Ali Peter John
Like his father, the illustrious poet, Dr. Harivanshrai Bachchan, Amitabh Bachchan has always had all the regard and respect for women. He has always referred to some of his father’s poems about the standing of a woman in our society. At times, he has recited his father’s poems which come up strongly in praise of the Indian woman and all the virtues she is blessed with.
It was perhaps his close proximity with his mother, Mrs. Teji Bachchan that has made him have his opinion about women. He has had the best of relations with women but he finds it very difficult to talk about most of them, except for his mother.
In the issue of “Feelings” coming out in English for the first time, we bring our readers some of the feelings of the Big B on women who have been close to him….
Mrs. Teji Bachchan: I must say that I was very fortunate to have a mother like mine. They talk about women power today, but I feel that if there was a woman who was a symbol of woman power, it was my mother. I think, she had proved how strong she was when she who belonged to a rich aristocratic Punjabi family decided to take a bold step and marry a Hindi poet like my father who like most other Hindi poets was paid a pittance for their work.
My mother who was used to living the life of the rich took very little time to adjust to the position, lifestyle and the standing of a poet like my father. His work was more important to her and she was willing to stand by him under all circumstances. She was also the ideal mother.
She took all the care to see that her sons Ajitabh and me lacked nothing when it came to their education. In fact, she was the first to see the actor in me and worked with me when I was a boy in some of the plays of Shakespeare which were translated by my father which gave me the confidence to think of making acting my career one day. She was also very special when it came to celebrating festivals like Diwali and Holi.
She made it a point to see that the celebrations at home were in keeping with the finances of the family. She played an active part in my growth as a human being and an actor right up to the end. She made me a very staunch believer in God and it was she who saw that I had a temple within my first bungalow where she made me pray every morning before leaving for work. She loved life and all that made life lovable till the end.
I can never forget how she wanted to be a part of the Holi celebrations when I had them at “Prateeksha” even though she was old and in bad health. She is the foundation of the life of the Bachchans and I would be lying if I denied her this humble honour from a son who will always be grateful to her for all that she has done for the Bachchan family.
Mrs. Jaya Bachchan: She is my wife, the mother of my children, Abhishek and Shweta and the woman who has taken on the responsibility handed over to her by my mother. I don’t want to waste words talking about her because I know and she knows what we feel about each other and making our personal lives public will certainly be embarrassing for both of us.
She is a fascinating actress whose will to act is still very strong. She has always been dedicated to the family which has always been her first priority. She has proved to be a very responsible Parliamentarian together with being responsible to everything that has to do with the family.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan: She is the ideal daughter-in-law. She is capable of much more than what the world has seen of her, but she is most satisfied with being Abhishek’s wife and Aaradhya’s mother. She has just made her come back as an actress and I hope she will continue to act for as long as her talent allows her to.
Ms. Shweta Bachchan Nanda: She is a very good daughter and she is also a very dedicated daughter-in-law. She was never inclined to be an active part of films and is happy and completely at ease as a home person. She has been married into the Nanda family of Delhi but is always close to us. She is with us whenever we want her or she wants to be with us. She is happy taking care of the growing up of her daughter Navya Navelli. I am always happy to know that I have her as my daughter.
Navya Navelli and Aaradhya: I have always liked them to be away from the limelight. It is still very early to say anything about them. They are happily growing up. Navya Navelli is showing interest in creative activities and so is Aaradhya. All I want to say about them is that I only hope that they live up to the traditions and values followed for years by the family.
Waheeda Rehman: She was my ideal actress when I was in school and college and I still look up to her as a picture of the complete woman, soft but strong, enlightened but also a great entertainer. She is a major chapter in the history of Indian cinema. I have been very lucky to have worked with her in films like “Adaalat” and “Mahaan” and I still have hope of working with her some time. Some people said that I was exaggerating when I said that I shivered before approaching her to be on my show, “Aaj Ki Raat Zindagi”. How can I explain something that is very personal and something that only I can feel about someone special.