Do you know megastar Amitabh Bachchan had done a Punjabi Film at peak of his film
career? The film was Walayati Babu which was produced by Punjabi Comic Legend Mehar
Mittal and it had Mittal in the titular role of Walayati Babu opposite actress Rita Haksar
(daughter of yesteryear actress Manorama) while Amitabh Bachchan was in a cameo only. The film
also had the presence of superstar actress Reena Roy in it. It has been observed with keen
interest of cine lovers that both Amitabh Bachchan and Reena Roy were never paired
romantically in any Hindi Film, despite working together in films like Naseeb &
Andha Kanoon. It actually took a Punjabi movie to bring them together as a romantic pair. Furthermore, it’s seen as no less than an achievement for Reena Roy, that she joined the top league with Hema Malini, Zeenat Aman & Rekha without being paired opposite Amitabh Bachchan in any Hindi Film.
There were few films in which they were supposed to work as romantic lead. When
Rekha gave trouble to Prakash Mehra for dates for Muqqadar Ka Sikander, Prakash Mehra
approached Reena Roy for the film. She agreed to do the film and even had meetings with
costume designer regarding the film, but Amitabh Bachchan brought back Rekha in to the
film and promised Prakash Mehra that Rekha would report for shoot on time.
Later there were films like Coolie, Nastik,Ghulami, Dharam Kanta etc. which were supposed to have both the stars in lead roles. But only Walayati Babu could bring them together. Back then a magazine
had reported that Amitabh was afraid of Reena Roy’s strong screen presence or either he
avoided working with Reena due to his rivalry with Shatrughan Sinha. But surprisingly Jaya
Bachchan and Reena Roy are known as good friends. In fact, Reena Roy agreed to do
Abhishek Bachchan’s debut film Refugee because of her friendship with Bachchans and JP
Dutta & his wife (former actress)Bindiya Dutta.
Coming to Walayati Babu, it’s remembered mainly for the cameo of Amitabh Bachchan and
Reena Roy. Mehar Mittal wanted a big star for the cameo, and he was thinking about Dharmendra for the guest appearance. Actor Yogesh Chabra was batch mate of Jaya Bachchan at FTII and he
approached Amitabh Bachchan for the film through her, He agreed to do the film. While it’s the
only Punjabi Film of Amitabh Bachchan, but Reena Roy had done a Punjabi-Hindi bilingual
Sat Shri Akal and Gyani Ji prior to Walayati Babu.