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Subhash K Jha On Jaya Bachchan’s 68th Birthday

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In one of her finest performances Jaya Bachchan played mother to a very very endearing son who just becomes a number: 1084.

Co-incidentally I saw Jaya Bachchan playing mom to Joy Sengupta in Govind Nihalani’s unforgettable Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Maa just a day before Abhishek won an award for his fine performance in Yuva.
Minutes after his name was announced I had received a message from the proud mother informing me of the same. I could see the tears of pride and joy glistening through the words.

Jaya Bachchan
Jaya’s role as mother matters more to her than any other. That’s precisely why she gave up superstardom in 1973, when she ruled the boxoffice, to become wife to Amitabh Bachchan and subsequently mother to Shweta and Abhishek.
“Everyone saw it as a big sacrifice and painted me as Mother India. But the fact is, I did what I wanted to. There was no martryrdom involved because I’m not that kind of a person. No one can make me do what I don’t want to.”
That this woman of substance won’t do something only because it’s expected of her, goes without saying. Jaya is a woman of steel in the truest sense of the word. In spite of being the first lady of filmdom with the accompanying baggage of obligations and responsibilities, she’s as real and rooted to the ground as anyone can get.

Jaya Bachchan
You won’t find her saying or doing anything she doesn’t believe in. Nor will you come across anyone who can accuse her of being unfair. Frank, sometimes brutally so, she calls a spade a spade. How often has she pulled me up for my personality-oriented page-3 writing?! “You aren’t meant to do these things. We need serious writers who can put our cinema into a perspective. We’ve enough peeping-tom journalists writing about which star sneezed at which party.”

In fact Jaya, in all her candid objectivity, believes I write too much about her husband.
I agree. When I see her give a performance like the one in Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Maa or the earlier ones in Doosri Sita, Uphaar, Annadata, Koshish, Kora Kagaz and Mili I feel film history has been extremely unfair to Jaya Bachchan. You really can’t blame me entirely for the scarcity of writings on this formidable actress. She doesn’t allow me to write about her, unless I throw a major tantrum and threaten to go on a hunger strike in front of her beautifully kept residence Jalsa in Juhu, Mumbai.

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Jaya Bachchan
Let’s not forget , this pioneering performer heralded naturalistic acting into mainstream Hindi cinema. Before her there was Nutan , and after her there are Samita Patil and Shabana Azmi. But Jaya occupies a unique position. When she came into the movies with her two back-to-back performances in Guddi and Uphaar in 1971, Jaya’s complete denial of ‘filmy’ glamour became a trend-setting phenomenon .

While we tend to think of Jaya Bhaduri as the actress in a crumpled cotton sari and loose hair playing authentic middle-class characters in middle-of-the-road movies by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Asit Sen, Gulzar and Anil Ganguly, she in fact, created a fashion statement. In 1972-73 her hairstyle and specially-designed blouses with puffed sleeves , became a rage among women in the country. Jaya was a fashion icon.
“Oh I thought other actresses were fashion icons. I was just…Jaya”, she laughs uproariously. “I just wore and did what seemed right for me. To me the thought of doing anything that doesn’t come naturally to me seems unacceptable. That applies to both my personal and professional dealings.”

Jaya Bachchan
The daughter of a crusader and pioneering journalist Taroon Kumar Bhaduri, I’m proud to say she’s my closest friend among the Bachchans and perhaps the most shortchanged in terms of career and recognition. Everyone seems to think Amitabh Bachchan is the mega-star of the family. To me Jaya is the tallest Bachchan. You have to see the well-oiled running of her impeccable household, and how cool she remains in spite of work-related and personal guests swarming her residence, to realize how tall her presence looms over her distinguished family.
Everyone sees Abhishek as his father’s son, when in fact he has more of his mother than his father in him. The smile and those eyes…. They’ve been bequeathed to the Bachchan heir from his illustrious mother who at one point in the history of cinema was so huge, she could shoulder the then-struggling Amitabh Bcahchan’s endeavour to become a star.

