Who knew one star couple’s appearance on a chat show could trigger off a whole sociological discussion?
And yet, that’s precisely what seems to have happened after Shahid Kapoor and Mira Rajput appeared on Koffee With Karan, filmmaker Karan Johar’s popular chat show.
The couple — whose first joint television appearance this is — talked about their arranged marriage, the over 13-year age difference between them (Shahid is 35, Mira is 21), his past relationships, and what Mira thought of Bollywood (she said it could seem like a zoo).
The episode — like every other KWK episode — got tons of press.
It also got people commenting on the whole institution of arranged marriages.
There were a whole host of ‘oh my god, this has got me believing in arranged marriages’ responses. And some ‘this one’s for all those girls who worry that their mothers will make them have arranged marriages!’ types — which was barf-worthy.
But then there was the other extreme too: Buzzfeed in fact, had a of the Shahid-Mira coupledom, including comments like:
“Is it just me or does it seem like Shahid Kapoor is trying way too hard to glorify his marriage to a 20 year-old with zero ambitions?”
Others took issue with Shahid’s comment that he felt in love with Mira after she got pregnant, and that they “came closer faster” because she conceived so early in their marriage.
One of the commentors wondered, “Is this even 2017?”
But isn’t running down the couple for a choice they made, as problematic as lauding them for it?
Shahid and Mira haven’t done anything exemplary in having an arranged marriage — millions of Indians marry the same way. Some of them by choice, others because it’s the ‘done’ thing in their families, still others because they didn’t have an option.
As long as the marriage has taken place with the full — and happy — consent of the bride and groom, there’s nothing comment-worthy about families being involved in the matchmaking process. In the ‘love’ and ‘arranged’ marriage spectrum, neither is necessarily superior or inferior: One assumes that ‘love’ was the deciding factor, the latter (again, this in the context of it being completely consensual) ‘compatibility’ on a set of parameters.
Again, the judgment pronounced on Mira Rajput for choosing marriage and babies over a career, is troubling.
If this had been imposed on her, then by all means, it should have invited the ire of those who believe in equal rights. But if this is what she chose, why is it even anyone else’s business? Where do you get off assuming that someone has “zero ambition” just because she married and had a baby?
Maybe that was what she wanted for her life. It isn’t better or worse than what any number of young women have chosen for themselves, whether that’s a 9 to 7 corporate job, a creative or athletic pursuit, taking care of their families, or further studies; it’s simply a different choice and entirely her prerogative.
Love and marriage are such hit-and-miss experiences. What works for one couple may not work for another. If someone’s found a formula that works for them and helps them stay together — living in, having their parents choose a spouse, marrying, having an open relationship — (or alternatively, staying single) that’s good for them. That’s the world minus two unhappy people. And the rest of us don’t have to chime in with the judgment.
You guys do you, Shahid and Mira.