By Akanksha Gupta Last Updated:
She was the effervescent Bengali beauty, who created a niche for herself in the Hindi and Bengali cinema. He was born with a silver spoon, who became a pioneering figure in India's rich cricketing heritage. When the world of entertainment and cricket met, it became a story to remember. With love blossoming between Sharmila Tagore and Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, it soon resulted in a beautiful married life for the couple, in the journey of which, they were blessed with three children, Saif Ali Khan, Saba Ali Khan and Soha Ali Khan.
Sharmila Tagore became sapnon ki rani of Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi (MAK). Neither MAK was a crazy Bollywood fan, nor Sharmila Tagore was an avid cricket lover. Not only their faiths were different, but everything from their profession to their personalities were poles apart. Both had reached the zenith in their respective fields, and in their spellbinding unconventional love journey, December 27, 1969, had marked the beginning of their ‘happily ever after’.
Sharmila Tagore, in a conversation with Diya Jaiswal, who is the President of Ladies Study Group, spoke about her Safar in the film industry and her love journey with Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi. She revealed that her family was crazy about cricket and once during a party, she had met MAK, who was very English with a British accent at that time. When asked if like how Anushka Sharma is trolled for being a distraction to Virat Kohli during a match, she was also blamed at that time, Sharmila Tagore said, "Most certainly. Those days we used to sit with the crowd. With the crowd in Bengal, I never feel threatened. I still feel Calcutta is my place and I think people like me there. But my father when Tiger dropped a catch or something, screamed saying, "You shouldn't have kept him up all night.""
Sharmila Tagore also shared some anecdotes on her relationship with Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, when he proposed to her and broke the news to his amma. Revealing what drew her towards him, Sharmila Tagore said, "I liked his sense of humour and I felt that this man is not going to hurt me on purpose. I trusted him and he was gentle and a gentleman. His humour was very wacky but I loved it."
In a throwback interview with The Times Of India, Sharmila Tagore had spoken about why she was sent two gentlemen from Delhi for her protection post her decision to marry Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi. She was quoted as saying, "Our story is all very ordinary, really. Ours was a love marriage, as you all know. It was that you meet and like that person, which I did. Then one thing led to another. We dated for a few years and it didn’t change our opinion of each other. So, after a while we decided to get married. And we left our respective families to deal with it. We stayed in Bombay so we had no idea of this Hindu-Muslim thing. We were very young then, thank God! And we lived in another age. This was in late 1960s when we got married. There were reactions, most certainly there were, to our union, but we were blissfully unaware of them. I remember I woke up one day and there were two gentlemen in my sitting room. They had been sent from Delhi to protect me. I told them I don’t need any protection but they thought otherwise. There were comments in Delhi and there were comments in Mumbai about our marriage. I remember my father getting letters advising him otherwise."
Revealing how she and Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi were told the cons of marrying each other, Sharmila Tagore had said, "For Tiger’s baraat, there were some guests coming from Pakistan also, so there were some military people also called in but nothing untoward happened at our wedding. My parents and his mother must have faced whatever worry there was. But there were lots of advice, to give up work, to not give it up, to marry and not to marry. I remember Yash (Chopra) telling me to not get married at that stage in life and someone else telling me that nawabs are the really wild types, they said ‘they don’t have nine-to-five jobs’ and Tiger was told that actresses are like ‘that’. So, nobody gave us beyond one or two years but we carried on for much longer than expected by others. So that was it."
For the uninitiated, Sharmila Tagore converted to Islam for her nikaah with Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi!