What is more influential than one Bollywood star? Two in a wasta-filled partnership. So, from some long-standing couples to new romances, here is our pick of the 10 most important power couples in the Indian film industry.
Many relationships don’t stand the test of time in Bollywood, but that is not the case with our number one couple: Shah Rukh and Gauri have been married since 1991 (they met in 1984), and despite the odd rumour that they lead separate lives, by all official appearances, they are still going strong.
She is the key interior designer in Mumbai high society, and he is arguably the most famous Bollywood star of all time. They are an interfaith marriage too (he is Muslim and she is Hindu) and they got together before either of them was famous, so their match appears to one truly founded on love. The pair have three kids together, and by all accounts their children are expected to be the next big thing in Bollywood, so the family’s power will likely continue.
2. Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor
This pair is powerful together, but they are both Bollywood royalty in and of themselves. Kareena’s family is ‘the first family of Bollywood’, with her great-grandfather Prithvi Raj Kapoor a very famous actor from the 1930s to the 1970s. Meanwhile, Saif boasts royal lineage (his famous cricketer father Mansoor Ali Khan was the Nawab of Pataudi) and his mother is, of course, Sharmila Tagore of Aradhana fame.
Saif and Kareena have starred side-by-side in many big budget movies and ads, but their own love story started late. Saif, 48, was married to Amrita Singh, 60, before he married Kareena in 2012 after a five-year courtship. While Saif has two children with Amrita, it is his child with Kareena that the media adores. Super-cute, blue-eyed Taimur Ali Khan is undeniably Bollywood’s most famous baby.
3. Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone
Soon to be married, Ranveer and Deepika have kept the details of their relationship under wraps, but appear to have been dating for around five years. While they are famous actors in their own right, it is when they star next to each other in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s historical epics that they truly shine. Ram-Leela in 2013, Baijrao Mastani in 2015 and this year’s Padmaavat are some of Bollywood’s biggest recent hits.
Both of them are beloved as stars and the way they are naturally happy around each other, but never feel the need to ‘commercialise’ their relationship or talk about it too much, makes their love story feel very genuine.
4. Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma
What does India love as much as Bollywood? Cricket. Virat and Anushka come in at number four in our rankings because he is the captain of the Indian cricket team, and she is known as an actress who tackles gritty and real roles (something that at times feels lacking in Bollywood).
The couple met while doing an ad for Head and Shoulders in 2013 (who knew dandruff could be so romantic?). They go by the moniker ‘Virushka’ and were married in Italy in 2017. They also stand by each other: if she is in the crowd, the public will often blame Anushka when India loses a cricket match. But Virat always stands by her side and defends the mad theory.
5. Askhay Kumar and Twinkle Khanna
Akshay Kumar has been engaged many times, but the only time he managed to make it all the way was with Twinkle, an actress turned author and interior designer. The pair have two kids together, and are private about their family life. Also, Twinkle has her own roots in Bollywood royalty – her father is Rajesh Khanna, one of the most famous actors of all time; while her mother is the A-list actress Dimple Kapadia (who continues to act to this day).
Twinkle deserves to be in this ranking for also managing to tie down Bollywood’s famous playboy. Plus, being fiercely commercially-minded, Akshay is renowned as one of the richest stars in Bollywood. And, ultimately, money is power.
6. Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai
Everyone knows this couple – they may not be the top Bollywood power couple within India, but they are arguably the most globally well known, having walked the Cannes red carpet together, and driven around with Oprah Winfrey when she visited India. Plus, Aishwarya has been known across the globe since she was famously crowned “the world’s most beautiful woman” after winning Miss World in 1994. Abhishek’s family is true Bollywood royalty, with his father the still-prolific Amitabh Bachchan and his mother his mother the legendary Jaya Bachchan.
This isn’t the first famous relationship for either of them: Abhishek was engaged to Karisma Kapoor (Kareena’s sister) and Aishwarya was in a long-term relationship with Salman Khan.
7. Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao
The thinking person’s Bollywood power couple, Aamir and Kiran met on the set of the Oscar-nominated Lagaan in 2001, Aamir divorced his first wife Reena in 2002, and Kiran and Aamir were married in 2005. Theirs is an inter-faith marriage (he is Muslim and she is Hindu), they are both practicing vegans and both are very politically aware and outspoken. They have one son together, Azad Rao Khan who was born in 2011.
8. Kajol and Ajay Devgn
This pair began dating in 1994, and got married in 1999 so are one of the more well-established couples on this list. Both come from Bollywood families – his father is a famous action director and her mother is an actress, while her grandmother is the very famous Shobhna. They’ve done many films together – some hits, some flops – and are known to be fiercely private and for never ‘airing their dirty laundry’.
9. Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt
This is a new relationship, and is the first high profile relationship that Ranbir has openly admitted to, despite the fact he dated Deepika Padukone and Katrina Kaif. Deepika even had a tattoo of his initials on her neck (which she has since lasered off).
Ranbir and Alia started dating on the set of fantasy film Brahmastra, which has just wrapped up shooting, and have already expressed an interest in getting married. They are both the most promising actors of their generation – and while they are both new to the industry, they are the most in demand actors in Mumbai right now. This would be like if Ryan Gosling and Jennifer Lawrence dated in Hollywood. They’re at number nine now because it’s all new, but it’s safe to say that this couple could rise up the ranks quickly. (Also, their famous families get along well too.)
10. Shahid Kapoor and Mira Kapoor
Mira is 13 years Shahid’s junior, and the pair met through their religion – they both follow Radha Soami Satsang Beas. Their marriage was arranged by their families, which is rare in Bollywood. They have two children together already, and she comes from a top business family in New Delhi, while his parents and his step-parents are all well-respected actors. Mira is not yet an actress, but rumour has it that her Bollywood debut is just around the corner.