Amitabh Bachchan vs Shatrughan Sinha rivalry: Here’s why Big B and Shot Gun (Mr Sinha is known by that nickname) never got along well. Their children, Abhishek Bachchan and Sonakshi Sinha may say that both the senior actors share an amazing camaraderie today, but there’s no denying that both of them were rivals at one point of time and used to avoid talking to each other. Today, they have grown wiser and have separate careers, but at one point of time, they were indeed at loggerheads with each other.
Shatrughan Sinha, in a recent interview, admitted about their rivalry. “The rivalry was unfortunate but it did exist. After Naseeb and Shaan, I had to return advances of films which also co-starred him. Our rivalry won’t end. There’s a dialogue in his upcoming film (where he plays the late NTR) that goes like, ‘I’m not Sarkar, I’m Super Sarkar. People should feel free to draw their interpretations,” he said with a booming laugh.
Big B and Shot Gun have worked together in several hits like Kala Pathar, Dostana and Shaan, but they have never really been the best of buddies. In the 70s and 80s, both the actors were doing plenty of films, many together as well. according to industry insiders, their differences started during the movie ‘Dostana’.
With their growing aspirations (and egos), both were not keen to work with each together. In the multi-starrer movie ‘Shaan’ (1980), Bachchan had a mjor role in the film, whereas people hardly remember Shatrughan Sinha in that movie. ‘Shaan’ could not match the success of ‘Dostana’, and the two decided to stay away from each other professionally. A Ramesh Sippy project with Amitabh, Shatrughan, and newcomer Kanwaljeet, was shelved.
Amitabh & Shatru’s terrific rivalry, clearly seen in the movie ‘Kaala Patthar’. Perhaps, one of the best rivalry scenes in Bollywood (their off-screen differences only increased the intensity of this scene).
Did you know?
Amitabh Bachchan, Shatrughan Sinha, Sanjeev Kumar and Subhash Ghai had all shifted to Mumbai, at more or less the same time, to try their luck in Bollywood. They all were PGs at the same house and were roommates. They would struggle together, and every morning they would share with each other whom they were meeting that day. In the evening, they would come back and have drinks together. Well, that was much before they started getting films.
Shotgun Not Invited for Abhishek’s Wedding
This was definitely not the start of their rivalry, but it definitely increased the gap.
Until Abhishek’s wedding, despite their professional rivalry, the two senior actors had maintained good friendship. However, for Abhishek’s wedding, Big B had invited only select number of guests and that list did not include Shatrughan Sinha. Obviously, the Bihari actor/politician considered it an insult. Post the wedding, when Big B sent sweets to his many friends, including Mr. Sinha, Mr. Shotgun not only refused the sweets, but also made some statements to the press that didn’t go down well with Mr. Big B who said “Those who were not invited, were not friends to begin with.” Again, there rift was out in the open.
Trouble at IIFA – Tit for Tat
During IIFA Awards 2008, Shotgun commented on Amitabh Bachchan and his family’s absence. Amitabh quickly reverted on Twitter (his new-found weapon and tool for communicating with his friends).
Sinha had reportedly stated that the award does not really have any credibility and it was alright that Taare Zameen Par was not nominated. After the nominations for the IIFA awards were announced, Sinha had said “Sab kissika beta hai, ya kissiki bahu, ya kissiki biwi (Everyone is either someone’s son, someone’s daughter-in-law or someone’s wife).” Obviously he was referring to Big B’s family (Mr. Bachchan was the brand ambassador of the awards then).
Reacting sharply to the comments, Big B at that time had blamed Mr. Sinha for interfering in the National awards selection (Mr. Sinha was a national level politician then).
Bachchan wrote, “I am surprised at this observation, especially since, during the time of the National Award selection for Best Actress in one of the past years, when the award went to Raveena Tandon, it was alleged that Mr Shatrughan Sinha’s wife, the lovely and graceful Poonam, a great friend of Raveena’s mother had recommended the appointment of MacMohan, the brother of Raveena’s mother, on the board of the Jury ( Structured by the Government in power – in this case the BJP, of which Mr Sinha was a Minister of State) in order that he may cast his vote in favour of Raveena Tandon. If this alleged story is true then I do value Mr Shatrughan Sinha’s alleged statement of “Sab kissika beta, kissiki beti, kissiki biwi” – You are so right, Shatru !!”
“Of course this does not take anything away from Raveena’s very deserving Award – she has been a wonderful and talented co-artiste in many films of mine, or, MacMohan, the Sambha of Sholay, who has remained a dear friend and has worked with me in several films. As has Mr Shatrughan Sinha!!”
Getting a little more personal with Sinha, Bachchan also writes: “I have seen some very encouraging reports of the film, where your son is being introduced in this great Industry. May he prosper and succeed even more than his illustrious father and may he never have to face a slighted accusation of ‘fixing’, when his name comes up for an award in the future!!”
