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Sonali Bendre rubbishes old claims that Shoaib Akhtar fancied her | The Express Tribune


The viral claim that former cricketer Shoaib Akhtar playfully threatened to kidnap Indian actor Sonali Bendre if she didn’t marry him has reared its ugly head again. In an appearance on a podcast for the publicity of her latest show, Bendre was reminded that Akhtar had a “crush” on her, to which she responded, “I don’t know how true this is. Fake news existed even then!”

In 2019, Akhtar had allegedly remarked, “If she [Bendre] doesn’t marry me, I’ll kidnap her!” However, at the time, the cricketer took to his YouTube channel to personally clarify that the statement was entirely false. According to The Indian Express, Bendre herself appeared to be taken by surprise by Akhtar’s supposed affections and turned the rumour into a joke. “Thank God for that,” she quipped in the podcast. “Maybe that has made my career!”

In 2019, Akhtar went on his YouTube channel to respond to claims that he carried a picture of Bendre in his wallet, that he wanted to marry her, and that he had also been involved in an affair with her. Akhtar strenuously denied all claims and maintained he had never met the actor, nor was he a fan, although he conceded that she was a “beautiful” woman. 

“I never met Sonali Bendre,” he had stated in his video. “I was also never her fan. I’ve seen her in films, for sure, and she is indeed a beautiful woman, but I’ve not been a fan.” 

Akhtar went on to praise Bendre’s resilience after her cancer diagnosis was made public in 2018. “I became a fan of her when she led the way for other women by showing how bravely she struggled and fought back against her illness,” he said. “I became a fan of her because of how courageous she is. But bhai mere, I had nothing to do with her. These are all lies.” 

Bendre made her acting debut with Aag (1994) and has featured in Bollywood projects such as Diljale (1996), Major Saab (1998), Sarfarosh (1999), Hum Saath Saath Hain (1999), and Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai (2000), among others. Most recently, Bendre was seen in the second chapter of Indian newsroom drama The Broken News, which was released on May 3.

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