Amitabh Bachchan: His chemistry with male co-stars

Megastar Amitabh Bachchan is one of those actors who has evolved and adapted himself to the changing times of Bollywood and is still going strong in the industry. Even at the ripe age of 73, he has several releases every year. In his career spanning for 46 years, Big B has starred in many popular multi-starrer films. And he too had bitter-sweet equation with his male co-stars in the bygone years.

Let us explore his chemistry with some of his male co-actors.

Amitabh Bachchan and Rajesh Khanna: The two actors worked together in only two movies, but rivalry between Big B and Kaka was a hot topic for gossips back in then. Rajesh Khanna was already an established star when they worked in 1971 film ‘Anand’. Bachchan’s poignant role of a doctor to cancer-striken patient, played by Rajesh Khanna bagged him the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting actor. Rumours were rife then that Kaka was insecure about Bachchan’s popularity. When the duo reunited for their second film ‘Namak Haram’ in 1973, equations had changed and Big B was the new superstar, though he starred in a supporting role and walked away with the Filmfare Best Supporting actor Award yet again.  

Amitabh Bachchan and Vinod Khanna: Back in the 1970s, both Vinod Khanna and Bachchan were leading stars and were considered as a threat to each other. Though Vinod Khanna dismissed that they were rivals, he admitted that they were definitely competitors. The pair worked together in as many as ten films and delivered entertainers like ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’, ‘Parvarish’, ‘Khoon Pasina’, ‘Muqaddar Ka Sikander’ and ‘Hera Pheri’ among others. Vinod Khanna briefly left Bollywood for five years in 1982 and some industry-wallas were of the opinion that the actor could have toppled Big B from his superstardom, had he not quit at the peak of his career. Vinod Khanna is now an active politician but stars in fewer movies.   

Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra: Big B and Paaji gave Indian cinema the iconic friendship anthem ‘Yeh Dosti Hum Nahi Todenge’ from the blockbuster ‘Sholay’. The bond between their characters – Jai (Amitabh Bachchan) and Veeru (Dharmendra) was one of the highlights of the movie. The duo shares a similar camaraderie off the screen. Big B had once stated, “What you saw in the film is the kind of bond Dharam ji and I share even today.” The two actors even recreated their ‘Sholay’ by arriving for the final episode of Big B’s TV show ‘Aaj Ki Raat Hai Zindagi’ on a bike with a sidecar – just like in the movie. Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra also starred together in the classic comedy ‘Chupke Chupke’ and ‘Ram Balram’ and it was a delight to watch them in the same frame.

Amitabh Bachchan and Shatrughan Sinha: Big B and Shotgun, as Shatrughan Sinha is nicknamed, were described as arch rivals during the 1980s. Before their off-screen tussle began, the two used to be great buddies. The two actors worked together in several hits like ‘Kaala Pathar’, ‘Bombay To Goa’, ‘Shaan’, ‘Parwana’ and others. According to industry insiders, their differences started during the 1980 movie ‘Dostana’. With their growing aspirations (and egos), both were not keen to work with each together and the two decided to stay away from each other professionally. A Ramesh Sippy project with Amitabh, Shatrughan, and newcomer Kanwaljeet, was shelved. Sinha himself admitted about their rivalry in an interview saying, “The rivalry was unfortunate but it did exist.” With time, the senior actors became wiser and have parched up. The Bachchans and the Sinhas came together for Diwali celebrations in 2014 ending all issues between them. Big B also attended Shatrughan Sinha's son Kussh's wedding in January, 2015. He also attended the launch of Sinha’s biography ‘Anything But Khamosh’ on February 19, 2016.

Amitabh Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor: Amitabh Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor were one of the most popular two-hero combinations and have together doled out several memorable films like ‘Deewar’, ‘Trishul’, ‘Suhaag’, ‘Shaan’, ‘Silsila’ and many more. In fact their first film together, ‘Roti Kapda Aur Makan’ in 1974 is considered to have set the trend of multi-starrers in the industry. The two actors were also very good friends off the screen. Shashi, who was a senior actor and older to Amitabh Bachchan, played a supporting role in Big B’s career. In September, 2009, Bachchan in his blog post talked about his association with his ‘Deewar’ co-star: “Shashiji had always been a great support. I would visit him on set when I was looking for a job, he already being an established star by then, and he would introduce me to all his directors.”