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Guru Dutt bent over Waheeda Rehman, his chin placed against her forehead as she sat with her tres...

Bollywood affairs: What was once an open secret, is now out in the open

By 15:49:00

Guru Dutt bent over Waheeda Rehman, his chin placed against her forehead as she sat with her tresses open and eyes closed. This remains one of the most enduring images in Bollywood -- as much for being a beautiful scene from a Hindi classic, Pyaasa, as for the fact that it represents the supposed love affair between the two actors.

Most love affairs between Bollywood stars end up as open secrets or are reduced to the grapevine, spoken about in hushed tones by industry-wallahs or chronicled through gossip columns. In fact, we mostly get to hear of them after they have ended.

While we may sigh even now at the thought of Guru Dutt and Waheeda Rehman parting company, today we openly judge the alleged relationships between actors.

We pity Ranbir Kapoor for having – supposedly -- dumped Deepika Padukone for Katrina Kaif; we wonder if Kareena Kapoor is to be blamed for her break-up with Shahid Kapoor. While we dig the dirty details of separations – what happened between Malaika Arora Khan and Arbaaz Khan -- we wonder why Ranbir and Katrina, who were living together, never came clean about their relationship. Since no one is generous with explanations, everything is guesswork and speculation.

So, when two stars do come out in the open and confront one another in the media with the reasons for their break-up, we don't seem to know how to deal with it or what to make of it. Case in point being the recent mudslinging match between Kangana Ranaut and Hrithik Roshan, who were allegedly in a relationship.

Never in the popular history of Bollywood has a woman taken on an ex in public, especially when both of them are top stars at the peak of their careers. Of course, lovers' tiffs and dramatic fall-outs happen, and we do

hear of them be it the supposed break-up between Dilip Kumar and Madhubala or Govinda's misbehaving on the sets of Rani Mukerji's films. Or then, the famously rumoured incident when Aishwarya Rai was replaced by Rani Mukerji for Chalte Chalte because SRK developed cold feet after Salman Khan stormed onto the sets of the film and threatened her.

In all of these instances, while the spats happened in public spaces, the industry rallied around the stars and kept them (an open) secret. The only exception was Vivek Oberoi's presser where he spoke up against Salman Khan for threatening him and his then-girlfriend Aishwarya Rai. But that only put an end to Vivek's career and Aishwarya didn't publicly ever back the claim.

Amidst Bollywood's silence on such matters, Kangana has stood out. An outsider, with virtually no one or nothing, barring her own talent to back her, Kangana has stepped up to challenge Hrithik's version of events. She has stated that the two were in a relationship while Hrithik, fresh from his divorce with Sussanne, attributes Kangana's statement to mental illness.

While Kangana has taken the battle out in the open, there are couples who have parted ways without speaking about it in public, or even better, they have issued a public statement to announce their separation. Suddenly,

Farhan Akhtar and Adhuna or Anurag Kashyap and ex-wife Kalki Koechlin seem admirable. They admitted to their failed relationship and begged for some privacy. Only then are we ready to let go. Until then, let the tongues wag.

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