July 21: Ajitabh Bachchan is wondering if he should write that threatened autobiography, after all. And his rethink contains tantalising possibilities.
One is a reunion of the brothers ' Bunty, as Ajitabh is fondly called, has not had the best of relations with Amitabh, the bigger Bachchan. But there is one other prospect that might grab bigger headlines than a rediscovery of the Bachchan brotherhood. More of that later.
The reason for Ajitabh’s second thoughts apparently lies in his three daughters ' Namrata, Neelima and Naina ' not wanting him to go ahead with the project. Earlier, he had dropped broad hints of talking about incidents, personal and public, that are so far wrapped in a veil of secrecy.
His break-up with Amitabh, for instance. Or the Bofors controversy that had cast a shadow on the elder Bachchan and the Hindujas, with whom there’s a family relationship developing.
Ajitabh’s youngest daughter Naina is seeing Sanjay, the eldest son of Gopichand Hinduja. The couple was visible at the wedding of steel magnate Laxmi Niwas Mittal’s daughter Vanisha and banker Amit Bhatia in France last year. Sources said the engagement is likely to be announced in September.
The Hindujas, recently let off by the court for lack of evidence in the Bofors kickback investigation, also have close relations with Amitabh dating back three decades.
They have financed some of his biggest hits, including Amar Akbar Anthony.
It’s not difficult to imagine the Bachchan brothers, once close and business partners, wanting to amicably settle their dispute, whatever its nature. The Ambani acrimony is a lesson for all estranged siblings.
Last month, the superstar, wife Jaya and son Abhishek walked 10 km from their Juhu bungalow Jalsa to the famous Siddhivinayak temple at 1.45 am with the prayer on their lips that the family discord should not become a public spectacle.
The Naina-Sanjay wedding could be an answer to their prayer. While the Bachchan brothers’ differences are known, their children are said to be keen on bridging the gulf. Abhishek and Shweta want to attend their cousin’s wedding. Ajitabh’s daughters, too, are fond of “uncle Amitabh”.
Amitabh loved to hear Naina play the grand piano at the family’s Hampstead mansion that has now been sold for a few million pounds. Ajitabh has moved from London to Mumbai while his estranged wife Ramola has settled in Delhi.
Ramola declined to confirm or deny the Naina-Sanjay engagement. “It is for the children to decide about their future. At this juncture, I have no announcement to make to the press,” she said.
Ramola has close ties with the Hindujas ' SP and GP publicly refer to her as their sister.
Ajitabh and Ramola attended the party the Hindujas threw in Delhi recently after Delhi High Court quashed the Bofors charges against them, a rare occasion when the couple was seen together.
If everything goes according to plan, the Naina-Sanjay marriage will be solemnised in Delhi by the year-end. High on the guest list will be Sonia Gandhi and her children Rahul and Priyanka, who have stayed in touch with Ajitabh and his family even after the famous falling-out with Amitabh.
And at that wedding, the twain could meet again ' Sonia and Amitabh.