Kiran Rao on divorce with Aamir Khan: ‘We were conscious that Azad should not be traumatised’

In the bustling landscape of Bollywood, where personal lives often intertwine with professional endeavors, Kiran Rao has emerged to share insights regarding her recent divorce from Aamir Khan and the anticipated release of her directorial venture ‘Laapataa Ladies’. After their 15-year marriage, the couple’s announcement in 2021 of their intended separation was met with significant media attention. However, their paramount concern throughout the process was their son, Azad.

Kiran Rao and Aamir Khan’s journey as a couple began on the set of the critically acclaimed ‘Lagaan’, where Kiran served as an assistant director. Their relationship blossomed into marriage in 2005 and was bolstered by the birth of their son Azad via surrogacy in 2011. Though their personal paths diverged in 2021, they made a public commitment to amicably co-parent Azad.

During a candid interview, Kiran revealed the thoughtfulness embedded in their decision to part ways. “For me, it’s been quite easy at some level to manage the separation of having both a personal relationship that is no longer a marriage, as well as professional,” she disclosed. The shift was consciously handled to protect their son from the potential fallout of a public breakup. Continuing the conversation, she emphasized, “We decided that we wanted to change the definition of our relationship and end the social contract. We worked at it in a smooth way because we were conscious that Azad should not be, in any way, traumatised by this public breakup.”

Aamir Khan, a titan of the Indian film industry, had previously navigated the complexities of divorce with his first wife, Reena Dutta. From that marriage, he has two children, Junaid and Ira.

In professional terms, Kiran Rao has carved her own niche as a director. Her maiden directorial feature, ‘Dhobi Ghat’, released in 2010, made a solid impact and featured actors such as Prateik Babbar, Monica Dogra, and Kriti Malhotra. After a substantial hiatus, she is back to wearing the director’s hat with her upcoming project ‘Laapataa Ladies’.

Her new film, ‘Laapataa Ladies’, is set against the backdrop of 2001 Madhya Pradesh—a time and place where communication technology was still burgeoning, and society was on the cusp of technologically-induced change. This narrative canvas explores the intriguing tale of two newly-wed brides who find themselves unwittingly detached from their families. A comedy of errors ensues, leading to a resolution that sets many things in motion. Through the lenses of humor and optimism, the film subtly tackles significant societal themes, particularly the empowerment of women.

The ensemble cast of ‘Laapataa Ladies’ comprises well-known figures such as Sparsh Shrivastava and Ravi Kishan, alongside Chhaya Kadam. Furthermore, the film serves as a launching pad for two promising newcomers who play the brides. The script, adapted from an award-winning story by Biplab Goswami, promises to be a poignant amalgamation of entertainment and social commentary.

As the release of ‘Laapataa Ladies’ approaches on March 1, expectations are high for Kiran Rao’s return to direction. The anticipation extends beyond her professional prowess to the nuances of her personal life—most notably, her and Aamir Khan’s dedicated efforts towards co-parenting in uncharted situations. The film industry, along with the audience, eagerly awaits the fruits of her cinematic labor, and more importantly, how she translates her life experiences onto the silver screen.

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