An open letter to Jaya Bachchan from a die-hard Amitabh fan

Dear Jayaji. I have always admired your films. I have been proud of your hidden hands and unflinching support that made the lanky man with a voice ‘rejected’ by All India Radio turn into as one of the finest actors and a superstar.

In the meantime between us; last so many years I have been cracking a joke and this would often leave my Daughter, Tanvi Dev, either smile or even irritated depending on her mood.

My question for the joke or a little riddle is — What’s common between my Daughter Tanvi, Jaya Bachchan and Shashi Tharoor? Any guesses ?…..

Well, all their fathers worked for ‘The Statesman’, one-time celebrated English newspaper and was a must read for IAS aspirants and anyone who wanted to learn English — school, college, home and even in jail.

Last word the ‘jail’ could create a tremor but the fact of the matter is – there is a grapevine that a Bengali neta reportedly learnt English by reading ‘The Statesman’ behind bars. Due to plethora of reasons the paper has lost its glorious lustre. I, myself, had to bow out in 2016 ! Reasons – well; wait for the autobiography!!

But, today’s debate is different. However, before going into that; let me share my personal excitement when lawmaker Shashi Tharoor in his ‘perfect’ pronunciation had told me in circa 2012; – “Oh you are with ‘The Statesman’; my father also worked for the paper in their Calcutta office”.

Which person will not like such a comparison? But my topic today is ‘Jaya Bachchan’ – the wife of none other than our own ‘Inspector Vijay’ – the evergreen ‘angry young man’ Amitabh Bachchan and herself the actress of some lovely movies such as ‘Mili’; ‘Guddi’ and one remembers only
in admiration You, Jaya ji, portraying that young widow in ‘Sholay’ and a ditched wife in ‘Silsila’.

Yes — that famous song “mein aur meri Tanhai”. Me and my loneliness. Frankly, a good blog piece or a letter like this comes when you are alone and thinking and lost in that thinking. I was lost in my ‘Tanhai’ – loneliness for a while; talking to myself!

Mrs Bachchan …. hmmm daughter of Taroon Coomar Bhaduri who worked for ‘The Statesman’ in Bhopal. But madam, you let me down on Sept 15, 2020.

You told Rajya Sabha: “Just because there are few people (allegedly involved in drugs), you cannot tarnish the entire industry”.

She also said: “At a time when the financial situation is in a depressing stage and the employment is at the worst level, in order to divert the attention of the people, we are being used to be flogged at the social media
and there is no support (for the film industry) from the government”.

Very calculated words! Measured and well thought of. So much ‘measured’ that Respected Jayaji forgot to mention a few crucial lines— that the reports about drug menace in Bollywood is a matter of concern.

She forgot to mention that yes, there should be a thorough probe and the film world ought to be cleaned. Jayaji was very selective and as she said the entertainment world is being targeted. I knew my day was spoilt.

To me, this was like the day — when in 1984 – I heard Amitabh Bachchan will join the Congress party and would contest from Allahabad. And later the Bofors row. His fans never admired Amitabh’s politics.

What was the compulsion, Jaya Di? Now, I can no longer say or feel so emotionally excited about Bachchans. That angry young man who had said – ‘Anand mara nahi, Anand Marte nahi’.
Sadly, Humey toh maar dia, Jaya Di !! As an admirer of Bachchans, are we not already dead?

That Amitabh…hmmm alias Vijay Dinanath Chouhan or the old Deewar dialogue…”Doston ke naam bhi hote haen”.Yes. …Dost bhi na rahe…. and perhaps I would not be a ‘fan’ as I was till the other day !

Please do some corrections madam, if possible and say the dreaded Drug menace in Bollywood is a matter of concern…..and needs to be cleaned.

Why break the silence when there was ‘no noise or response’ from you and your husband over the
ugly issues of nepotism after Sushant Singh Rajput’s death.

You may hate Narendra Modi; turn Sickular….. remain a ‘Samajwadi Party’ MP or even turn a neo-Shiv Sainik – no problem; we do not mind all that ! But let us fight the Drugs.

Classic but a sad meme that went viral after your brief intervention in the Upper House was in reference to the film ‘3 Idiots’. In the meme – Karan Johar seems to be saying – This is what Jaya Bachchan has been stating; but all words are mine.

Here is a difference. Mind you, Jaya Di there is already a complaint with the Narcotics Control Bureau from an Akali Dal leader against the filmmaker. You are different, to us, the Bachchans are different. To a journalist and someone who has worked for ‘The Statesman’, the correspondent in Bhopal 1960s
was different. Please prove us wrong!

All my regrets and sincere apologies. (Before I end, here in your own words, Jaya Di – courtesy website –
what you have said about your dad and his reporting on Chambal brigands of 1960s.

“In Nagpur, he (your dad) became Chief Reporter of the ‘Nagpur Times’ and remained in that position for several years. He eventually received a great offer from ‘The Statesman’ and relocated as its correspondent to Bhopal in the mid-1960s.
The 60s were also the time when Dacoits (bandits) were a menace in Chambal (confluence of three states Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan) and one of the biggest urban legends of India.

As a fiery and resourceful correspondent, Baba’s influence and mannerisms won the confidence of all dacoits in Chambal, with whom he lived for some time documenting their lives and deeds. In the late 60s, he authored a Bengali travelogue/semi-fictional novel based on his experiences titled “Abhishapath Chambal,” (also titled Abar Abhishapta Chambal) which was later translated into English as “Chambal: the Valley of Terror”. The Book and Baba were both an overnight success”.

About the Author:

Nirendra Dev is senior Journalist. He is a longtime northeast watcher and author of books including ‘The Talking Guns: North East India’ and ‘Modi to Moditva: An Uncensored Truth’.