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Journalism of Courage

When an angry Jaya Bachchan reprimanded Rajesh Khanna for insulting Amitabh Bachchan, predicted ‘he’ll run Bollywood one day’

Jaya Bachchan had called out Rajesh Khanna for insulting Amitabh Bachchan, predicting that Amitabh will go on to become a huge star one day.

Jaya Bachchan, Rajesh Khanna, Bawarchi J Amitabh Bachchan,Rajesh Khanna apparently asked Jaya Bachchan, on the sets of to Bawarchi (1972) to stay away from Amitabh Bachchan, who was still struggling to find his feet in the film industry. (Photo: Express Archive)

Actor-MP Jaya Bachchan is known for never mincing her words and speaking the truth. This is a trait she appears to have always had. Back in the day when she was a famous actor and friends with Amitabh Bachchan, who was still struggling to find his feet in the film industry, she had called out the top star of the day, Rajesh Khanna, for insulting Big B.

Rajesh Khanna and Jaya Bachchan, Bhaduri then, were working on Bawarchi (1972). Amitabh would often visit the sets to chat with his friends. Khanna apparently didn’t like this and advised Jaya to steer clear of him. He apparently suggested that Amitabh had no future in the industry. An angry Jaya retorted that the man he is talking down to will one day run the film industry.

A still from Rajesh Khanna and Jaya Bachchan’s film Bawarchi (1972). (Photo: Express Archive)

Coincidentally, it was Deewar (1975) that established Amitabh in the industry, a film that was supposed to be done by Rajesh Khanna. The film was directed by Yash Chopra and written by Salim-Javed.

Deewar cemented Amitabh Bachchan’s angry young man persona.

In an earlier interview, Rajesh Khanna had revealed, “Salim-Javed and I had differences. They refused to give the script to Yash Chopra because they wanted only (Amitabh) Bachchan. So, although Yashji wanted me for Deewar, he had no choice. And, I guess overall, he must have felt that maybe Amitabh fitted the bill better. Later, I saw just two reels of Deevar and honestly, I said, ‘Wah kya baat hai’. Talent was always there whether I worked with him in Anand or Namak Haram – I mean handi mein se agar chawal ka ek daana nikalo to pata lag jaata hai ki kya hai (if you take out a grain of rice from the pot you know its quality)– but talent needs the right break. After Deewar I always envied him. Only thing is, I smiled each time he slipped because he made the same mistakes that I once made.”

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First published on: 31-07-2022 at 09:01:11 pm
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