They could be coming from two different planets in the showbiz cosmos. As varied as chalk is from cheese — as actors, as icons, as people — the only thing that binds them is the Bachchan bahu tag.
Mian star, biwi hot star
Jaya: We’ll call her Big Bahu, since she’s married to Big B. Going into the wedding that summer of 1973, Jaya Bhaduri was truly a bigger star than the rising star Amitabh, who was coming in strongly with Zanjeer after 11 straight duds.
Aishwarya: Chhoti Bahu (since she is married to Chhota B) was a star long before she hit filmdom — a global icon, thanks to her 1994 Miss World crown. Over the decade, despite only three hits, Ash has remained Bollywood’s headline hunter. At Bollywood’s Shaadi No. 1, no wonder, Chhoti Bahu was the hotter commodity despite Chhota B being box-office’s flavour of the season.
Jaya: Big Bahu walked into the Bachchan home silently, wedding her beau in a hush-hush affair. The very Bengali shubho bibaha at a friend’s place had a filtered guest list: the Rajans, Sanjay Gandhi, and four others. Curious neighbours, baffled by the décor and lighting, were told a set was being erected for Amitabh to shoot the next night.
Aishwarya: Chhoti Bahu had a queen-sized wedding. The three-day extravaganza, replete with media circus at the gates of Jalsa and Prateeksha could rival the budget of a multi-crore Bollywood flick.
Affairs of the heart
Jaya: She saw him, she loved him, she married him. Big Bahu’s love life is a uni-track script. Marrying at the top of her career, she quit in haste, to become the nice, homely Mrs Superstar.
Aishwarya: Ghosts of Salman Khan and Vivek Oberoi must have fled from her nightmares by now. We’re sure Chhota B has mended those broken pieces of her heart. Will she continue to work?
Jaya: A demure desi heartthrob, the real deal in an era when the coiffed chic of Sharmila Tagore and Mumtaz reigned. That very proper image lent to Big Bahu’s attempt at a bold makeover, when she starred opposite hubby in Silsila.
Aishwarya: Dhoom 2 almost spelled doom for Shaadi No. 1 as Big B was reportedly miffed at Ash planting a fullmouthed kiss on Hrithik Roshan.