Have SRK and Priyanka Chopra taken the next step?

Try as they may, Shah Rukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra’s big love generates worldwide interest. And why ever not — SRK is India’s biggest superstar with an international presence few can match, and Priyanka is his lady love. Sure, he’s a married man with kids, but then...

The actors, who have been seeing each other for a while now, have been trying to downplay their relationship in the public eye ever since Firstpost published pictures of them back in January 2012 but to no avail. If anything, the pictures only fuelled further public interest in their relationship.

The latest speculation is that SRK and Priyanka may have taken the relationship one step further. Or, at least, that is what is being spoken of in the inner circle! But is it marriage or something short of that? After all, marriage is a big deal, especially if the groom is already married and has kids.

Of course, unless either of them announces this new development, we are going to hear more questions than answers.

Whilst we cannot confirm the couple’s marital status, let’s look at some of the reasons that would make it plausible:

1. Under Shari’ah, a Muslim man can take up to four wives, as long as he treats them equally, the details of which are prescribed under the law. So, by Islamic law, SRK can marry again, without having to divorce his wife Gauri. SRK does not intend to abandon his kids or Gauri, but he does seem to want his own life with Priyanka.

2. It is well-known, though not openly spoken about, that SRK and Priyanka are in love. The way they behave with each other seems to confirm this. At Karan Johar’s 40th birthday last year in May, guests said that once she entered the party, the room stood still as SRK sprang to his feet to greet her like an eager schoolboy. Priyanka is also said to adore SRK in a way that no one ever has. Clearly, the feeling’s mutual.

3. SRK has gone to great lengths to support Priyanka and protect her from some of his friends, with whom he no longer shares a friendship. These former friends were reportedly giving her a hard time over their relationship, since they could not take him on directly. In the end, those very people lost out on their friendship with SRK in a bid to oust Priyanka from his life.

Shah Rukh Khan and  Priyanka Chopra outside SRK's office in Mumbai's Khar at about 11pm, on Jan 18, 2012. Firstpost

Shah Rukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra outside SRK's office in Khar, Mumbai in January, 2012. Firstpost

4. SRK is extremely protective of Priyanka and uses his clout to do what he can to lessen the abrasive demeanour of people toward her. He has made phone calls to people requesting them to back off and not known to take an unkind word against Priyanka lightly.

5. SRK has been overseeing her product endorsements for some time now and sometimes negotiates on Priyanka’s behalf for the best deal possible, given his sharp business acumen. Even though she may not have the pick of films to choose from, she does make serious cash on her numerous brand endorsements right from Pepsi, Nokia, Hero Pleasure 50, Nikon, Tag Heuer to Garnier and other such. On her part, it is said that Priyanka does not sign an endorsement deal till SRK’s overseen the contracts.

6. SRK has reportedly told friends that he came to Mumbai from Delhi with nothing and he’s just as okay starting all over again with nothing, if that’s what it takes being with Priyanka.

7. Given they already are a couple, the question that does arise is: “Why marry, when he’s a married man, and that too, in secret?” To that, one can only assume that they might want to preserve the sanctity of their relationship and keep it to themselves, given their immensely popular public lives as film stars.

Things have been turning around in the Khan household at Mannat for a while now and uncorroborated information has been trickling in often. SRK is a wonderful parent to his two kids, Aryan and Suhana, and that fact has been documented in reams of news space over the years and nothing can, or will, change that aspect of his life, which he is fiercely protective of. SRK and Priyanka’s relationship is being discussed in book clubs, ladies’ luncheons, and by business suits on coffee breaks… everyone seems very occupied with SRK’s love life. Despite the naysayers, SRK and Priyanka’s relationship seems real, despite the harsh reality of their respective situations.

If indeed, SRK and Priyanka have taken the next step, it would be Bollywood’s biggest off-screen love story, unscripted and untold so far. Till SRK and Priyanka tweet the tale themselves…