Not many know that the Bachchan family and the Nehru family relation goes back to 20th century. Amitabh Bachchan’s father Harivanch Rai Bachchan and Motilal Nehru who belong to same city of Allahabad were very close friends and shared similar interests.
Amitabh Bachchan had first met Rajiv Gandhi at the age of four and Rajiv was 2 years old. Since then they knew each other and spent pretty good time. This friendship continued even after Rajiv Gandhi became the Prime Minister of India. Infact they were so close that many people in the film industry and politics thought Rajiv and Amitabh would be two heroes of the country.
Early 1960s. From L to R: Sanjay Gandhi, Dara Singh’s brother, Rajiv Gandhi, Indira Gandhi, Dara Singh & Amitabh Bachchan.
Sanjay Gandhi also shared similar interests and would accompany Rajiv and Amitabh at times. But often the conversation with Sanjay would end up with auto mobiles and flying machines. He was a car freak who always used to dream about building a ‘People’s car’. Same time, Rajiv Gandhi was fascinated with airplanes and would always strike a conversation with flights.
Their friendship was way beyond just chit-chats and sharing common interests and reached the pinnacle in 1960’s when Amitabh Bachchan’s family took personal interest and supported Rajiv Gandhi’s marriage with Sonia. Indira Gandhi was totally against the marriage as she knew something about Sonia’s background which she had collected from Intelligence Bureau. She felt that it was not safe for a lady with a questionable background to join the most powerful family of India. But it was none other than Big B’s mother who acted like a mediator to convince Indira Gandhi for the marriage.
After the marriage, Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi became inseparable and this relation continued until late 1980’s. Many people persuaded Big B to join active and serious politics, to which Big B definitely gave a thought. However Big B was gaining immense popularity in Bollywood and delayed his thought about joining politics….which probably happened for good.
But things started changing after Rajiv became the Prime Minister of India. The first big jolt was the Bofors scandal which gave major blow to the popularity of Rajiv Gandhi. Amitabh Bachchan who was a close associate of Rajiv Gandhi was also accused of receiving huge kickbacks and involving in serious corruption in Bofors. This was the very time that Amitabh realized that his association with Rajiv should be limited since it damaged his credibility in the Bollywood. However Amitabh Bachchan was cleared of all charges later in 1990’s. Rajiv and Amitabh were still close friends and did meet each other sometimes and shared good moments.
But there was something that Rajiv Gandhi looked unhappy about and it was the same time he had revealed many inside information about Bofors to his another close friend Dr Subramanian Swamy. He had categorically stated he made a mistake and would want to correct it and reveal everything soon.
But Rajiv Gandhi was soon assassinated in 1991 which still revolves around endless speculation about a powerful insider who plotted the kill! It was after this incident that many close friends of Rajiv said to have drifted away from the Gandhi’s association.
Amitabh Bachchan’s relation with Gandhi’s almost came to end at this stage. The Congress wanted Bib B to join the party and help Sonia Gandhi with politics. But there was something that Big B knew and he wanted to distance himself from Sonia Gandhi completely. So he said he was more interested in film industry and refused to join the Congress party. Sonia Gandhi who got offended by his stand, wanted to give him back!
In 1990’s when Big B incurred huge loss by his company ABCL and almost went Bankrupt none of his friends had lend him support. It is said that on orders of a powerful person in Congress he was not even given time to meet any person of the party. In fact the Congress was so harsh that Big B was given income tax notice in 2005 while he was in hospital undergoing serious treatment.
Big B’s association with Amar Singh sent strong signals to Congress that they were not the only powerful people in system. The offer to host the Kaun Banega Crorepati gave him back his life in film industry.
All that we can say by this story is, how politicians are so ruthless and would exploit and use a person to any extent possible to snatch power and secure their positions.
Aishwarya S **