Birthday love: Amitabh Bachchan’s best 70s & 80s duos

Yasmin Shabir

Features Writer


On the occasion of Amitabh Bachchan’s birthday, it’s inevitable to think about all the films he has worked in over the years. From different directors, co stars even musicians, he has worked with many big names during his time as an actor.

For his birthday this year, will reminiscence some of his best duos during the 70s and 80s.

Vinod Khanna
Bachchan and Vinod Khanna had worked in numerous films together with their first one being ‘Reshma Aur Shera (1971) which was directed by Sunil Dutt. After that they were seen in many more films that had the audience wanting to see more of them together. The 1976 film ‘Hera Pheri’ saw the two as best friends who conned people for a living. This film gave them lots of success as the audience loved their interactions between one another especially in their comedy scenes.

It was said that Khanna was well on his way to becoming a superstar but due to personal reasons he decided to take a break from acting to focus on other things in his life. When this happened it was almost as if fate was giving way to Bachchan and he became the name everyone was talking about.

If a person was questioned which Bachchan and Dharmendra film comes to mind then most would probably mention the classic ‘Sholay’ (1975). It is no surprise that this is the case because the film was a super hit when it released and one reason being this duo. Till date when it comes to the topic of friendship in Hindi cinema the friendship of Jai (Bachchan) and Veeru (Dharmendra) comes to mind. Another film of theirs that is quite popular is ‘Chupke Chupke’ (1975) that sees Parimal Tripathi (Dharmendra) prank his brother in law with the help of his good friend Sukumar Sinha (Bachchan). The film had the audience in stitches because of the hilarious situations that took place.

Shashi Kapoor
Whenever Shashi Kapoor and Bachchan’s names appeared together one knew that they would be in for a treat. Quite often they would be seen playing the role of brothers who had been separated in their childhood such was the story in the 1979 film ‘Suhaag’. This duo saw great success during the 70’s and the early 80’s with them bringing out hits after hits. Some of those hits being ‘Deewar’ (1975), ‘Kabhi Kabhie’ (1976) and ‘Namak Halaal’ (1982).

What is surprising is that Bachchan was slightly younger than Kapoor but in some films he played the older brother.

Shatrughan Sinha
Although Shatrughan Sinha and Bachchan starred in just a few films together, they seem to be a duo that can’t be forgotten. Whenever Sinha and Bachchan worked together they always had interesting roles to play. In the 1972 entertainer ‘Bombay To Goa’ Sinha was cast in a negative role with Bachchan as the dashing hero set out to protect his love interest in the film.

However there are two films that really stand out perhaps as they focus on friendship. One of them is the love triangle ‘Dostana’ (1980) that had Ravi (Sinha) and Vijay (Bachchan) as the best of friends. However when they both fall in love with Sheetal (Zeenat Aman) everything changes, with their enemies using this issue to their advantage in order to tear their friendship apart.

Funnily enough a year later ‘Naseeb’ (1981) saw the two again as the best of friends who see a crack in their friendship when they end up falling for the same girl. With one friend sacrificing his love for the other the film won the hearts of the audience seeing this friendship.

Rishi Kapoor
Bachchan was lucky enough to work with many members of the Kapoor family another being Rishi Kapoor. The two often brought a smile to the viewers face when they appeared together. Who can forget their roles in the film ‘Coolie’ (1983) although they seem to be rivals at the beginning they become the best of friends in fact more like brothers. Their iconic song ‘lambuji lambuji’ was funny from start to finish as they both compete with one another for some reward money. Later they join together in order to help better the lives of the porters.

Another unforgettable song is ‘chal mere bhai’ from ‘Naseeb’ (1981) that saw Sunny (Kapoor) as the mischievous younger brother of Johnny (Bachchan). As for this song the situation is opposite, here the older brother is drunk and not doing as he is told while the younger brother has to look after him. They always had a wonderful relationship on screen often appearing as brothers and in their last film ‘102 Not Out’ (2018) as father and son.

Rajesh Khanna
Last but not least it would be wrong not to mention the duo Rajesh Khanna and Bachchan. Their two most notable films were ‘Anand’ (1971) and ‘Namak Haraam’ (1973) with the first one being classed as a family favourite of many. Khanna’s role of the ever positive Anand brought confusion to Dr Bhaskar (Bachchan) as to how someone could be so full of life to the last minute even though he has very little time to live. Bachchan got to live out his dream of working with the superstar in this classic. wishes Amitabh Bachchan a very happy birthday!