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Saif-Amrita: Portrait of a marriage

Express News Service

Posted: Aug 31, 2004 at 0338 hrs IST

It happened one night. 21-year-old Saif Ali Khan met a much older Amrita Singh at a party. She invited him home with a warning to get his own bottle of Scotch. He went and as Saif famously said, ‘‘I never left.’’

But if the buzz in Tinseltown is to be believed then this statement has proved to be untrue. Rumours are rife that the Kal Ho Naa Ho hottie has split with his wife.

Khan’s sister Soha Ali Khan hints at the break-up. ‘‘I don’t know yet because I’ve been out travelling and haven’t met my brother for a while. I’m not sure if it’s true but if there is a problem then I hope they sort it out soon. My relationship with my bhabhi and the children (8-year-old Sara and 3-year-old Ibrahim) is very strong,’’ she says.

A friend of the couple who wishes to be anonymous says, ‘‘Saif and Amrita had a good marriage albeit a tempestuous one. But he always spoke highly of her and he was the light of her life.’’ Simi Garewal, who played hostess to the couple a few years back on her show Rendezvous With Simi Garewal says, ‘‘I haven’t been in touch with Saif and Dingy (Amrita) but I hope it’s just a phase and they get back together. It’s too early for an obit.’’

Ironically, when it started, their relationship was only greeted with obituaries. The couple got married secretly. Saif’s father Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi and mother Sharmila Tagore did not approve. Friends hadn’t given more than a year together. Saif was just about to start his tryst with cinema while she was already an established leading lady. He was known for his wild ways with women (and animals—he threw his dog from a high-rise as a child, clipped wings of birds and hunted deer). She was known for her high-profile affaires de coeur—with cricketer Ravi Shastri and actor Vinod Khanna. Commenting on their unique courtship, Singh had once declared, ‘‘Either he was mature at 21 or I was retarded at 26.’’

The couple stuck together for over a decade. But news of Saif’s reported link-ups with Riya Sen, Smriti Mishra and most recently Preity Zinta had the gossip mills racing. Industry watcher Indu Mirani feels infidelity is a major reason for Bollywood break-ups. ‘‘It’s the most common reason,’’ she says. ‘‘The temptations are too strong. The stars are surrounded with beautiful co-stars and people are constantly throwing themselves at them. It’s not an easy life.’’

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