Who would have thought that such a day would come when two celebs would thank the media for giving their relationship 'the dignity and respect' it deserves? But, recently Malaika Arora and Arjun Kapoor did exactly that, as they opened up about their relationship in the press and said that the only reason they could come forth and announce their relationship publicly is because the media had shown 'respect' and portrayed their relationship 'honestly'.
While the happy couple may have bestowed all their gratitude on the press, the media barely did anything out of the ordinary. They did what they always do when a celebrity couple is in question --- quote the grapevines, and anonymous sources to talk about Arora and Kapoor's relationship.
As Arora's divorce reports started pouring in, Kapoor was cited as one of the reasons for Arora's separation from her husband Arbaaz Khan in many media reports, although most of these speculations had no proof or basis. Rumours of the couple dating only grew louder as Arora and Kapoor began holidaying and partying together (Cosmopolitan has an entire timeline of their relationship to make things easier for you.) And, recently the reports of Arora and Kapoor tying the knot also did rounds (needless to say, these reports came from the little birdy and were therefore entirely false). So, clearly, the media doesn't deserve all their thank yous.
Bollywood actresses and fans, however, can take some credit that Arora and Kapoor can so frankly open up about their relationship in public, without any fear of negative reactions.
There was a time when actors and actresses would not publicly own up to their relationships because it would automatically affect their fan following. Actors, especially women, were always supposed to appear single and therefore, remain objects of desire in the minds of fans. In fact, for most actresses in the '70s and '80s, relationships were always carefully guarded secrets and marriages were retirement plans.
But, in recent years things have completely changed. Alia Bhatt can now happily deepen her dimples and thank Ranbir Kapoor at her award acceptance speech without the worry of losing fans, and Deepika Padukone can speak about the same Ranbir Kapoor-- her ex-- at talk shows without giving a thought to hurting the fragile patriarchal sensibilities of Indian viewers.
Over the years, Bollywood actresses have become more real. They no longer want to be just attractive. They also do not feel the need to perpetuate the single lady myth to draw more fans. In the public eyes, they are mothers like Kareena Kapoor and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, they are wives like Deepika Padukone and Anushka Sharma, and above all, they are successful career women.
When Amrita Singh tied the knot with Saif Ali Khan in 1991, every news report mentioned their age gap. Some rather insensitive ones even made the cougar reference. But, in 2018, when Priyanka Chopra married Nick Jonas in what seemed like the global marriage of the year, their age difference was just a passing mention in a few reports. Chopra, along with actresses like Kareena Kapoor, Anushka Sharma and Deepika Padukone, has been a game changer in the building of public images of Indian actresses.
Arora too, in publicly talking about her relationship with Kapoor, is joining these ladies in redefining the public image of Indian actresses. In recent years, Arora taught Indian women that when the going gets tough, there is no harm in wanting to get out of a relationship, instead of putting up a happy facade. In the absence of Carrie Bradshaw and Samantha Jones, Arora is telling all Indian women, that 45 years is as good an age as any to find love, and to look like a million bucks, and to be fit, and in charge of your life.
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