Fabulous 70s Jodis

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Amitabh Bachchan & Jaya Bhaduri – When two co-stars fall in love off screen, then the reel life love has a certain jadoo to it, it can be voyeuristic like watching a Raj Kapoor & Nargis film. However with Jaya and Amitabh, their off screen life does not overshadow their jodi together, because both are such consummate actors and usually match each other scene for scene. One of their best films together is Abhimaan (1973) where Bachchan plays a rock star whose wife is eclipsing him in fame which puts a strain on their marriage. Their best scenes together are usually during the fantastic songs, such as the last tune “Tere Mere Milan Ki” where the two spouses reunite on stage. What seems to the audience as a typical filmi moment is really a touching scene where the two lovers move from sadness to forgiveness to ultimately contentment, all conveyed through Bachchan and Bhaduri’s gestures and facial expressions. This jodi did have time for comedy too, in their favourite director Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Chupke Chupke (1975) a multistarrer film with Dharamendra and Sharmila Tagore. But their most iconic pairing was in Sholay (1975) where Bachchan was Veeru, a sardonic thief and Bhaduri as Radha, the widow of the town. Again in this film, the two convey so much yearning and love through not saying a word, for example one of the key scenes where Radha takes furtive glances at Veeru, while she turns out the lights of the house, and while he plays a romantic tune on his harmonica. They did reunite in the millennium for Karan Johar’s magnum opus of family ties “Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham” but their films from the 70’s are the testament of what understated romantic love was.

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