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Yeh Dosti: Filmland Friendships Are Real



Friendships on Friendships Day: Rivalry be  damned, actors  today are far too secure in their space to look anxiously over their  shoulder at what  the other actors are doing.

Friendships  in Bollywood: There  was a time when the A-listers could  never be friends, not really, not unless there  was  a  photographer around  to catch them smiling together.

Otherwise it  was as impossible for the  yesteryears’ superstars  to be friends as it  was  for them  to work together. Hence Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor and  Dev Anand, the reigning superstars  of  the 1950s had their own mutually  exclusive fan clubs and fans . Raj and Dilip did come together  for one  film Andaz  in 1949. But thereafter they refuse to work together again. So there was no Friendships

Raj  invited  Dilip Kumar  to  play the  other hero in the  film.Dilip refused. The  role went to Rajendra Kumar who was  known as  the poor man’s Dilip Kumar.

In the  1960s it  was  no better. The top stars Rajendra KumarSunil DuttManoj KumarBiswajeet,  Raj KumarDharmendra  hardly ever met let alone socialized together. Still no Friendships

Recalls Dharmendra,  “We were cordial to one another but not friends as such.All of us  would pack up our respective shootings and rush home  to be with the family. There was  no non-stop partying back then. We met at  film premieres, and  that  too rarely.”

With the  iconic actresses  of the 1960s it  was  different.Waheeda RehmanSadhana,  VyjanthimalaAsha Parekh and Nanda were  close friends and some of them remain  close to this days. So real Friendships start to develop in Bollywood

Recalls Asha, “There  was no  rivalry  or competition among us.None  of us  was replaceable. If a producer wanted Waheeda he went to her only. There was  no Plan B. If they wanted me  they came to me. We were all happy doing our own thing.”
The atmosphere  changed drastically in  the  1970s when  Rajesh  Khanna’s superstardom decimated all competition.

One  of  the  other  leading actors  of the 1970s told me, “Rajesh Khanna took over the market completely. All of us were struggling for  survival.  It was Rajesh Khanna all the way. There was no question of being friends with our colleagues. We  were all  strugglers  fighting to get roles rejected by Kaka(Rajesh Khanna).”

Rajesh Khanna  not only made  sure he had no competition he also ensured  the  top heroines were at loggerheads.Sharmila  Tagore  and Mumtaz  were  vying to  be cast opposite KhannaHema Malini and Zeenat Aman were vastly removed  from one another in their screen image and the mutual friends that they had.And then  came Sridevi and Madhuri Dixit. There was no love lost between the  two divas.

When Amitabh Bachchan took over  from Rajesh Khanna the atmosphere  scarcely  lightened.  The fierce  BachchanShatrughan Sinha  rilavry is well –known.

Laughs  Shatruji, “We were  rivals, competitors. And when we worked together in Kala Patthar and Dostana I  got more praise. Naturally, I  was  not considered a friend.”

The Khan superstars Shah RukhSalman and Aamir blow hot and blow cold about their relationship. But they never really felt comfortable amongst  themselves.

All  that has changed now. The new generation of actors and actresses are very comfortable in their own space.Kareena  Kapoor is  everyone’s favourite. Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor  hang out together. So  does Varun Dhawan and  Arjun.Parineeti is  too  much in awe  of  her cousin Priyanka Chopra to  see her as a rival. Katrina Kaif adores Alia Bhatt and Sonam Kapoor-Jacqueline Fernandez have been friends for some years now. Deepika  is  very  comfortable with Priyanka. And Ranbir  fears no competition.

“We all hang out together and we don’t  worry about who’s doing which movie. All of us  have enough work,” says Alia Bhatt happily. So know real Friendships blossom in Bollywood 

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