When Arshad Warsi wed Maria Goretti thrice: Valentine’s Day Special

Maria Goretti and Arshad Warsi married on Valentine’s Day, 25 years ago. Photo: Instagram / Arshad Warsi 

It’s Valentine week, and among Hindi cinema’s lead actors, we have had over 30 examples of couples. There were for sure some quirky ones among them.

Like the Dharmendra-Hema Malini wedding (it was his second marriage) on May 2,1980 was to be kept a secret from the media but a lucky break (a journalist’s conversation with her family priest at her home!) led to the media coming to know of it within days!

It was also headline material when Dilip Kumar wed Saira Banu, when he was almost 44 and she was exactly half his age—22, on October 11, 1966. As per buzz then, both had been said to be romantically linked with other co-stars!

Rajesh Khanna, in a surprise move, wed Dimple Kapadia on the eve of the release of her sensational debut film, Bobby. While that marriage proved traumatic despite the couple having two daughters, the elder of them—Twinkle Khanna—has been happily married to Akshay Kumar for over two decades now.

Shashi Kapoor fell in love with his British stage (and later film) actress co-star, Jennifer Kapoor, and in time, as per Shashi’s quote to me, she proved to be his father (late Prithviraj Kapoor)’s favorite bahu (daughter-in-law).

His elder brother, Shammi Kapoor, in 1955, had a secret marriage at the Banganga Temple in South Mumbai (most online ‘sources’ erroneously state that they got married in suburban Bandra!) at 4 a.m. in pouring rain with Geeta Bali, then a top star while he was struggling. This was because of Geeta’s condition that they either get married that day—or never! There was no sindoor, so Geeta’s lipstick was used!

And speaking of Bandra, the suburb that is home for innumerable film people, Kishore Kumar, a Juhu resident (a suburb about 5 kilometres North) married, in turn, four actresses—character artiste Ruma from whom he separated, Madhubala, until her death, Yogeeta Bali for a short while and Leena Chandavarkar. All four of these actresses were Bandra residents and so Kishore could term them collectively as ‘Bandariya’ (female monkeys, but a pun on them being all from Bandra)!

Yogeeta Bali later had a lasting marriage with Mithun Chakraborty. Similarly, after Saif Ali Khan divorced Amrita Singh, he had a lasting marriage with Kareena Kapoor Khan.

In 1973, Jaya Bhaduri and Amitabh Bachchan had similar professional statuses to Geeta and Shammi—Jaya was a top star while Amitabh was struggling despite a couple of succeses (Pyar Ki Kahani, Bombay To Goa besides Anand). Amitabh suddenly delivered a blockbuster breakthrough in Zanjeer and decided to celebrate with a trip to London, with Jaya along. But his parents insisted that they wed before going together, and so they wed on June 3. And happily for them, their next release, Abhimaan, which also was their joint home production produced by their respective secretaries, also proved a hit later the same year!

In the past few years, a bevy of top names have married each other. In alphabetical order they are Ranbir Kapoor-Alia Bhatt, Ranveer Singh-Deepika Padukone, Sidharth Malhotra-Kiara Advani and Vicky Kaushal-Katrina Kaif. But perhaps the cake for the quirkiest intra-film-industry star wedding goes to Arshad Warsi and Maria Goretti.

Here’s why: On February 14, Valentine’s Day itself, in 1999, the Muslim actor and Catholic actress wed each other. As Arshad told Bombay Times, “Maria’s parents wanted us to get married soon. We could not until the season of Lent was over. But after that, I was going to get busy with work. We did not want to waste one year and the one date that looked feasible to us was February 14, so we went ahead with it!” As he jokes, “Now I have the scariest memory of V-Day—that I got married!”

However, on February 14, 1999, the couple first walked down the aisle in the church ceremony and later had a traditional nikaah. But despite being married for so long, they never got down to registering their marriage. So to celebrate their 25th, they decided to have a court marriage (on January 29 this year). As the actor said, “It crossed our minds (to register the marriage), but we never thought it was really important. But then we realized that it was when you have to deal with property matters and even after you are no more. We did it for the sake of the law. Otherwise I feel, as partners, if you are committed to each other, than that’s all that matters.”

Interestingly, as per court rules of only two (obviously non-family) witnesses being present, son Zake and daughter Zene Zoe, could not attend the court marriage! But as Maria Goretti says, “Yes, I married the same man for the third time! Who does that?”



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