Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan are undeniably one of the most recognised couples in the Hindi film industry. Their marriage has withered several ups and downs and has stood the test of time. The couple shared screen space for the first time in the 1972 film Bansi Birju, followed by several classics like Zanjeer, Sholay, Chupke Chupke, and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham.
The Amitabh-Jaya association goes back to 1971 when the actress made her Bollywood debut in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Guddi. Jaya played the female lead in the film opposite Samit Bhanja.
But not many are aware that it was Amitabh, and not Samit Bhanja, who was supposed to play the lead opposite Jaya in Guddi. Amitabh shot the film as the male lead for 10 days before he was dropped by Mukherjee.
In his blog on the late director, Amitabh says that the release of Anand (1971) coincided with the shooting of Guddi. Anand was a major box office hit and the word ‘superstar’ was coined for its lead actor Rajesh Khanna who returned a career-best performance in the film. It was an important film for Amitabh as well and helped him gain ground in Bollywood. He became a recognisable face among the audience. And that was exactly what Hrishikesh Mukherjee didn’t want for Guddi. He wanted to cast a fresh face and zeroed in on Samit Bhanja, Amitabh wrote in his blog.
The director telephoned Amitabh—who was then working in Ravikant Nagaich’s Pyar Ki Kahani—and informed about his decision to replace him with Samit Bhanja. It left Amitabh dejected. But Mukherjee reasoned with him and Amitabh understood. His role was changed into a guest appearance where Amitabh played himself in the film. Guddi also included a clip from Parwana in which Amitabh played the role of an obsessive lover with grey shades.