Bollywood, Youth and the Idea of Live-in Relationships

Live-in relationship is a subject that has scandalised the orthodox Indians and taken up considerable media footage in the recent times. Actor, Sushant Singh Rajput, the latest heartthrob, who is seen in a live-in relationship on-screen in Shuddh Desi Romance, advocates the same in the real life as well. He has been in a live-in relationship with his girlfriend, Ankita Lokhande, for quite some time now.

In fact, if you pause to think about it, Bollywood celebrities have often broken social taboos not only in reel-life, but also in real life. Long before we were exposed to this trend, actors, Kamal Hassan and Sarika, were extremely open about their live-in status. The couple even had two daughters outside wedlock.

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Rajni Khagad, a 23 year old journalist from Indore, working in Delhi with a media firm says, “My job timings are so hectic that I barely got to see my boyfriend. Our relationship was losing its charm. So, last month we decided to move in together. We do not regret the decision. Though our parents are not aware of it, but we both feel that this was a logical and practical decision!"

But, has the youth really become so liberal with their thoughts? Well, recently there was a survey done across 40 cities in India on this subject, and the results to our surprise were not surprising at all. ‘Live-in relations are born out of lust’- 68 per cent of youngsters believed live-in relationships are born out of lust, while 72 per cent believed that live-in relationships fail and end in break-ups. And, almost 80 per cent of the parents believe that those in a live-in relationship have 'loose characters'.

As far as the Indian law is concerned, Orissa High Court judge, Justice M M Das says, “Today's youngsters think it's better to be in a live-in relationship than getting divorced after a few days of marriage. Live-in relationship has become a pre-condition before marriage and unfortunately we don't have any legislation to protect the relationship."

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Many would not know that the earliest case in which the Supreme Court of India recognised the live-in relationship as a valid marriage was that of Badri Prasad vs. Deputy Director of Consolidation, in which the Court gave legal validity to a 50 year live-in relationship of a couple.

When people start as a live-in couple then why do they eventually go and marry each other? Well, reasons could be many starting from having children to public acceptance. Society is so important that many women who are in live-in relationship, but wear mangalsutra and sindoor for societal acceptance.

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Superstar Kamal Hasan, who broke the shackles of society long back, said that he never believed in marriage. People marry because of peer pressure. He said he would have never married anyone, but the society was such that Sarika (his live-in partner then) and he could not even book a hotel room together even after they had two daughters.

Actor, Kareena Kapoor Khan, who was in a live-in relationship with Saif, before eventually marrying him, now profoundly endorses the live-in relationship formula. In fact, she says, it a reality in modern India.

However, in a nation as big as India, which boosts of handful number of metro cities and innumerable towns, villages and districts, has this trend really taken over all? What exactly comprises this modern India? After all, metros don't represent the whole country. Broken marriages and live-in relationships are still seen as metro phenomenon, and the rest of India is still traditionally insulated from such things.

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Actor Parineeti Chopra, recently said that live-in relationships are not different from marriages and it’s all about our perception. However, when it came to tasting the fruit, she stepped back, “My family, especially my dad, is very strict, thus, a live-in relationship is a distant thought for me. My family environment will never allow me to do something of this sort. My dad will slap me if I indulge into it.” Isn’t what Parineeti said, is a classic example of our society? Many of the youngsters today feel the same; they may not reject the concept, but due to their 'family values' and 'society', will never think of taking this step.

It will certainly take a lot of time for values to change in India. But, in all the jazz surrounding the concept, there are some questions that are still seeking honest answers. Do we opt for live-in relationships because we do not believe in the institution of marriage? Or we want to take a test drive before the actual ride? What if after being in a live-in, one partner feels that he/she is ready to take it forward and get married, whereas the other feels just the opposite of it? Do you guys have an answer? Do share your views in the comments section below.

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Image Courtesy: Yash Raj Films Pvt. Ltd.


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