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Dileep-Kavya-Manju: The Love Triangle of South Indian Cinema

Surely you’ve heard of the Amitabh -Jaya-Rekha love triangle. Did you know there’s an equally popular one down south?

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For decades, Indian movie fans have been fascinated by the supposed love triangle between Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, and Rekha. Every award show telecast has a customary shot of Rekha when Bachchan receives an award. Such is the obsession with this love story (which may not really be true) that even Doordarshan showed a visual of Jaya Bachchan when Rekha took oath as a Member of Parliament.

Go down South and you will find a similar story playing, a supposed love triangle that many have been obsessing over for a decade or more.

During a major part of his acting career, Malayalam actor Dileep has been linked with actress Kavya Madhavan, even while being married to actor Manju Warrier.

Dileep and Kavya’s on-screen chemistry cemented the rumors. For many years readers were kept engaged with articles that claimed “Manju was upset”, “Kavya still loves Dileep” and “No one is happy in their respective relationship”.

Surely you’ve heard of the Amitabh -Jaya-Rekha love triangle. Did you know there’s an equally popular one down south?
Dileep and Kavya during a shoot. (Courtesy: The News Minute)

Though both actors were married (to others), Kavya’s divorce in 2011 became material for some salacious rumours. The gossip became stronger after Dileep and wife actor Manju Warrier ended their 16-year marriage in January this year.

In April this year, Dileep and Kavya’s marriage was declared by random people on social media, forcing the actors to come out and deny.

Surely you’ve heard of the Amitabh -Jaya-Rekha love triangle. Did you know there’s an equally popular one down south?
Kavya Madhavan. (Courtesy: Facebook page of Kavya Madhavan)

Gossips and rumours have been passed around so much that most people don’t know fact and fiction anymore. How else can someone explain why thousands of fans take to social media, repeatedly cooking up fresh rumors?

People talked. They talked on social media. They talked at gatherings. They talked everywhere. After Dileep and Manju’s divorce, they talked even more. When the couple refused to reveal the reason for their divorce, people took it on themselves to assume Dileep-Kavya saga to be the reason behind it.

Irrespective of the context of any interview, be it a Vishu special episode or one ahead of a new movie release, one question that the actor is constantly asked is about his alleged relationship with co-actor Kavya Madhavan.

Manju’s Second Innings

Surely you’ve heard of the Amitabh -Jaya-Rekha love triangle. Did you know there’s an equally popular one down south?
Manju Warrier. (Courtesy: Facebook page of Manju Warrier)

The 1995 film Sakshyam marked the beginning of Manju Warrier’s career. In her four-year-long acting career, Manju acted in 20 movies. State awards and Filmfare awards came rushing her way. Four years might seem an insignificant number, but in this short period of time, Manju Warrier has left a distinctive mark on her audience.

Manju was at the peak of a successful career, when in 1998, she married Dileep. What shook the film industry and the audience was when Manju Warrier declared her withdrawal from her acting career. Post their marriage, Manju’s sudden withdrawal from public life did not go unnoticed either. Dileep had by then began to gain popularity.

Later in January this year, Manju Warrier and Dileep officially parted ways citing ‘adjustment issues’. For the last year, news that the couple were living separately kept coming, followed by Dileep’s assurance that nothing is wrong.

This time around, Manju Warrier rose a second time. She became active on Facebook, made public appearances, resumed her passion for classical dance, acted in Kalyan jewellers advertisements, and returned to acting with “How Old Are You?”, a film in which the similarity with the protagonist and the actor’s personal life is very plain to see.

New Interviews, and Renewed Interests

In the last few days Dileep has given multiple interviews, and each time the triangle has become the headline. With all three of them divorced and single, it seems the obsession is showing no signs of ending.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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