Shatrughan Sinha, never to take things lying down, reacted to Amitabh Bachchan’s allegation and said, “Anger seems to have taken over the maturity of an actor like Amitabh Bachchan and that is probably the reason he has overreacted to my statement with regards to Taare Zameen Par. If I recall I have not taken any names and there are a number of film families in this industry. I really don’t know why he thinks it is his family I am talking about.”
When told that Bachchan has stated that Raveena Tandon got the award only because Sinha’s wife is a good friend of the actress, Sinha says, “That is exactly the point I am trying to drive home. But having said that there is one point I really would want to make here. I agree my hand was there in the award, but it was not like Mulayam’s feet, which was there in every award the Uttar Pradesh government has bestowed only on one family. And one can easily guess which family I am talking about.”
The war of words continued for some time, providing enough for the media, but was painful for the industry stalwarts. Soon, better sense prevailed on both sides and a truce was called.
Shatrughan Sinha: Bollywood Could Not Capitalize on his Enormous Talents?
Shatrughan Sinha was one of the most flamboyant actors in Bollywood, one with supreme self-confidence (not many know that he was an FTII alumni), one with the best dialogue delivery (on par with the legendary Raj Kumar).
You would never see him learn his dialogues. Its said that the Assistant directors (or someone on the set) would usually recite the dialogues to Mr. Sinha, as he would get his make-up done. From there, he would say take…give his shot and move on to the next scene (or to the next studio).
Here are some of Shatru’s famous Bollywood Dialogues:
It would seem that Bollywood filmmakers could not capitalize on Shotgun’s tremendous talent, and his movies are more remembered for his awesome dialogues (and dialogue delivery) than for the script/content. Big B, on the other hand, just kept getting bigger and bigger and went on to become the undisputed king of Bollywood. May be that’s what bothered Mr Sinha, who felt he was more capable and deserving.
Shatrughan Sinha, unlike his peers, however found success in politics (that’s where Big B failed miserably). Mr Sinha (along with the late Sunil Dutt) are the only big Bollywood stars to have a successful political career.
Will They Ever Work Again?
Although Big B had always maintained a dignified silence of his rivalry with Mr. Sinha, Shotgun, on the other hand, have always used any opportunity to take potshots at Big B (probably because Mr. Bachchan knew that he was the undisputed king of Bollywood then).
Whenever Mr. Sinha was asked if he would consider working with Bachchan again, the actor would reply, “I have never said no to working with him (Amitabh). I have no issues. It is up to him.”
“I think I have enough of self-confidence and comfort level to keep away personal things in my professional life. However, there is nothing personal between us. I think he does not want to work with me because you (media) have praised me a lot.”
When Shatrughan Sinha was the host of Kaun Banega Crorepati in Bhojpuri, many compared him with Amitabh Bachchan, the current host of Kaun Banega Crorepati in Hindi. Shotgun maintained that he will not imitate his yesteryear’s contemporary.
“If he is Big B, then I am double B (Bihari Babu),” says Sinha jokingly. “Why shold I imitate Amitabh Bachchan? He has his own style on KBC and I will have my own. I don’t claim I’m better than him but I don’t feel I’m inferior to him either. He’s an old friend.”
Sinha, agreed to anchor the show to promote Bhojpuri language. “It was spoken by leading personalities of the country including the first President of Independent India Rajendra Prasad, Loknayak Jayprakash Narayan and late Prime Minister Chandrasekhar. I wish to spread the awareness about the language,” he adds.
It seems, the long-standing squabble finally ended when the Sinha family went to the Bachchans’ bungalow, Jalsa for Diwali celebrations. Sinha was accompanied by wife Poonam, daughter Sonakshi and sons Luv and Kush. Obviously, this became the hot topic of conversation in Bollywood (coming close on the heels of the SRK-Salman patch-up).
Amitabh, Jaya, Abhishek and Aishwarya were happy that Shatrughan had decided to visit with his family. Shatrughan confirmed the news, saying, “I would say it was a Ram-Bharat milap. The Bachchan family invited us and we were treated as if we were the chief guests. All four of them, even Amitabh’s daughter Shweta, welcomed us warmly and took good care of us. It was a classy party and the arrangements were lovely.”
Sinha had not visited the Bachchan home in more than three decades. “Ghar pe jana kuch alag hi hota hai. Usme jo apnapan hai woh social gatherings ki mulaqat mein nahin hai,” said Mr. Sinha.
When asked what had gone wrong between the two stars in the `80s, Shatrughan said: “Jawaani thi, josh tha, there were ego issues. Now, our stature and age demands that we behave as mature adults.” Everybody, including the stars, are happy that finally all is well between the Bachchans and the Sinhas. “What better occasion than Diwali to reunite?” concluded Mr Shatrughan Sinha.