In the excitement of the participation of actress Aishwarya Rai at a Bachchan family puja conducted in Varanasi this past week, one pertinent fact seems to have escaped notice: the presence of Ajitabh Bachchan and his daughter, Namrita at the family outing.
For much of the past two years, there has been talk of a rift between the Bachchan brothers. When Harivansh Rai Bachchan passed away in 2003, Ajitabh Bachchan, in sharp contrast to his elder brother, was resigned to being a mute spectator to the proceedings.
Last year there was talk, too, that Ajitabh was working on a kiss-‘n’-tell book on his brother’s life. The cause of the rift was speculated upon, but with neither brother forthcoming with details, the talk remained cocktail chatter: had they fallen out over financial matters? What role had the wives played in the cold war? And so on...
This year, however, there are distinct signs of a thaw, if the recent Varanasi visit is anything to go by.
When asked about burying the hatchet, Ajitabh ‘Bunty’ Bachchan was cautious: “Our mother has been ailing and I think it’s very important to her. There’s been much speculation in the past about a rift but the basic family has always been intact,” he said. According to him, it’s their mother’s wish that the family remain together which is foremost on everybody’s mind. Aged 89, Teji Bachchan has been in hospital since July this year.
The united Bachchan parivaar will come together once again in the first week of December for a book reading session of Deliverance, Namrita’s book of poems. “The head of our family was a poet, so it is an important occasion for us,” said Ajitabh.
The patch-up between the brothers Bachchan seems to have begun when Ajitabh was present at the Big B’s side at Lilavati hospital during his illness in December last year. Earlier this year, it was rumoured that Ajitabh took Abhishek and Aishwarya’s janampatris to a Bangalore-based astrologer.
As for the book on his brother’s life, all Ajitabh will say is: “I’m not thinking about the book right now.”
The happy ending to tinseltown’s first family comes as no surprise considering that in Bollywood, it’s all about loving your family.