The seasoned performer-turned-politician Jaya Bachchan commands attention every time she appears on film.
But regrettably, a whole generation has only ever seen her as a Bollywood mother, whether in the films Fiza (2000), Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001), or Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003).
Jaya Bachchan in Guddi
Bachchan (born Bhaduri), who received a gold medal for graduating from the Film and Television Institute of India, was chosen to play the lead role in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Guddi.
She portrayed the titular youngster in the cult classic comedy-drama, who is obsessed with movie star Dharmendra (played by Dharmendra himself) and will not wed anyone else.
It benefits from a distinctive plot, outstanding performances, and timeless music.
Jaya Bachchan in Abhimaan
Abhimaan provides one of the most accurate representations of the complex power relations between an upper-middle-class Indian couple.
In another film by Mukherjee, Amitabh Bachchan plays Subir, a well-known singer who encourages his newlywed wife, Uma, to start a singing career.
But while Uma succeeds, Subir’s career falters, giving rise to unpleasant emotions in the latter.
While Bachchan is renowned for portraying the unglamorous, relatable heroine in Anamika, she also experimented with the murky side of human nature.
The story revolves around writer Devendra Dutt (Sanjeev Kumar), who saves Bachchan, who is injured and lying on the road.
Much is yet unknown because the woman, who claims to be Dutt’s wife, appears to be experiencing amnesia.
Jaya Bachchan in Mili
Mili, a significant turning point in Bachchan’s career, is a shining example of her captivating dialogue delivery and emotional range.
In this play, she played the title role, a cheerful and vivacious girl hiding a sinister secret.
Mili encourages her depressed, alcoholic neighbor (Amitabh) to adopt a fresh perspective on life.
Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Maa
Bachchan played a mother in the National Film Award-winning movie Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Maa, not as a prop to further the story of the lead actor, but rather as a complex, independent individual.
It was set in Calcutta in 1972 and focused on the lives of a middle-class woman (Bachchan), who experiences changes after the death of her college-bound Naxalite son.
This masterpiece was directed by Govind Nihalani.