Meet the Bollywood wives who have stepped out of their husbands’ shadows to carve a niche for themselves

So, you thought having a ‘trophy husband’ was enough? That you could revel in his popularity, splurge his moolah and lounge at beauty parlours and kitty parties all day? Get a reality check, dear ladies! Take a cue from Bollywood’s star wives club — names like Gauri Khan, Twinkle Khanna and Adhuna Akhtar always had the choice to do all that and more, but instead, they chose to follow their passion and become entrepreneurs.

Add to that, names like Suzanne Khan, Mana Shetty and Shilpa Shetty.

Their fields are different — from interior designing and hairstyling to wellness clubs and philanthropy — but a common factor binds them all: the desire to carve their own niche; a niche away from the shadow of their husbands’ success stories.

Take, for instance, Gauri Khan, wife of Bollywood ‘badshah’ Shah Rukh Khan. A wife and mother, Gauri’s tryst with interior designing happened at her house Mannat itself, but she gave her hobby a professional twist by collaborating with another star wife, Suzanne, who is a qualified interior designer.

Suzanne, estranged wife of Hrithik Roshan, has an Associate of Arts Degree in interior design from Brooks College in Long Beach, California. She gained hands-on experience while working with her mother’s interior firm, and has worked on homes of celebrities like Rani Mukerji and Priyanka Chopra.

She has her own brands, and together with Gauri, she recently announced the launch of their latest real estate project, Naira. A luxury mansion project in Goa, it will involve 12 luxury villas which will have a limited edition collection of furniture and accessories from Suzanne’s The Charcoal Project.

Earlier this year, Gauri also launched her own design store named The Design Cell.

Twinkle and Mana are also names to reckon with when it comes to the interior design and decor business.

Twinkle, star kid of Bollywood’s first ‘superstar’ Rajesh Khanna, is married to tinsel town’s ‘khiladi’ Akshay Kumar. She tried her luck in films and then settled to follow her passion. She opened a decor store, The White Window, and penned her own success story.

Mana, who is actor Suniel Shetty’s better half, too takes pride in being multi-faceted. She not only runs an interiors store, she also designs homes, runs an NGO called Save The Children India and even hosts a fundraising exhibition.

“I have an identity of my own. That’s why I keep doing a lot of things on my own. Yes, I do have Suniel 100 per cent behind me, but I think it does make a lot of difference when you do something on your own and you’re not just a celebrity’s wife,” said Mana in an interview a couple of years ago. When Adhuna Akhtar got married to actor-producer Farhan Akhtar, she didn’t give up her first love — hairstyling — to be a star wife. She is now a celebrity hairstylist and even works for movies.

Let’s count in Shilpa Shetty too. A big name in Bollywood once, Shilpa is now a film producer, co-owner of Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Rajasthan Royals, runs the luxury wellness chain IOSIS, and even has her own fitness DVDs. Her latest is a foray into the jewellery business. A wealthy or famous spouse can’t take away the individuality that a woman can carve for herself — not just in relationships, but in the outside world too!