By Atul Mishra Last Updated:
In Tinseltown, marriages are the centre of media and people. Some marriages last forever, some do not, and then there are a few which goes estranged. Such is the case of Randhir Kapoor and Babita Kapoor. Having two kids, Karisma Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor Khan and four grandkids, Samiera Kapoor, Kiaan Raj Kapoor, Taimur Ali Khan, and Jeh Ali Khan Pataudi, Randhir and Babita's family is growing, however, the distance between them is still the same.
The topsy-turvy relationship and discourses that Randhir and Babita’s marital life has seen over the years is a roller coaster ride. Not many know that they are separated but not divorced, and hence, it’s fair to call their marriage an estranged one. Let us explore more about Randhir Kapoor and Babita’s marital life.
Randhir Kapoor was born on February 15, 1947, to the legendary filmmaker and actor, Raj Kapoor and his wife, Krishna Kapoor. He has four siblings- Rishi Kapoor, Rajiv Kapoor, Rima Kapoor and Ritu Kapoor. Randhir had begun his acting career in 1971 with the film, Kal Aaj Aur Kal which had also starred his father, Raj and grandfather, Prithviraj Kapoor. He has acted in more than 100 films since then. In 2012, in Housefull 2, he had acted alongside his late brother, Rishi Kapoor for the very first time. The last Hindi film in which Randhir Kapoor had acted was Super Nani in 2014.
Born as Babita Hari Shivdasani, on April 20, 1947, she was the daughter of actor, Hari Shivdasani. She had made her acting debut with the 1976 film, Dus Lakh which had also starred her future sister-in-law, Neetu Singh (now Kapoor). She has acted in 19 films in her acting career.
In 1969, Randhir Kapoor was accompanying his father, Raj Kapoor on the sets of the film, Sangam. Babita was also there and needless to say, young Randhir had fallen for the doe-eyed beauty instantly. They had started meeting on the sets, and eventually, had started seeing each other on chupke chupke dates. Two years down the line of their courtship, Babita had started having apprehensions about their relationship as it was the Kapoor family's tradition that Kapoor bahus cannot act in the films after marriage. So, she had asked Randhir to either marry or dump her.
As Babita was an actress, Randhir Kapoor had thought it would be best if she signed for a film in which he is also acting. This was the only way through which Randhir could introduce the love of his life to the Kapoor family. His father, Raj Kapoor had no issues in taking Babita as the lead actress in the 1971 film, Kal Aaj Aur Kal and working together professionally. However, the idea of making Babita the bahu of Kapoor khaandaan was something Raj Kapoor couldn’t agree with initially.
Realising his son’s love for Babita, the Kapoors had given in on the condition that Babita should quit acting after marriage. Babita, who was head-over-heels in love with Randhir, had adhered to the patriarchal tradition. Finally, on November 6, 1971, Randhir and Babita got married in a Punjabi wedding at the Kapoor residence.
Everything was going smoothly in Randhir Kapoor and Babita’s marital life. Even though Babita had quit acting to marry the love of her life, it had never made things bitter in her relationship with her husband or in-laws. Even Randhir’s career was going pretty well and in 1974, their first child, Karisma Kapoor was born. All was well for the next few years, however, Randhir’s career had started to see a downfall and by the 1980s, none of his films were doing well at the box office.
The trouble had majorly started in 1981 when their second child, Kareena Kapoor was born, as the financial woes had started to take a toll on Randhir and Babita’s relationship. By the mid-1980s, Randhir Kapoor was stamped as a ‘flop hero’. By that time he had become an alcoholic and had stopped taking his acting career seriously. Finally, in 1987, Babita had decided to separate from Randhir. The news had spread like wildfire and had created an uproar in the media.
By 1988, Babita was serious about completely separating from Randhir. She had even asked him to leave her apartment and hence, Randhir had gone to live with his parents. Babita had stayed back with Karisma and Kareena in her apartment. Instead of moaning over her failed marriage, Babita had remained strong for the next couple of years.
