|Tejwant Kaur Suri
|Being the mother of Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan
|Date of Birth
|12 August 1914 (Wednesday)
|Lyallpur, Punjab, British India (present-day Faisalabad, Punjab, Pakistan)
|Date of Death
|21 December 2007 (Friday)
|Place of Death
|Lilavati Hospital, Mumbai
|Age (at the time of death)
|Lahore, British India (now in Pakistan)
|Khatri Daily Asian Age
|Indian National Congress NDTV
|Relationships & More
|Marital Status (at the time of death)
|Harivansh Rai Bachchan (poet)
• Amitabh Bachchan (actor)
• Ajitabh Bachchan (businessman)
Daughter-in-law- Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (actress)
Grandson- Abhishek Bachchan (actor)
Granddaughter- Shweta Bachchan Nanda
Great-granddaughter- Aaradhya Bachchan
|Father- Khazan Singh Suri (Barrister in British India)
Mother- Name Not Known
Some Lesser Known Facts About Teji Bachchan
- Teji Bachchan was an Indian social activist who is best known for being the mother of the Shahenshah of Bollywood, Amitabh Bachchan. She is also known for being the wife of one of the most celebrated Indian poets, Harivansh Rai Bachchan.
- Teji was born into an affluent Punjabi Khatri family of Lahore.
- Her father, Khazan Singh Suri was a well known Barrister in British India.
- She had developed an interest in literature, especially poems, at an early age, and she spent most of her childhood and adolescence reading the literary works of contemporary scholars.
- She had a love marriage with the noted Indian poet, Harivansh Rai Bachchan. When she first met him, he was a professor of English at Allahabad University while she was teaching psychology at Khoob Chand Degree College, Lahore, Punjab, British India (present-day Punjab, Pakistan).
- Teji and Harivansh Rai Bachchan first met at the residence of one of the friends of Harivansh Rai in Bareilly named Prakash. According to sources, Prakash had invited Harivansh Rai to his home without telling him the reason and when Harivansh Rai reached Prakash’s home, Prakash introduced him to Teji as one of the admirers of his poems from Lahore. When Harivansh Rai first saw Teji, he instantly fell in awe of her beauty. While describing her beauty, he once said,
वह कोई स्त्री नहीं, बल्कि सर झुकाए कोई यूनानी देवी खड़ी थी। जैसे किसी पुरानी किताब का कोई चित्र जीवंत हो उठा हो।”
- Teji and Harivansh Rai’s love blossomed, and after dating for a while, they got married to each other in 1941.
- Teji had a keen interest in music and poetry, and she herself was a skilled theater artist and singer.
- After getting married to Haribvansh Rai, she set up a home in Allahabad along with her husband where they had become a popular socialite. The couple would often sing at various social gatherings, and they earned acclaim as a “singing duo.”
- Teji showed her amateur acting skills with several troupes in Allahabad and Delhi. She also performed in Shakespeare’s plays translated by Harivansh Rai, such as Macbeth and Othello. She even played “Lady Macbeth” in the Hindi adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth by Harivansh Rai.
- Teji and Harivansh Rai Bachchan also had a cameo appearance in Yash Chopra’s 1976 film, Kabhie Kabhie.
- During their stay in Delhi in the late ’50s, Teji had become a confidant of Indira Gandhi, and this relationship between the Bachchan-Gandhi Family went a long way.
- When Sonia Gandhi arrived in India as the “Bahu” of the Gandhi Family, it was Teji Bachchan who played as the godmother of Sonia and most of her wedding rituals were performed at the Bachchan’s home. Teji also taught Sonia about Indian customs. While reminiscing Teji Bachchan, Sonia Gandhi said in a 1985 interview –
I came to learn a lot from them. Teji aunty is my second… no, my third mother (after her own mother and mother-in-law Indira Gandhi). Amit and Bunty (Ajitabh) are my brothers.”
- According to sources, when Indira Gandhi was reluctant over the Rajiv-Sonia marriage, it was Teji who had persuaded her to let Rajiv Gandhi marry Sonia.
