It must not be easy, being the wife of the foremost superstar of Indian cinema. It must not be easy, having a superstar son and daughter-in-law at home. It must not be easy, to give up a lucrative, super successful film career for the sake of the family. But veteran Jaya Bachchan has made all of the above seem like a cakewalk.
Birthday lady Jaya Bachchan has always displayed tremendous dignity and class, in all of life’s proceedings. She was born as Jaya Bhaduri, in Kolkata, on 9 April, 1948, to a Hindu Bengali family. She spend her childhood and schooling years in Shillong and Calcutta, and then pursued a degree from the prestigious Film And Television Institute in Pune, from where she graduated as a gold medallist.
Her first break came to her from auteur and possibly Indian cinema’s greatest filmmaker – Satyajit Ray. Jaya starred in Ray’s 1963 classic, Mahanagar, and was instantly appreciated for her naturalistic acting style. Bachchan was only fifteen years old when she starred in the film.
Then, in 1971, came Jaya’s breakthrough performance in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s seminal classic Guddi. Jaya swept all the awards and accolades away with this film, and established her as the quintessential, wide-eyed, innocent girl-next-door.
Her success in Guddi inspired her to move to Mumbai, and she was besieged by offers hence. Her noteworthy films of the 1970’s included Uphaar, Piya Ka Ghar, Parichay, Koshish and Bawarchi. Her tryst with destiny, in the form of her future husband and India’s leading superstar till date, came in 1972, when she starred opposite Bachchan in Bansi Birju. Despite Bachchan’s string of flops in prior years, Jaya agreed to sign many films with him, including Zanjeer, which established him as a mega star.
Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bachchan’s pairing in films like Abhimaan (1973), Chupke Chupke (1975) and Sholay (1975) was one for the ages. The husband-wife duo delivered back-to-back blockbusters, after their glittering wedding ceremony in 1973. Incidentally, her daughter Shweta was born during the filming of blockbuster Sholay, and her son was born a couple of years after.
Once both her children were born, Jaya decided to quit acting at the peak of her career, to care for her two little babies. Her last release as a leading lady was Silsila in 1981, post which she took a hiatus for nearly eighteen years.
Jaya Bachchan made a grand comeback to Bollywood with Govind Nihalani’s Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Maa in 1998, followed by her impactful role in Fiza in 2000. Since then, she has starred in films like Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham and Kal Ho Na Ho.
We look forward to more such quality work from the talented actress and wonderful wife of superstar Amitabh Bachchan – Jaya Bachchan.