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An old expression “opposites attract” has been skirting around for the times unknown. And in fact, it seems to be true when it comes to this Bollywood’s favourite couple Mansoor Ali Khan and Sharmila Tagore. Mansoor was a Muslim and a cricketer, whereas, Sharmila was a Bengali and a film actress. Despite their dissimilarities, they did not let their differences overshadow their love for each other. Even today, their spellbinding love story gives us relationship goals!
Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, also known as Tiger Pataudi was a nawab. This oxford graduate was unlike many men of his year. He had westernised style and was more pleased with the company of books than social hobnob. His driving passion towards cricket made him an early achiever. He was the youngest captain of Indian Cricket Team. Despite losing his right eye in an unfortunate accident, he was the finest skipper.
On the other side, Sharmila Tagore was from a prestigious Tagore family from Bengal. At an early age (8), she made her debut in the film industry with Satyajit Ray’s Film Apur Sanar. She even discontinued her studies to follow her passion towards the glamours field. Very soon, the industry recognised her talent and it wasn't hard for her to steal the limelight. Individually, both were flourishing in their respective careers.
Tiger Pataudi met Sharmila for the first time in 1965. After watching a cricket match in Delhi, Sharmila met him for the first time at after-match party. Both hailing from different walks of life, they knew very little about each other’s professions. Tiger hadn’t watched much of her movies and she did not know much about the game. But as we all know, one can never tell when love begins, two famous personalities and the charms of the their respective fields started dating.
Before the couple started dating, Tiger with his ardent pursuit to woo the bengali beauty who had just stole his heart, gifted a refrigerator. And frequently sent roses to please her. It wasn't long for Sharmila to fall under his spell. After dating for four years, Tiger Pataudi proposed her in Paris and heartily she said yes! And soon they made headlines.
Without doubt this worried both their parents and even media stated their relationship will dwindle in no time. Sharmila belonged to a Bengali family and she was the first-ever Indian actress to pose in bikini.This caused a major hurdle for nawabi family to accept the actress bravery in the not-so-progressive-times. And Tiger was a muslim and it was enough for her prosaic Bengali family to disapprove.
But nothing could deterred them to bond forever into a wedlock. They were ready fight anything that came on their way, she even converted to Islam and changed her name to Ayesha Sultana. By ensuring their families’ approval, they two got married in 1969 and were one among the first few modern couples of India.
Even after marriage, they broke many stereotypes. At a time when industry categorised female actors to put a full stop to their career after marriage, she acted in the films again after her first child, Saif Ali Khan was born. Both were independent and made their own choices in their career. Tiger never interfered in her career and so did she. They were blessed with three children, Saif Ali Khan, Saba Ali Khan and Soha Ali Khan.
Overall with vast differences in their cultural and customs many never expected it to last. But their love and respect towards each other bounded them in love for 42 years, till death did them apart, Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi passed away on 2011. They showed us how love can bring two people from different walks of life can live happily as equals on one path. This Prince of Pataudi and The Bengali beauty stand as the epitome of love for the generations to come by.
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