, says Bharathi Pradhan. In this excerpt from her book, Colas, Cars & Communal Harmony, she looks at the marriage between the highly popular Hrithik Roshan and the beautiful Suzanne Khan.
When Hrithik Roshan fell in love, it was quite literally a traffic-stopping moment for him. He'd glimpsed Suzanne Khan at a traffic light and his heart had lurched, much like Raj, his character did in his debut movie Kaho Naa�Pyaar Hai when he first saw the pensive heroine.
The Juhu dudes soon knew that Hrithik and Suzanne were an item. But it took a few more months for the moonstruck young man to tell his mom, Pinky Roshan, just how honourable his intentions were.
But before that, Hrithik wasn't exactly squirming or tossing around in bed, wondering how to break it to his parents.
Looking well-scrubbed and alert, Hrithik distinctly remembers. "I'd been brought up to believe that the best religion is humanity. It's something my mother used to say to me. I believe children learn by watching their parents. I have seen my parents give so much respect to people from different religions that I instinctively knew that Suzanne's religion wouldn't matter to them.
"For instance, we didn't personally celebrate Idd but it was an occasion when people would come over, biryani would be sent across and my father would wish all his friends. I knew how to greet someone on Idd.
"So it never even occurred to me that I might have a problem with my parents about marrying a Muslim girl. It was on my mind that if there was a problem, I'd repeat to them what they had taught me. That would've been the time to put to test what they'd instilled in me. But just as I expected, my father and mother didn't raise even the minutest objection to our marriage."
"So there was no problem ever with my parents. I think it's ridiculous to the point of being preposterous to judge people by their religion. Whatever her creed, she'd still be the same person."
Long before that short interlude in the bedroom, like all mothers, Pinky had already guessed in which direction Hrithik's heart had strayed. So when the Roshans heard about Hrithik and Suzanne, it didn't stump them.
On the contrary, father Rakesh Roshan recalls, "We only told Hrithik to make sure he doesn't hurt her. Since Sanjay and Zarine are family friends, we didn't want to be embarrassed in any way, so we told Hrithik to make sure he stands by his commitment. Which he did."
Happily, the Hindu-Muslim card didn't get played by either the Khan clan or the Roshan parivar.
Long before Kaho Naa� Pyaar Hai brought the bounty to his doorstep, even Hrithik's grandfather J Om Prakash (who is duly respected as the seniormost in the family) had enthusiastically pronounced Suzanne as part of the khandaan. J Om Prakash first learnt about Hrithik and Suzanne at a party on the Roshan terrace where he met Sanjay Khan's daughter. He was so delighted that he spoke to her dad and announced to all the guests gathered there that Hrithik and Suzanne were officially betrothed.
Any mention of conversion didn't arise simply because neither the couple nor the Khan-Roshan families even gave it a thought. It was an undiscussed, foregone decision that they'd opt for a civil wedding and get on with their lives without displacing the Gods they grew up with.
Excerpted from Colas, Cars And Communal Harmony by Bharathi S Pradhan, Rs 195, India Book Distributors, with the author's permission.
To be continued...