Aamir-Kiran split: Is Fatima Sana Shaikh behind the separation?

Linah Baliga
Filed on July 3, 2021

Splitsville rocks Bollywood, as ‘Mr Perfectionist’ is set to divorce his second wife amid swirling rumours of a link-up with 'Dangal' co-star.

Aamir Khan, 56, who is often dubbed as “Mr Perfectionist” on screen, is anything but that when it comes to managing his personal life.

On Saturday, Aamir and his wife of 15 years, Kiran Rao, 47, issued a joint statement on their failed marriage.

The statement was the proverbial last straw that broke the camel’s back, as industry insiders had seen the writing on the wall a couple of years ago.

Alleged link-up?

Industry sources confirmed to City Times that the grapevine was abuzz with swirling rumours about Aamir’s link-up with his Dangal co-star Fatima Sana Shaikh, 29. Fatima is believed to have driven a wedge between Aamir and Kiran, according to industry insiders, who know the couple intimately.

“Aamir is believed to have expressed his desire to get married to Fatima. He has been in a relationship with her over the past few years. In Thugs of Hindostan, which was released in 2018 and proved to be a box-office dud, he had conveniently diverted the climax on her.

“The ‘link-up’ started doing the rounds at that point in time and Kiran had got a whiff of it. Naturally, Kiran was miffed and decided to call it quits. However, the news was under wraps for a while and came out in the open only today,” an industry source told City Times requesting anonymity.

Initially, the rumours had surfaced in 2016 and Aamir was spotted in Bollywood parties walking hand-in-hand with Fatima as tongues started wagging. The matter came to a head a year later.

Aamir, who was clearly smitten by Fatima, proposed her name for a meaty role in Thugs of Hindostan, which also co-starred Amitabh Bachchan and Katrina Kaif.

Later, Kiran got wind of their dalliances behind her back and created a ruckus.

But, though the grist to the rumour mill had died a gradual death, the embers of the forbidden relationship continued to flicker, which Kiran was unaware of, the source added.

Social media detox

Earlier, Aamir had quit social media and he had chosen his 56th birthday on March 14, 2021 to make an elaborate announcement.

Aamir said; “Hey guys, thank you so much for all the love and warmth on my birthday. My heart is full. In other news, this is going to be my last post on social media. Considering that I am SO active anyway I have decided to drop the pretence. We will continue to communicate as we did before. In addition, AKP has created its official channel! So future updates on me and my films can be found there. Here’s the official handle! @akppl_official. Lots of love, always, a. ”

He was seldom known to be active on social media, but cleverly used the platforms to promote his new releases, which, too, became few and far between in the past few years.

‘Vamp’ of the piece

Fatima became a top social media trend hours after Aamir and Kiran announced their decision to end their marital ties.

Fatima, who, too, had quit social media weeks after Aamir took the “much-needed break” found herself pitchforked in the middle of a raging online debate.

She was painted as a vamp in the Bollywood celebrity couple’s break-up.

Fatima had unsuccessfully tried to scoff at the rumours.

“Earlier, I used to get affected. I’d feel bad. Because I’ve never dealt with anything of this sort at such a big level. A bunch of strangers, whom I’ve never met, are writing things about me. They don’t even know if there’s any truth to it.

“People reading it assume that I’m ‘not a good person’. You feel like saying to that person, ‘Ask me, I’ll give you an answer’. It disturbs me because I don’t want people to assume wrong things. But I’ve learnt to ignore it. Yet, there are some days when I do get affected,” she had said in an earlier interview to a magazine.

Aamir hits the jackpot

Aamir had catapulted to stardom as a chocolate boy hero in the 1988 Bollywood musical romance Qayamat se Qayamat Tak (QSQT), a tale of star-crossed lovers set against a feudal north Indian backdrop.

The film, starring Aamir and newcomer Juhi Chawla, directed by Mansoor Khan and produced by his uncle Nasir Hussian, was a runaway success and set the cash registers ringing. QSQT was released much after Aamir was married on April 18, 1986, to his first wife and neighbour, Reena Dutta, with whom he had two children, son Junaid and daughter Ira.

Their 16-year marriage ended in 2002 following Aamir’s romantic liaison with Kiran on the sets of Ashutosh Gowariker’s Lagaan. Reena got custody of both the children following the divorce based on mutual consent.

A candid Aamir

Aamir had opened up about his tumultuous love life during an appearance on Bollywood film director and producer Karan Johar’s chat show, Koffee With Karan Season 6 in 2018.

He had candidly spoken about his first marriage, divorce and the wonderful relationship between Kiran and Reena.

He had described his divorce as “traumatic” for both Reena and their family.

Aamir had said, “Reena and I were married for 16 long years. When we split up, it was traumatic for us and our families. We tried to deal with the situation as best as we could. Reena and I did not lose love or respect for each other post our split.”

He added, “I thank Reena for giving me the opportunity to be in her life. She has enriched me in many ways. We were very young when we married. It didn’t mean that I lost respect for Reena, or for that matter, I lost my love for Reena. She is a really wonderful person. We were very young when we got married. I give value to that and I’m glad that she does too.”

On the work front, Aamir has lately been busy with his upcoming film Laal Singh Chaddha, which is directed by Secret Superstar maker Advait Chandan, and co-stars Kareena Kapoor Khan.

The film is an official Hindi adaptation of the 1994 Hollywood hit Forrest Gump starring Tom Hanks and is set to release later this year. Can Laal Singh Chaddha put the focus back on Aamir’s sagging Bollywood career after Thugs of Hindostan proved to be a box-office dud?