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When Shilpa Shetty married London-based businessman Raj Kundra earlier this week, she merely followed a time-tested practice among Bollywood heroines.
 From Mumtaz to Meenakshi Seshadri to Madhuri Dixit - several Hindi actresses have married NRIs.

Mumtaz, who formed a hit on-screen pair with 1970s superstar Rajesh Khanna, settled for NRI millionaire Mayur Madhvani in 1974. One of her two daughters, Natasha, is now married to actor Fardeen Khan. In 1996, Meenakshi married a US-based software professional Harish Mysoreh. Three years later, Ms Dixit opted for Sriram Nene, a Denver-based surgeon.

What attracts heroines to NRIs? Film trade analyst Amod Mehra says that rich NRI businessmen or professionals settled abroad offer total financial security. "Heroines are used to a certain lifestyle and are unwilling to compromise on it after marriage".

Social scientist Shiv Vishwanathan also maintains that heroines marry and move off because they don't want to be bothered about their past life writ with sycophants, controversies and a fading career. That's why a new kind of man who would not bring those memories back is appreciated. "This is one reason why such marriages
are more successful as compared to their counterparts in India," he says.

Rajshree left a lucrative career and settled in Los Angeles after marrying American Greg Chapman in 1967. The couple have a daughter. "Despite being the daughter of such a big filmmaker as V Shantaram, Rajshree did not see a future in India. That's why she chose to marry abroad," says film historian Firoz Rangoonwalla.


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