One thing that we know and appreciate about Kareena Kapoor is her eagerness to be open and share every aspect of her life with her fans. In recent days, she has spoken candidly about not being pregnant and continues to share her excitement about bringing up Taimur Ali Khan and Jehangir Ali Khan, her children with actor-husband Saif Ali Khan. The family recently returned to Mumbai following a 40-day vacation across the UK and Italy, and Kareena made sure to document their entire trip on Instagram. Read more: Kareena Kapoor Khan opens up on baby no. 3 rumours, asks ‘am I a machine?’
Recently rumours had surfaced that Kareena was pregnant with Saif and her third child together. Although it’s unclear where these pregnancy rumours came from, Kareena is pretty sure that pasta and wine were the culprit. She recently posed for a picture with Saif Ali Khan and a friend in London wearing a black tank top. Some fans noticed – and freaked out over – her apparent baby bump visible in the picture.
In a recent interview with Hindustan Times, Kareena spoke about the photo that caused the media to run with the pregnancy story. Kareena said, “That picture was morphed! My tummy looked like that, and I went ‘oh my God, is it that? Or maybe it’s the wine and pasta, I don’t know!’ I had been on a 40-day vacation, I have no idea, I lost count of how many pizzas I had eaten. That’s it, I had to take it in my stride, and say ‘chill, it’s okay, we are also human beings’.”
Kareena is a seasoned professional when it comes to being in the limelight. Although she might be used to reading false reports about herself, instead of ignoring her pregnancy rumours – as most are justified in doing – the actor did one better. She wrote a pregnancy refusal announcement and shared it on Instagram after spending the better part of her recent holiday dodging tabloid stories and assumptions about her supposed pregnancy.
On July 19, while directly addressing speculations about her personal life and setting the record straight, Kareena wrote on Instagram Stories, “It’s the pasta and wine guys… calm down… I am not pregnant… Saif says he has already contributed way too much to the population of our country…” Saif and his ex-wife, actor Amrita Singh, have two children together – daughter Sara Ali Khan and son Ibrahim Ali Khan. While Sara is an actor, Ibrahim is working as an assistant director under filmmaker Karan Johar.
We’re so about this era of women taking control of their narrative. It’s inspiring to see the change unfold before our very eyes, where tabloids with untrue claims are being called out for their behaviour. While it allowed Kareena to speak her truth and gave her a platform and voice, social media has absolutely changed the game for women in Bollywood, as we’ve seen throughout the past few years. With the intrusive thirst for celebrity pregnancy announcements, baby bump photos, and a general fascination with celebrity relationships and bodies, sweeping judgements are happening on an even wider scale now.
Like Kareena, many other women in the spotlight, including actors Aishwarya Rai, Bipasha Basu, and Katrina Kaif have endured the same sexist scrutiny on social media. Since her wedding in December 2021, the tabloids have regularly sparked rumours about Katrina having a baby with actor-husband Vicky Kaushal. Katrina is one of the most in-demand actors in Bollywood, and yet, strangers keep on discussing her pregnancy status.
After Katrina shared her birthday photos from Maldives recently, her child-free status was scrutinised in the comments section of her posts – ‘Is she with child?’ or ‘Isn’t she?’ Sample a few of the news headlines on Katrina’s supposed pregnancy in recent months: ‘Pregnant Katrina Kaif trying to cope with mood swings and shoot schedules’, ‘Katrina Kaif is pregnant, declare fans as she returns from Maldives along with Vicky Kaushal’ and ‘Katrina Kaif, Vicky Kaushal to announce pregnancy on actress’ birthday?’ Earlier in May, a news report claimed Katrina was ‘two-months pregnant’. Katrina’s team even pointed to the rumours being fake.
Yet, in the context-free vacuum of the internet, none of that matters. Because when it comes to public opinion, every married actor in Bollywood, is with child – or should be. Just ask Bipasha Basu or Aishwarya Rai, who are reportedly hiding their pregnancy. Haven’t read recent headlines like ‘Pregnant Aishwarya Rai hiding her baby bump with Aaradhya Bachchan (her daughter with actor-husband Abhishek Bachchan)’ or ‘Pregnant Bipasha Basu hiding her baby bump in over-sized dress’? Good for you.
In many ways what we are witnessing is a story as old as time. Over the years, veteran actor Rekha, too, faced speculations about her pregnancy, and even addressed questions about not having children in a magazine cover interview. In a 1984 chat with Filmfare, Rekha had said, “I regret not being married, not having children…”
Kareena also opened up about being the subject of misogynistic headlines in her recent interview with Hindustan Times. “What do you mean ‘is she pregnant? Is she having another baby?’ Am I some machine? Leave the choice to me na,” she said while talking about how people assume a woman is expecting, the minute she gains a little weight.
Why are we as a society obsessed with outing celebrity pregnancies? The way famous women are treated by the media reflects a wider culture of sexism. We’ve long made it our business to know everything we can about celebrities. First it was their homes and their weddings. Then it was their love lives. Now we have taken it one step further. Something as private as pregnancy, motherhood, and fertility are casually discussed on social media and in gossip columns.
Case in point – ever since Sonam Kapoor announced her pregnancy in March via Instagram and an artfully-shot photoshoot of herself and husband Anand Ahuja, the actor’s maternity style has been discussed more for what she has not worn, than what she has. Sonam has not worn tent dresses. She has not worn maternity jeans. Instead, she has flaunted her baby bump and even bared her naked belly at seemingly every turn – in crop tops and bodycon dresses to pregnancy photoshoots with top designers like Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla.
However, Sonam’s style choices are just the beginning. In dressing to confront the world with the physical reality of her pregnancy so consistently, she has gone way past just making a fashion statement. By dressing to showcase her baby bump, Sonam is essentially saying ‘I’m a person still, and I’m my person’.
In a recent interview, actor Richa Chadha also shared her approach to dealing with speculation about her life and body, specifically pregnancy rumours. The actor advised women on how they can deal with those, who have something to say about them becoming a mother. Richa said in a video shared on the Instagram account Be Badass, “See ladies, any time somebody asks you ‘if are you planning to have children’ or ‘are you pregnant’, you should just say, ‘I enjoy the process, but I am not so sure of the result’.” Another pretty radical move.