We have a number of Bollywood-Cricket jodis, from Virat Kohli-Anushka Sharma to Zaheer Khan and Sagarika Ghatge, but first one always remains special. The first Bollywood-Cricket couple were ‘Tiger Pataudi’ aka Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi and ‘Kashmir Ki Kali’ actress Sharmila Tagore.
Tagore was the most-talked-about diva of Bollywood back in time and Tiger, as he’s famously known, was a handsome cricketer, and one of the most eligible bachelors of India. Their story was ahead of its times. The duo fell in love and tied the knot, at a time when people weren’t that much open about inter-caste wedding.
First meeting and wooing
Tiger and Sharmila met through a common friend in 1965 in Delhi during a post-match party where Khan was present with his Indian team and Sharmila had come to watch the match. Although Sharmila was a self-confessed cricket fan, Tiger didn’t had any clue about her as never watched much of her movies. But despite of all that, when Tiger first saw the beautiful lady, he quickly got attracted to her and lost his heart. But it didn’t start instantly. Khan had instant success in cricket but had to do a lot to woo his lady. He gave her roses, wrote letters and even gifted her a fridge. He took all for four years to impress Sharmila, after which she said ‘yes’.
However, it wasn’t easy for the couple to tie the knot as their families were worried due to their profession, which wasn’t considered as stable back in time. Another problem was that Sharmila was Hindu, Bengali and Tiger belonged to Nawab family, a Muslim. And hence, their families were reluctant for their match.
Marriage and breaking stereotypes
But, both were in love and Sharmila, in order to marry Tiger, converted to Islam with a name, Ayesha Sultan. Soon after that, the couple tied the knot in a royal wedding in 1969. After marriage, Sharmila left Bollywood to focus on her family but soon returned back, breaking many stereotypes. She also worked after experiencing motherhood. She did movies like, ‘Amar Prem’, ‘Aradhana’ after birth of her son, Saif Ali Khan.
Sharmila and Tiger’s love match teaches us that love is above everything else. As Shah Rukh Khan’s one dialogue from ‘Om Shanti Om’ says, “Kehte hain ki… Agar kisi cheez ko dil se chaaho to puri kayanat usey tumse milane ki koshish mein lag jaati hai.” This perfectly suits Tiger and Sharmila.