After months of speculation, Sonakshi Sinha tied the knot with her long-term beau Zaheer Iqbal, in an intimate, yet high on love ceremony on June 23, surrounded by close friends and family. The same evening, the newly married couple hosted a star-studded reception, where the duo, insanely in love, danced to the beats of Bollywood numbers the entire night, with Sonakshi looking resplendent in her bright red saree, sindoor and traditional jewelry, while her husband looked dapper in a white traditional ensemble.Sounds dreamy, doesn’t it? However, as much as the couple and their family seemed elated, netizens went into overdrive saying that the Sinhas were ‘unhappy’ with the union, since Iqbal is a Muslim. Eventually, the trolling got so bitter that the newly married couple had to disable the comments section on their IG, even as the bride’s father Shatrughan Sinha called it the ‘wedding of the century’, in a heartwarming wedding video shared soon after the ceremony.

Sonakshi and Iqbal are not an isolated case
While they might be the newest, and the most visible (thanks to social media) interfaith couple, they are definitely not an isolated case, as for decades, Bollywood has seen some beautiful interfaith reunions, that have transpired the traditional boundaries of religion, family dynamics and bitter rivalries, commonly seen in the layman world. (and on the silver screen!) Interestingly, Zaheer’s father Iqbal Ratansi, had earlier quoted that the two in fact, are having a civil ceremony and that Sonakshi will not convert to Islam for sure. With that noble thought, let’s take a look at some interfaith reunions of Bollywood that have survived many storms, but religion was not one of them…

Shah Rukh Khan-Gauri Khan
When it comes to inter-religious couples, this union stands as a benchmark of selfless love that has spanned more than three decades! Initially hailing from Delhi, Gauri and Shah Rukh met through common friends and the King Of Romance fell in love with her at first sight! After making SRK run around a little bit, Gauri eventually gave in, and the duo tied the knot in 1991, long before SRK became the superstar we know today. The couple, along the way were blessed with three kids, namely Aryan, Suhana, and AbRam, who was born via surrogacy in 2013.
Kareena Kapoor-Saif Ali Khan
Our Punjabi kudi Kareena Kapoor met Saif Ali Khan on sets, and after a brief friendship, started dating him in 2007. Saif, a half Muslim (his mother Sharmila Tagore is a Bengali Hindu), had been previously married to Amrita Singh and shares two children with her, namely son Ibrahim, and daughter Sara. Coming back to Saif and Kareena, the duo dated for several years before tying the knot in 2012. They are now blessed with two boys namely, Taimur and Jeh.
Riteish Deshmukh-Genelia D’Souza
Undoubtedly one of the most adorable couples in tinsel town, Riteish Deshmukh-Genelia D’Souza incidentally started seeing each other soon after starring together in their debut movie in 2003, when Genelia was all of 16! As they both navigated their careers, their relationship withstood the test of time, and the duo tied the knot in a traditional Maharashtrian Hindu ceremony in 2012, followed by a Church wedding. The couple is blessed with two sons, namely sons Riaan and Rahyl.

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Swara Bhasker-Fahad Ahmad
A classic case of opposites attract, Swara and Fahad met each other at a protest rally in Delhi, and over a period of time, fell in love. The duo tied the knot last year, and soon welcomed their daughter Raabiya. On the couple’s first anniversary, Swara said, “Fahad & I certainly rushed into marriage, but were friends for 3 years prior. It was a love neither of us noticed blossoming, perhaps because the differences between us were many. Hindu-Muslim was only the most obvious. I’m older than Fahad & we come from different worlds: a big city girl from an ethnically mixed English speaking family & a small town boy from a traditional Western UP family that speaks Urdu & Hindustani. I’m an actress in Hindi films, he’s a research scholar, activist & politician. But our liberal arts education & values gave us a shared language of political beliefs & a common vision for our society & country. After months of intense communication & night long conversations, I asked Fahad what next. He said though we were worlds apart, we were very compatible, he was very fond of me & if I waited 2-3 years for him to ‘settle’ we could marry. I was stunned but also disarmed by his confidence & candour. Our families were concerned, but we stood by our love. Our shocked parents accepted our BIG decision, though hesitantly & after gently laying out concerns. When they met us together, I think they felt reassured. We were married under the SMA one year ago today. Fittingly, a relationship that began at a protest to preserve the Constitution was solemnised under constitutional provisions.”

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Kunal Kemmu-Soha Ali Khan
As different as chalk and cheese, these two, under no circumstances would have come together, as they themselves say, but love truly always finds a way! Soha once mentioned in one of her interviews with a leading daily, “When I first met Kunal, I didn’t even think a friendship was possible between us, let alone being in a relationship.” Kunal too, shared similar views, “I thought of her as this Oxford grad and could never think that we would ever click.” However, they did click and how! The duo tied the knot in a simple ceremony in 2015, and are now parents to daughter Inaaya.

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Katrina Kaif-Vicky Kaushal
One of the most loved couples of Bollywood, these two came from extremely different worlds, with Katrina even saying that Vicky was ‘no where on her radar’ before she met him and started dating, eventually tying the knot in a traditional Hindu ceremony (with some rituals paying homage to Katrina’s English roots) in December 2021. Incidentally, global citizen Katrina Kaif and our Punjab da munda Vicky Kaushal were never even photographed together before walking down the aisle. Talk about some high level secrecy!