- Even after her marriage, Sonia Gandhi stayed briefly at the Bachchan’s home along with her family members.
- Due to Amitabh Bachchan‘s name in Bofors Scam, the Gandhi-Bachchan relationship developed a strain, and from then onwards, it had never been the same.
- Teji Bachchan was supposed to bet the person behind making Amitabh Bachchan a star. It was, in fact, Teji who guided Amitabh to chose acting as a career; contrary to Harivansh Rai who wanted him to concentrate on his studies. Amitabh revealed this fact in an interview and said,
- Teji also persuaded Indira Gandhi to ask the renowned actress Nargis to give a recommendation letter for Amitabh in the film industry.
- She was so involved in Amitabh’s professional life that she would often suggest a thing or two to the filmmakers. For instance, she asked Manmohan Desai to change the ending of “Coolie;” as in the original script, Amitabh’s character was supposed to die. Rediff
- Even after having an Anglicized background, Teji ensured that her children were equipped in Indian culture. She raised her children in a disciplined way and had framed a strict time table; both for Amitabh and Ajitabh.
- It is said that Amitabh, even after becoming a star, was such an obedient son that he would always seek his mother’s permission before going anywhere.
- Teji mostly called Amitabh by his nickname “Munna.” In an interview, while talking about Munna, she said,
One day when Munna, after working for 22 hours, came back home, Bachchanji told him, ‘Dekho Munna ek roti bhi bahut hain.’ Munna replied, ‘Dad mujhe aaj bhi yaad hain, main bhoolta nahin, aap kehte the roti badi mushkil se milti hain, aaj main kehta hoon paise badi mushkil se milta hai.”
- Amitabh Bachchan was so close to his mother that he often shares emotional notes for her on his social media accounts. In one such note, he wrote –
Its Mother’s birth Anniversary .. August 12 .. when you failed she consoled and gave hope .. when you succeeded she wept .. till her last days she insisted on knowing whether I had eaten .. and when going out, to advise, not to be late .. I had grandchildren by then .. but that is Mother !!”
- While reminiscing Teji Bachchan, Amitabh revealed on his Facebook account that she used to sing Gurbani (hymn) to him. In his post on Facebook, he wrote –
Those early years in Allahabad, when Ma recited and sang the eternal pious and divine words of the Gurbani, in my ears… ‘tati vaar na jaavaee.”
- According to sources, Harivansh Rai Bachchan was very close to Jawaharlal Nehru, and whenever it came to introduce Teji and Harivansh Rai Bachchan at various social gatherings, Jawaharlal Nehru had his own style; while pointing towards Harivansh Rai and Teji, Nehru would say “He is a poet” and “This is his poem,” respectively.
- In 1973, Teji was appointed as one of the directors of the Film Finance Corporation (now, National Film Development Corporation of India).
- Teji loved to attend the premiers of Amitabh Bachchan‘s films.
- After a prolonged illness, she died at the age of 93 on 21 December 2007 at 1.05 pm at Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai. Many celebrities across the nation attended her funeral.
- In an episode of Kaun Banega Crorepati Season 15, Amitabh Bachchan shared a story from his family’s history. He recounted the challenges his parents, Harivansh Rai Bachchan and Teji Bachchan, faced due to their inter-caste marriage, particularly when they arrived in Allahabad, where such marriages were deemed unacceptable at the time. Despite the societal resistance, Sarojini Naidu, who was an ardent admirer of Harivansh Rai Bachchan, emerged as a pillar of support during that phase. Naidu also introduced them to Jawaharlal Nehru by saying “meet the poet and his poetry.” The Times of India Amitabh Bachchan said,
I am getting a little hesitant to say this but she was also a big fan of my babuji. My babuji had done an intercaste marriage. My maataji Teji was from a Sikh family and when we lived in Allahabad over there gettting married in a different caste was called a sin during that time. So during that time, people fought against my father when he took my mother to Allahabad. So Sarojini Naidu was the first person who consoled him. She introduced him to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru who used to live in Anand Bavan in Allahabad. I still remember the way she had introduced my father. She said, ‘meet the poet and his poetry.