One of the powerful couples in Indian cinema, Kiran Rao and Aamir Khan, announced their separation on Saturday in a joint statement.
“During these 15 beautiful years together, we have shared a lifetime of experiences, joy and laughter, and our relationship has only grown in trust, respect and love. Now we would like to start a new chapter in our life – no longer as husband and wife, but as co-parents and family for each other, ”said Rao and Khan, who together have a son, Azad.
The wedding of Kiran Rao and Aamir Khan – they married on December 28, 2005 – was one of the most creative associations in Indian cinema, bringing together one of its biggest superstars and a movie buff who aspired to make her mark. as a writer-director.
They met on the set of Lagaan (2001) directed by Ashutosh Gowariker, one of India’s most commercially successful films, where the former was assistant director. Their romance, Khan said in some interviews, later blossomed when the actor was in the process of legally parting with his first wife, Reena Dutta. Khan and Dutta, who have a son, Junaid, and a daughter, Ira, divorced together in 2002.
Kiran Rao has co-produced several critically acclaimed and commercially successful films directed by Aamir Khan Productions. These include Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na (2008), Peepli Live (2010), Delhi Belly (2011), Dangal (2016) and the documentary Rubaru Roshni (2019).
When Rao wrote and directed Dhobi Ghat (2010), Khan emerged as one of the protagonists. In 2016, Rao and Khan also co-founded a non-profit foundation, the Paani Foundation, which works to make rural Maharashtra drought-free.
Rao was also a champion of independent cinema. She presented and promoted Anand Gandhi’s acclaimed directorial feature Ship of Theseus (2013). Together with other film personalities, she attempted to create an eclectic center for cinema in Mumbai, where one could experience and participate in a wide range of films.
When the Mumbai Film Festival ran into financial difficulties in 2014, and veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal resigned as president of the Mumbai Academy of the Moving Image (MAMI), which hosts the annual event, Rao took over. Under his leadership, the festival got a new lease of life, found new sponsors and worked on its programming. That year, at the closing ceremony, actor-producer Salman Khan said in a lighter vein that “after marrying Aamir Khan, this is the most important decision Kiran Rao has made”. Having Rao as president was believed to have helped the festival bring many big stars to its red carpet. In early 2019, she resigned as president of MAMI, with actor Deepika Padokone replacing her.
Kiran Rao and Aamir Khan’s frank statement ensures that they will continue to collaborate on work and pet projects. “We started a planned separation some time ago, and now we feel comfortable formalizing this arrangement, to live apart while sharing our lives like an extended family does. We remain devoted parents to our son Azad, whom we will be raising and raising together. We will also continue to work as collaborators on films, the Paani Foundation and other projects that we are passionate about, ”they said. Announcing the birth of Azad in 2011, the former couple had shown a similar frankness by mentioning that they were born after “a long wait” and “by IVF-GPA”.
They ended their statement by saying, “A big thank you to our families and friends for their continued support and understanding of this development in our relationship, and without whom we would not have been so sure to take this leap. We ask our supporters our best wishes and blessings, and hope that, like us, you will see this divorce not as an end, but as the beginning of a new journey.
With the extended Khan family, including Dutta, celebrating many special occasions together over the years, it doesn’t seem too unlikely.