The friendship of Nehru-Gandhi and Bachchan family started from ‘Anand Bhavan’ in Allahabad. Later both the families shifted to Delhi. The warmth of the relationship amidst the political turmoil remained the same here as well. The next generation of both the families strengthened it further. Sanjay-Rajiv Gandhi and Ajitabh-Amitabh Bachchan worked to take this relationship forward. Both the families were seen standing shoulder to shoulder in each other’s happiness and sorrow.
When the power went, the distance was made: After the assassination of Indira Gandhi, Amitabh entered politics only at the behest of Rajiv. However, he quit politics within a few years. In the later days, the relationship between the two families also soured and it was clearly visible. Especially after the Emergency, when the opposition leaders led by the Janata Party were attacking Indira Gandhi and her son Sanjay, the Bachchan family had completely distanced themselves.
Teji Bachchan refused to come: Senior journalist and author Rashid Kidwai has written extensively on the relationship between the two families in his book ‘Neta-Actor: Bollywood Star Power in Indian Politics’. Kidwai, quoting Sanjay Gandhi’s son Varun Gandhi, claims that ‘when Indira Gandhi came to power after the Emergency, it was proposed that the Bachchan family should be called in a public meeting. However, Teji Bachchan refused to come saying that it would have a negative impact on his son’s film career.
Amitabh did not come to the airport: Whenever Sanjay Gandhi went to Mumbai, Amitabh Bachchan himself used to come to the airport to receive him, but when the power went away, the behavior of the Bachchan family also showed a change. Kidwai writes that when Indira was not in power, Sanjay Gandhi once reached Mumbai at the same time. But Amitabh did not come to receive him at the airport. Sanjay Gandhi was hurt by this behavior of Bachchan.
When Rajiv came into politics, then the movement started: According to Kidwai, Varun Gandhi himself told him in the year 2009 that the Bachchan family started meeting and visiting the Gandhi-Nehru family again when Rajiv Gandhi actively entered politics.