The moot point is: do such pairs—their coming together and / or breaking up, affect the fortunes of the films they are doing together? After all, two of the four genuine hits in Ranbir’s career have had Katrina Kaif opposite him (Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, Raajneeti). And what’s with the axiomatic maxim that content was, is and always will remain king and the star-cast never matters?
Popular beliefs, however, tend to be founded on both fixed ideas and some assumed conclusions. Even the trade and film industry take cognizance of popular sentiment in such matters, like Dharmendra and Hema Malini giving hits galore before marriage and only flops after they wed in 1980. The fact remains that Maa and Dillagi had flopped even in the ‘70s!
So let us have a look at such films that starred ex-es, and whether they did well or otherwise.
Before Katrina, Ranbir was cast with Deepika Padukone in Bachna Ae Haseeno. Their relationship blossomed, but soon ended amicably. However, they remained professional enough and did the superb Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and their joint media interactions spoke as much about their chemistry as their now-platonic bonding.
They repeated this with a much inferior film, Tamasha, but their performances again showed that their chemistry was still as strong despite the fact that the film failed to succeed.
Salman Khan-Katrina Kaif
When they were together, only Partner worked, but Salman had Lara Dutta opposite him here, and Katrina Kaif was teamed with Govinda. Even earlier in Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya (2005), Katrina’s first Hindi release after the Hinglish Boom, she was teamed with Sohail Khan, though Salman’s character was also shown infatuated by her.
However, when they later did Yuvvraaj, the film was a washout. And in the same year, they made ‘non-romantic’ special appearances in Hello. Salman made a special appearance twice in a Katrina film—in Ajab Prem…, where he played himself with Katrina as his mad fan, and Tees Maar Khan, where she was cast with Akshay Kumar.
However, the pair redeemed themselves after they romantically split—with the 2012 blockbuster Ek Tha Tiger¸ whose sequel too they are now doing as the best of friends—Tiger Zinda Hai. And we cannot forget another goodwill gesture from her—Katrina’s cameo in his home production, Bodyguard.
They began well with Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, but headed for splitsville very soon. The average Hum Tumhaare Hain Sanam had Aishwarya in a cameo, while Salman had earlier done a (not romantic) cameo in her flop Dhaai Akshar Prem Ke.
Abhishek Bachchan-Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
When they first worked together in Dhaai Akshar Prem Ke, they failed. Next up was another flop, Kuch Naa Kaho. In 2010, we got the disaster Raavan. In between they managed the average Guru. Ironically, their biggest hit together was Dhoom 2, where she was cast with Hrithik Roshan!
Abhishek Bachchan-Karisma Kapoor
This real-life pair had even got engaged when they did Haan…Maine Bhi Pyaar Kiya. But both the 2002 film and their relationship ended in shipwreck.
Hrithik Roshan-Kareena Kapoor (Khan)
Their affair was rumored, but some credence can be given to it because after four films in three years (2001 to 2003), they never came together: Yaadein, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham…, Mujhse Dosti Karoge! and Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon. Recently, there was talk of Shuddhi and some other films, and a much-married Kareena had expressed excitement about working again with him, but nothing came of it.
Shahid Kapoor-Kareena Kapoor (Khan)
Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor (now Khan) were a screen pair that was not really well accepted when they were in love (Chup Chup Ke and 36 China Town were break-even films, while Fidaa collapsed).
People’s thought processes were amusing when they broke off weeks before the release of Jab We Met and the film became a hit! And their mindset was considered vindicated when their last film, Milenge Milenge, was delayed and released three years later, with little cooperation from the estranged lovebirds, and proved a non-starter.
In 2016, they did Udta Punjab, in which Kareena and Shahid had no scene together. And today, they remain friends, as seen at the trailer launch of the film.
Saif Ali Khan-Kareena Kapoor (Khan)
This was a singularly beleaguered pair off-screen: come Kurbaan, the animation Roadside Romeo wherein they only romanced as voiceovers) or Saif’s home productions Agent Vinod and Happy Ending, Saif Ali Khan and his girlfriend and later wife Kareena Kapoor Khan never got to first base with the audience!
Bipasha Basu-Dino Morea & John Abraham
Bipasha Basu struck gold with boyfriend Dino Morea in their Vikram Bhatt horror drama Raaz (2002), also the first solo lead for both, but after that, every joint outing proved a commercial horror, including Gunaah, Rakht (where there were not romantically pitted), Chehraa and Ishq Hai Tumse.
When Bipasha moved towards John Abraham in real life, they again had beginner’s luck in Jism, but struck a rough patch with Aetbaar and even the smart 9/11-based thriller Madhoshi. In a policy decision, Bipasha informed that John had decided not to work with her on screen.
This pair started with flops Hulchul and Gundaraj that flopped. Then came two hits, Ishq and Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha (the latter with Ajay reportedly co-financing the film). By this time, they were very much in love. But after they wed in 1999, came two more home productions, Dil Kya Kare and Raju Chacha, that bombed, giving credence to the same belief that married couples do not get hits! U Me Aur Hum was produced and directed also by Ajay in 2008, and sank too. But their last film, Toonpur Ka Superrhero (2010), saved the day by breaking even.
Last year, Kajol helped Ajay market Shivaay and Ajay is now producing a film with her.
Akshay Kumar-Priyanka Chopra
This was another strongly-rumored liaison that was clipped reportedly by Akshay Kumar’s wife. But they had an extraordinarily great innings: Andaaz (Priyanka’s first film as main lead), Aitraaz, Mujhse Shaadi Karogi and Waqt—The Race Against Time were all hits, the last mentioned a blockbuster abroad!
Akshay Kumar-Shilpa Shetty
They had a good beginning with the 1994 Main Khiladi Tu Anari, likewise ending with the successful Jaanwar and Dhadkan in 1999-2000. In between, however, it was flop time with Insaaf.
Akshay Kumar-Raveena Tandon
Their team started with Mohra (1994), when they were not yet lovebirds, and Raveena also did a cameo the same year with Main Khiladi Tu Anari in a song, not with Akshay but with Saif Ali Khan. In 1996, Khiladiyon Ke Khiladi did well. However, their subsequent films, Keemat, Daava, Barood and Police Force: An Inside Story were washouts.
The fact remains that just as films do not work on stars but content, they do not click or flop because of star pairs either. We see that even with old-time pairs like Dilip Kumar and objet d’amor Madhubala, the same actor with Saira Banu, Raj Kapoor with reported flame Nargis, Dev Anand with Suraiya, later wife Kalpana Kartik and Zeenat Aman, Dharmendra with Hema Malini and last but not least Amitabh Bachchan both with rumored paramour Rekha and wife Jaya Bachchan among others.
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