Jaya Bachchan’s crush on Dharmendra in her first Hindi film, Guddi (1971), was evident. However, in their latest film, Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani, she doesn’t even make eye contact with Dharmendra, who plays her husband. Jaya Bachchan’s character in Guddi was a fan of Dharmendra’s, even hiding behind a sofa due to shyness. But in the new film, Jaya’s character, Dhanlakshmi, takes control of her Punjabi household while Dharmendra’s character struggles with fading memory in a wheelchair. This transformation from an innocent girl to a strong matriarch feels natural and earned, reflecting Jaya’s 50-year journey. She began her career with Satyajit Ray’s Mahanagar (1963), and continued working with esteemed Bengali directors like Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Basu Chatterjee even after entering Hindi cinema. In Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani, Jaya’s character stands out as a dominant figure in her household, in contrast to her previous roles.
Jaya Bachchan’s life has been influenced by her roles in certain films, particularly Abhimaan (1973). In this film, her character’s success in singing leads to her husband feeling insecure and bitter. The film, released shortly after Jaya married Amitabh Bachchan, marked a shift in their careers as Amitabh rose to fame. Jaya continued to deliver strong performances in films like Mili, Chupke Chupke, and Sholay, but Amitabh’s popularity overshadowed her. Jaya’s last appearance on screen was as herself in Ki & Ka, where her character celebrated Arjun Kapoor’s character as a homemaker, highlighting the impact of their marriage on her career. However, in Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani, Jaya’s character is not bitter about her husband’s success; instead, she takes control of her household and runs their family business.
In Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani, Jaya’s character, Dhanlakshmi, faces bitterness due to a lack of love in her life. She becomes upset when her husband reunites with his old love. This love triangle resembles the one in Silsila (1981), where Jaya’s character marries Amitabh’s character, only to discover his lingering feelings for his previous love interest, Rekha. After Silsila, Jaya took a hiatus from acting until the late ’90s when she became a producer. She played roles with inherent strength, such as Jennifer Kapoor in Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003), a single mother who adopts her late husband’s illegitimate child. In Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani, Jaya’s character reflects her real-life persona, exhibiting strength while also experiencing loneliness and insecurities.
Jaya Bachchan has always been fearless, whether in demanding justice in the Rajya Sabha or addressing paparazzi ethics. However, her ability to confront her insecurities and portray them on screen demonstrates a secure and talented actor.