Babita had, then decided, to do something which no Kapoor bahu would ever dare to do. She had started preparing Karisma Kapoor to be an actress against the Kapoor khandaan's parampara. Babita’s resolute effort had paid off and Karisma had eventually made her debut in Bollywood with her first film, Prem Qaidi in 1991. In fact, it was because of her mommy’s efforts, that Kareena had also bagged her debut film, Refugee in 1999, and later, she had worked with the Yash Raj banner.
In a throwback interview with the Hindustan Times in 2011, Kareena Kapoor Khan had opened up about the struggles she and Lolo (Karisma Kapoor) had faced while growing up. Revealing that they never had a luxurious or privileged childhood, Kareena had said:
“We weren’t brought up in luxury, as people think about the Kapoor clan. My mom (Babita) and sister (Karisma) really struggled to give me a better life. Especially my mom, because she was a single parent. Everything was very limited for us.”
Stating how she and Karisma used to travel in local transport since they didn’t have enough money to afford a driver, Kareena had continued:
“Lolo went to college in local trains, but I escaped that because I didn’t go to college here. But I took the school bus like everyone else. We had one car and didn’t have enough money for a driver. It’s only because mom brought us up like this that we value everything we have today. The bad days we have seen have made us very strong and fragile at the same time. And the experiences have made me a very intense person.”
All this while, when Babita was helping Karisma and Kareena in their careers, there was almost no contact between her and Randhir. However, in the early-2000s, they had started with a little contact and eventually in 2007, after 19 years of separation, the estranged life partners had buried their differences and had started off fresh again. It was a moment which both Karisma and Kareena had been waiting for long.
Even though the year 2007 came with a hope of reconciliation, but 19 years of separation was a long time as Randhir and Babita’s personalities and approach towards life, had changed completely. Randhir and Babita still live separately but the bitterness has definitely subsided between the two. They often meet each other, all thanks to their daughters, Karisma and Kareena.
In an interview with the Hindustan Times, Randhir Kapoor had revealed why he and Babita haven't divorced each other. He was quoted as saying:
"Divorce for what? Why should we head for divorce? I don’t intend to get married again, and nor does she. She found that I was a terrible man who drank a lot and came home late, which was something she didn’t like. And I didn’t want to live the way she wanted, and she couldn’t accept me as I am, though it was a love marriage. So it’s okay. We had two lovely children to look after. She brought them up in the best way and they have excelled in their career. What else I could have asked for as a father?".
In an interview with Barkha Dutt, Kareena Kapoor Khan had opened up on her parents' separation. She had revealed how her parents continue to share a good friendship even after living separately. She had shared:
"Yes, my mother is my best friend but I adore my father because I respect and love him a lot. He is in a strange way not very in your face because he is somebody who's always also chosen to be at the back. He's not somebody who is commanding the attention and wants that. He's silently always there for us and I know it. I mean my parents have a lovely relationship because sometimes two people realise that their lives aren't exactly going the way they planned so, it's better you know we kind of don't stay together but we can still like you know be friends and stay in touch and still take decisions sometimes about the kids."
Kareena Kapoor Khan had also shared how she and her sister, Karisma had understood that their parents are happy living separately at an early age. She had added:
"It's not necessary that they have to possibly be you know staying under the same roof or being there 24*7 together so I think both Karisma and me understood that at a very early age that this kind of a relationship can exist as well and it has existed for almost 35 years with my parents and I see them in times when they need to come together, they are always together. But they sometimes, obviously, prefer to just you know have their day-to-day lives separately, which is wonderful."
Randhir Kapoor and Babita’s marital life makes us understand that it is not necessary for people to live together to be happy. Sometimes, a happy family can be raised even when you choose to live separately, focussing on your happiness. Also, one must always remain strong just like Babita, who nurtured the careers of Karisma and Kareena despite all the odds.