Jaya Bachchan
So far she has been seen with her son only once in a Bengali film called Des where she played a social crusader who’s about to bw whisked out of the country by her NRI son. Abhishek played the son.
I don’t think Jaya is comfortable with the idea of playing her own son’s mother on screen. It’s hard for her to play a role that she has perfected in real life. It’s even harder for her to trifle with truth. So many struggling directors have been told bluntly that they need to improve their act. Her husband would never take upon himself to assess people. He would simply turn away with a smile. Jaya can’t do that. She confronts people situations and crises headlong, gets to the bottom of the problem and then moves on.
Zanjeer wouldn’t have happened to her husband if Jaya hadn’t agreed to play the relatively short role opposite Amitabh Bachchan. Many leading heroines including Mumtaz had said no. Jaya sportingly stepped in at the eleventh hour, adding great star value to the film… the rest is too well known to be repeated.

Jaya Bachchan
What needs reiteration is the intense success-streak that she enjoyed fromn1971 to 1973 , right up to Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Abhimaan, Mili and Chupke Chupke , all three with her husband, before she called it quits. Virtually every film that she consented to do made money at the boxoffice. For a while it seemed there was no other leading lady except Hema Malini to challenge Jaya’s rein at the top.
“I never thought of all that. I just did the quality and quantity of work that suited me. Then I moved on to look after my home and family. Today when the two boys in my life don’t need my presence that compulsively I ‘ve taken on the responsibility of being a Rajya Sabha member. That’s so no selfindulgence for me. I take my job as parliamentarian very seriously.”

Jaya Bachchan
And films? “Where are the roles? Show me challenging roles for an actress my age , and I am game, as I was for Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Maa or even Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham and Kal Ho Na Ho where I didn’t have much to do in terms of footage. But at least there was space for me to breathe in the script.”
Then she looks dreamily out of the window, probably thinking of the dinner guests that night. Or maybe just wondering if playing mom to Bollywood ’s new candidate for no.1 is easier than playing Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Maa.

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Jamuna Had A Love-Hate Relationship With  Bollywood

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Jamuna

Veteran  Telugu  actress  Jamuna who passed away on Friday, shared an uneasy relationship with  the Hindi film industry.She did eleven Hindi films including the iconic Milan in  1967 where Jamuna  agreed to play the  second lead, or the  supporting role if you will, to Nutan.

 Jamuna as Gauri was the Other Woman who craved for the hero Sunil Dutt’s attention whereas  he had  eyes and devotion  only for Nutan. In later  years  Aruna Irani played a similar  role in  Caravan.

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 In Milan Jamuna  was not keen to  do a supporting role. Producer L V Prasad tempted her with three chartbusting songs. Besides, Jamuna had played the same role in Mooga Manasulu, the  Telugu original  of  Milan. But it  was the songs composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal  which convinced  Jamuna to  take up the second lead in Milan.

 While  Nutan had no solo songs  in Milan, she did have the chartbuster duet  Sawan  ka mahina . Jamuna on the  other hand,  had two  splendid Lata Mangeshkar solos: Tohey saawariya naahin khabariya  and   the magnificent Ghazal Aaj dil pe koi  zor chalta nahin.Not only  these, Jamuna  also had a  hit duet  with Mukesh  based on her character  Gauri:  Bol Gauri  bol tera kaun piya.

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But  then, fate  intervened. After the film released  one of Jamuna’s solos, the poignant and memorable  Aaj dil pe koi zor chalta nahin was  snipped  out of the film.

Here is what  happened:  the  Ghazal , one of Lataji’s all-time greats, was very much a part of Milan when  it released on 17 March 1967. But then  it was seen to hamper the  flow of the  film and  edited  out. The  beautiful song occurred right after intermission. Producer  Prasad, a shrewd  filmmaker, got to know that audiences prolonged their  loo breaks as there was  a song after the break. Hence the sacrifice  of  a seriously  sonorous melody.