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Many more…
Apart from these, couples like Richa Chadha-Ali Fazal, Manoj Bajpayee-Shabana, Ratna Pathak Shah-Naseeruddin Shah, Suniel Shetty-Mana, Salim Khan-Helen, too, have tied the knot outside their religions.
It is not easy, but a balance is important
Gauri Khan, interior designer and King Khan Shah Rukh Khan’s wife has often spoken candidly about their interfaith reunion. While appearing on one of the prior seasons of Koffee With Karan, Gauri had said, ‘There is a balance. I respect Shah Rukh’s religion but that doesn’t mean that I would convert and become a Muslim. I don’t believe in that.’ Incidentally, it was Gauri’s father (whose surname is Chibber) who initially had reservations about her getting married outside the community, but over the years, has grown extremely fond of his famous son-in-law.

Having fun along the way
Kareena Kapoor Khan, who is married to Saif Ali Khan, gave her two cents on how to make marriages work. Kareena, who is also a decade younger to her dapper husband, told India Today, “We spend so much time discussing inter-faith (relationships). So much energy, so much that they are 10 years apart. The important thing is to have fun. The most important thing between Saif and I is that we like each other and enjoy our company. How should it matter what faith he follows or what his age is, that isn’t even a point of discussion.”

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Always follow your heart
Would be parents Richa Chadha and Ali Fazal met on the sets of their movie Fukrey in 2013 and instantly hit it off. After dating for many years, the duo tied the knot in 2022, and are now going the family way. Speaking on their inter-faith reunion, Richa told Indian Express, “If you stand firm with your choice and your immediate family is supportive of you, nobody else really matters. A human being is a human being first, and when you fall in love, your search has no filters. When you fall in love, that’s what it is.”

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Is it an ‘elite’ thing?
A lot of people tend to think interfaith unions are an ‘elite’ concept, and one that is reserved for the creme la de creme of the society. However, that could not be farther from the truth. When it comes to many actors, their background and family history was completely opposite to a ‘contemporary, modern’ set up, yet the thinking was far from regressive. Manoj Bajpayee, born in a small village called Belwa near the city Bettiah in West Champaran, Bihar is a case in point. Born to a farmer father and homemaker mother, Manoj married Shabana (nee Neha aka Kareeb girl), in 2006, and the couple are parents to daughter Ava Nayla. Earlier, talking about his interfaith reunion, Manoj shared with Jist, “There were no problems, because my parents were broad-minded and her parents were broad-minded too. That’s why we did not face any problems. Secondly, two people have to spend their life together. People who are wise, they never get in their way. People who are not wise, even God can’t help them.”

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While talking to Barkha Dutt on Mojo Story, Manoj also said that more than religion, it is thinking and common values that make a marriage work. He said, “I come from a Brahmin family, a feudal family. Her family had a lot of reputation and prestige to their name. But surprisingly, none of my family members ever objected to it. Never, till now.” He added, “She’s a proud Muslim, and I’m a proud Hindu, but it doesn’t clash with each other.”
Family dynamics come into play, too
In India they say, you don’t marry a boy/girl, you marry an entire family. And, our Bollywood couples have made sure that interfaith or not, they not only get along with their in-laws, but that there is a lot of mutual respect and love. Katrina Kaif, who married Vicky Kaushal in 2021, has always showered love on Vicky’s parents Sham and Veena Kaushal and said that she has the sweetest in-laws, who call her ‘Kittu’! Vicky, while acknowledging that the two come from different worlds, believed that it was their life principles and goals that were common, and brought them together. In an interview with The Week magazine, Vicky said, “Katrina comes from a completely different geography. But if you meet her family, you will see that her core life principles are similar to mine. In terms of family, ours is a middle-class upbringing, [where you value] what you have and how you have earned it. When we have family get-togethers, the difference is only linguistic. Actually, I was taken by surprise when I got to interact with her; it is not what it seems from afar. I was a fanboy and admired her for a long time… even if she was an astronaut, I would have fallen in love with her.”

Shatrughan Sinha Drops Rare Videos From Sonakshi Sinha & Zaheer Iqbal’s Wedding | Gets Trolled Online

Why tear down a happy union?
Ironically, the concept of live and let live is alien in a country, where interfaith marriages should be the least of anyone’s concern. Swara Bhasker, who attracted a lot of ire for marrying politician and activist Fahad Ahmad, said that she went through a sea of irate comments from people who neither knew her, or her husband personally! While talking to Connect Cine recently, the Tanu Weds Manu actress said, “One of the biggest myths of modern India is ‘love jihad’, where a Hindu girl marries a Muslim man. This applies to me as well. An interfaith couple can actually get beaten up in certain cities on Valentine’s Day. Lots of experts offered their opinions during my wedding as well. But we’re talking about two consenting adults here. What they do in their private lives, whether they get married or not, it’s up to them. It’s nobody’s business if they’re living together, getting married in a court, or having a nikaah, or an Arya Samaj wedding. It’s between the man and the woman, and their families. It’s Sonakshi’s life; she’s chosen her partner. Her partner has chosen her. Now it’s between them and their families. I find this a very time-wasting debate.”

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Talking about newlyweds Sonakshi Sinha and Zaheer Iqbal, Swara said, “Wait and watch, when they have a child, there will be a separate debate around the child’s name. We’ve seen it happen with Kareena and Saif’s kids, and with my kid. It’s completely idiotic, but this isn’t going to end anytime soon.”