Once Upon a Time: When Amitabh Bachchan and Shatrughan Sinha’s friendship turned sour

In his biography Anything But Khamosh, Shatrughan Sinha recalls the time when his friendship with Amitabh Bachchan turned sour and the projects he had to leave due to Big B.

In the ‘Once Upon a Time’ series, we present anecdotes shared by famous film personalities.

Amitabh Bachchan and Shatrughan Sinha were both megastars in the 1970s. With his ‘angry young man’ character, Amitabh was the reigning superstar and even though the two shared a good friendship in their early days, their relationship soured by the time they started filming Yash Chopra’s Kaala Patthar.

In his biography Anything But Khamosh by Bharathi S. Pradhan, Sinha spoke about the ego tussle that the two were going through in those days. Sinha revealed that even though people believed that they made a “dynamic pair on screen”, Big B felt that Sinha overshadowed him in Naseeb, Shaan, Dostana and Kaala Patthar.

Shatrughan Sinha reveals an incident during the shoot of Kaala Pathar, a fight scene was changed dramatically. During the narration, Sinha was told that this was going to be an equal fight. But while filming, the scene was changed to Amitabh Bachchan “beating the hell out of” Sinha until Shashi Kapoor’s character separated them. Sinha put his foot down and this stopped the shoot for 3-4 hours which irked Bachchan.

Their friendship was beyond over by this time. Sinha also shared that the chair next to Big B was never offered to him and even the umbrella that covered Bachchan wasn’t offered to other actors. He also recounted that even if they were heading towards the same hotel from the location, Bachchan never offered that they go in the same car and all of this felt very strange to him.

Shatrughan Sinha also revealed that actors Zeenat Aman and Rekha “contributed a little to the rift.” He believes that they must have said something to Amitabh Bachchan to strengthen their position as he knew a lot about them both.

Sinha also said that Bachchan did not want to share screen space with him because he “could see the response that I was getting.” He further revealed that he let go of a lot of films and returned the signing amount because of Big B.

Despite their rift, the two starred in many popular films back in the day including Kaala Patthar (1979), Dostana (1980), Shaan (1980), Naseeb (1981), among more.

Shatrughan Sinha also recounts that his disagreements with Amitabh Bachchan were only issue-based and he has deep regards for the Bachchan family. Even though they have been through their ups and downs, Sinha considers him a friend.

At the launch of his biography in 2016 in Mumbai, it was Big B who graced the stage and congratulated his friend. Clearly, the past is water under the bridge.

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