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Jamuna hardly did  Hindi films after Milan. Her last  Bollywood appearance  was in  Raj Kumar  Kohli’s Raj Tilak  where she  was lost in a multistarrer as  the royal  queen.

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Karan Johar Moves Alia Song From Switzerland To Kashmir

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Rocky Aur Rani  Ki Prem Kahaani

The  romantic duet in  Karan Johar’s Rocky Aur Rani  Ki Prem Kahaani  which was to be  shot in Switzerland and which was  delayed  due to the film’s leading lady Alia Bhatt’s motherhood, is now being relocated to  Kashmir.

Purely out of  the  love for  new mom Alia.

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Says a source in the know, “Karan loves Alia  like his own daughter. He would do anything for her. He postponed  the  release of Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani as the love duet could not be shot before Alia’s maternity leave. Karan had decided to shoot the song in Switzerland  after Alia’s maternity love. But now he has relocated the song to Kashmir  as Alia doesn’t want to leave her  baby girl behind for  long stretches.”

And as Karan Johar argued, snow is  snow. How does it matter whether it is  Switzerland or Kashmir?

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This  song would be Karan Johar’s tribute to  his  idol Yash Chopra. Alia would be dressed in chiffon sarees while  Ranveer, for  a change, would be seen in  formals.

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Bobby Deol’s Switchover To Villainous Roles

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Bobby Deol

After  Prakash Jha’s webseries Ashram where Bobby  played a sleazy  godman, and Love Hostel  where  he was a ruthless assassin,   he is playing the villain to Ranbir Kapoor in  Sandeep Vanga’s  Animal.

Bobby says it is not conscious career decision to play negative characters  but a conscious  decision to play interesting characters. “ I don’t look at  characters as positive or negative.When I watch  films there is always  one character  that stays  with you. I want to play that  character.”

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Prakash Jha’s Ashram proved a gamechanger for Bobby.  He admits finding  challenging roles is tough.  “I am trying. I  am doing Sandeep Vanga’s Animal with Ranbir  Kapoor , Parineeti Chopra. Then I am doing the family film Apne  2 which I am  very excited  about.”

 In an  earlier  interview with  this writer Bobby spoke  about his   long absence  from screen  before Prakash Jha’s Ashram.  “My fans   would ask why I wasn’t being seen on the screen.And I couldn’t tell them it was  because  I wasn’t getting good roles. But my fans  stood by me. They gave me  the strength  to  keep looking for the right roles. Thankfully I found the roles I liked. My new  films have given  me  some new fans. I am  thankful  I am still here. Yeah , I am in a good space right now.”

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Pathaan Collects 55 crore nett in India On Day 1

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Pathaan

YRF’s Pathaan has apparently wiped out all previous records as it collected 55 crore nett in India and recorded the biggest ever Day 1 for a Hindi film. The total collections of Pathaan on Day One is 57 crore nett (Hindi – 55 crore and dubbed versions 2 crore).

It is the widest Hindi release of  all  time in India and also the highest grossing 1st Day for a   Hindi film.It is  also the  highest grosser  on the  first first for a  non-holiday release. Pathhan is  also the highest  opener for Shah Rukh Khan.

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Akshaye Widhani, CEO of Yash Raj Films, says, “It is a historic day for Indian cinema and we are humbled to see the love and appreciation that is flowing for Pathaan globally. For Pathaan to shatter records in this fashion on a non holiday, just proves that the theatrical business is here to stay, provided we make films that entice people to come to the cinemas to witness a never seen before experience that entertains them thoroughly.“

He adds, “We, at YRF, are thrilled with the start that the film has got across India and we are hopeful that Pathaan brings joy to cine-goers globally in the days to come! Pathaan is the fourth film of our YRF Spy Universe and we are thrilled that we have been able to elevate the cinematic experience of audiences with each film from this franchise. We humbly share this moment with all the stake-holders of the film who have given their blood, sweat and tears to give people a movie-going experience like never before.”

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