By Shreya Sharma Last Updated:
When you think of the phrase 'relationship goals', you know, you might think of many celebrity couples that are quite popular when it comes to social media PDAs. However, there is one couple, who likes to keep their personal life private, but the love they share is genuinely major 'relationship goals'. We are talking about the bond and love shared between actors, Manoj Bajpayee and Shabana Raza aka Neha and it has hit the bull’s eye! Their love story is a special tale that shows partnership, perseverance and privacy.
Known as Neha Bajpai or simply Neha, Shabana Raza was born into a Muslim family, who had made her debut in the film industry opposite Bobby Deol in Kareeb. Her debut film was followed by a couple of super hit movies including Hogi Pyaar Ki Jeet, Fiza and Koi Mere Dil Mein Hai. Right after Kareeb, Shabana had met the love of her life, Manoj Bajpayee and had stayed in touch with him. Later, the two had become good friends and soon, love had blossomed! The adorable and extremely private love story of Manoj Bajpayee and Shabana Raza had said to have started in 1998. Well, let's take a deep dive into The Family Man, Manoj Bajpayee and Shabana Raza's love story!
National Award winner, Manoj Bajpayee’s Bollywood story is of hard work, struggle, and the spirit of never giving up. Named after the veteran actor, Manoj Kumar, the actor was born in 1969 in a small village in Bihar called Belwa. Second, of five siblings, Manoj’s father was a farmer while his mother had looked after the house and kids. The young lad, who had done his primary schooling in a hut-type school, became one of the most illustrious actors in Bollywood and it is a story that is nothing short of fantastic. After completing secondary school, Manoj had enrolled himself in Delhi University.
Life was not kind and he was rejected from the prestigious National School of Drama more than three times! Depressed, Manoj had suicidal thoughts. But his friend had encouraged him to enrol in a workshop by theatre veteran, Barry John, who had spotted Manoj’s immense potential. Things took a better turn, and Manoj had found recognition in Ram Gopal Varma’s cult classic, Satya.
Not many know that Manoj Bajpayee was married when he had first started out in Bollywood. It is said that Manoj had an arranged marriage with a girl from his native Bihar. The actor, who is very private about his life, has not spoken much about his old life; so much so that even her name is not known. The marriage had taken place in the early 1990s, right when he was gaining a foothold in the industry. In 1994, Manoj was chosen by Shekhar Kapur to act in the acclaimed, Bandit Queen. The same year, he had moved to Bombay for better opportunities, and the pressure of financial constraints and the long-distance relationship with his wife in New Delhi was too much for the couple, who had decided to part ways in 1995.
The year 1998 was an eventful year for the Bajpayees. Not only was the much-acclaimed film, Satya was released but also Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s romantic flick, Kareeb starring Neha a.k.a., Shabana Raza and Bobby Deol had hit the silver screens. With the two releases, Shabana and Manoj had gained the limelight. Kareeb was the Bollywood movie, for which Vidhu had changed Shabana's name to Neha! Moving on to the love story! This was also the momentous year when Manoj Bajpayee and Shabana Raza had finally met for the first time!
It is said that Manoj and Shabana had first met at the premiere of Satya and soon became close friends. In an interview with the Hindustan Times, Shabana had once said, “Manoj and I have known each other for 10 years. I met him right after Kareeb was released. And since then we've been together. We're individuals and yet a compatible couple.”
In another interview with Rediff.com, Shabana was asked when she had met Manoj Bajpayee, to which she had replied, "Manoj and I go back a long way. We met each other just after Kareeb. Kareeb and Satya released within a month of each other."
After dating each other for almost 8 years, and getting to know each other better, Manoj Bajpayee and Shabana Raza had decided to finalise the deal and had tied the knot in April 2006. From 1998 to 2006, they had indeed come a long, long way. In an interview with Rediff.com, Shabana had said, “Manoj and I understand each other well. We do not mix our professional and personal lives. We have a very healthy relationship.”
In an interview with the Hindustan Times, Shabana had said that they love each other's company more than anything. She had said, “Manoj and I don't need to socialise or go out to feel happy. We share long evenings of tea, silences and warm vibes right in our house. Nothing gives us more joy than to be together in our house."
This also explains the super-private and unpretentious nature of their relationship. Conversations over tea, guess the two don’t need much! In a conversation with Mumbai Mirror, Manoj Bajpayee had explained the secret about his successful relationship and had said:
“For us, between my wife and me, we believe conversation is the key. On a free day, we sit in the balcony or living area or wherever get our team and talk, talk and talk . . . The teacups come and go, and we continue our conversations. That's the thing about us.”
Manoj Bajpayee and Shabana Raza were blessed with their first child, a daughter named Ava Nayla in 2011. Manoj was 41 years old when he had become a father for the first time. It doesn’t get better than finding the right companionship and forging a love of everlasting friendship. The relationship of Manoj and Shabana is based on the same strong bedrock.
In a conversation with the Filmfare, Manoj Bajpayee had shared his feelings on holding his daughter for the first time. He had said, "I felt I had the world’s most precious thing in my hands. I felt I was looking at my wife. Ava looks exactly like Shabana. But at that time I was more worried about Shabana than her."
When asked what all he does for his daughter, Ava, he had said, "Whatever a father does – feeding her, changing her clothes, her diapers. We are only two and half people at home - Shabana, Ava and I. When my wife’s busy, I handle Ava. For some time after she was born, I didn’t go out of town. I had tears in my eyes when I had to go out of Mumbai for Aarakshan."
Manoj was also asked about the changes his daughter, Ava and wife, Shabana had brought into his life. He had shared, "My wife has made me responsible. My daughter Ava Nayla has made me patient. I used to get angry easily, not today. Being with a child is a test of your personality."
Manoj Bajpayee and Shabana Raza make for an ideal pair, always complimenting each other for the part they have played in each other's life. Shabana was once asked about taking time off movies in a conversation with the Hindustan Times. She had said, “There's always the space that I share with Manoj. Nothing can equal that.”
In a conversation with the Deccan Chronicle, Manoj had also lauded his wife, Shabana for the sacrifice she had made to take care of their daughter and taking time off films. He had said, “I would love to work with her. The day she makes a comeback and asks me to do a film, I will do it. She has done a huge sacrifice for me and I owe it to her.”
Away from the cameras, Manoj and Shabana are just normal, everyday people. In a conversation with the Filmfare, Manoj had shared, “I too like to go back home after work. I don’t mind stopping to pick up groceries. On a holiday, Shabana and I visit malls to shop for our daughter. I enjoy all this.”
Shabana too enjoys the happiness she’s found in partnership and matrimony. In an interview with the Hindustan Times, Shabana had said that she is happy being 'Mrs Manoj Bajpayee', “I was sitting at home and was happy with that because I loved being with Manoj all the time.”
Manoj Bajpayee's major source of income is through films and web shows he does and the brands he promotes. According to networthdekho.com, Manoj Bajpayee's net worth is approximately $20 million, which convert to Rs 146 crores. He is said to have BMW 3 series, Mahindra Scorpio and Toyota Fortuner in his car collection.
A strong sense of camaraderie binds Manoj Bajpayee and Shabana Raza together. The couple takes their privacy very seriously. This is such a refreshing change in the world of glitz and glamour. We hope that their relationship grows leaps and bounds over hot cups of chai and loving conversations.