Following her marriage to actor Amitabh Bachchan and the birth of her children, Bachchan restricted her film work in the coming years, and after her appearance in the 1981 film Silsila, she took an indefinite sabbatical from films. She returned to acting with Govind Nihalani's Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Maa in 1998. Since then, she has appeared in several commercially successful films such as Fiza (2000), Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham... (2001) and Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003), all which garnered her critical acclaim, as well as several awards and nominations.
Jaya Bhaduri was born in Jabalpur to a Bengali Hindu family. Her mother is Indira Bhaduri and her father, Taroon Kumar Bhaduri, was a writer, journalist and stage artist. She did her schooling from St. Joseph's Convent Sr. Sec. School, Bhopal and was the head girl of her school. She was awarded the Best All-India N.C.C. Cadet Award during the Republic Day celebrations in 1966.
Jaya Bachchan, an alumna of the Film and Television Institute of India, started her career with a supporting role in Satyajit Ray's Bengali film, Mahanagar at the age of 15, with Anil Chatterjee and Madhabi Mukherjee. Prior to this, she had appeared in two Bengali films: a 13-minute short film, Suman, and a Bengali comedy Dhanni Meye (1971), as Uttam Kumar's sister-in-law.
Inspired by her experience with Ray, she decided to join the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune to learn acting, and passed with the gold medal. She was also picked out to play the eponymous role of Guddi in the 1971 Hrishikesh Mukherjee film, Guddi in which she played a schoolgirl obsessed with film star Dharmendra. Guddi was a success, and she moved to Mumbai and soon picked other roles, however her role of a 14-year-old schoolgirl, aided by her petite looks, created the girl-next-door image for her, which she was often associated with through the rest of her career. Though she tried to break out of the mould with glamorous roles as in Jawani Diwani, (1972) and a negative character of the heroine faking amnesia, in Anamika (1973), she was mostly recognised for roles of the sort which were credited with epitomising middle-class sensibility, which she played amiably in films of "middle-cinema" directors such as Gulzar, Basu Chatterjee and indeed Hrishikesh Mukherjee. These films include Uphaar (1971), Piya Ka Ghar (1972), Parichay (1972), Koshish (1972) and Bawarchi (1972), performed with marked sensitivity. By now, she was a popular star.
In Gulzar's Koshish (1973), Bhaduri and Sanjeev Kumar played a deaf couple who struggle through their difficulties as handicapped people. She described the film as "a learning experience" which motivated her to do social work in future.
She first acted with her future husband Amitabh Bachchan in the film Bansi Birju (1972), followed by B.R. Ishara's Ek Nazar also in the same year. Amitabh had undergone a string of flops, and when most lead heroines refused to work with him in the Salim-Javed scripted Zanjeer (1973), she stepped into the film. The film turned out to be a hit and gave rise to Amitabh Bachchan's angry-young-man image. This was closely followed by their pairing in films such as Abhimaan (1973), Chupke Chupke (1975) and Sholay (1975).
Her daughter Shweta was born while Jaya and Amitabh were working on Sholay. Following this, she retired from films and focused on raising her children. Her last film as a lead actress was Silsila (1981), opposite her husband. During the late 1980s, she wrote the story for the film Shahenshah (1988), which starred her husband in the lead.
After a gap in film appearances of 18 years, she returned to acting with Govind Nihalani's Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Maa (1998), a film about the Naxalite movement. In 2000 she starred in Fiza for which she received the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award for her work. She also starred in Karan Johar's family drama Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001) with her husband. She then starred in Karan Johar's next film, Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003) playing the role of Preity Zinta's mother, Jennifer, for which she again received a Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award. She appeared with her son Abhishek in the films Laaga Chunari Mein Daag (2007) and Drona (2008).
In 2011, she appeared in the Bangladeshi film Meherjaan starring with Victor Banerjee and Humayun Faridi. The film is based on a Bangladesh-Pakistan love story in the backdrop of the 1971 Bangladesh atrocities. It is the story of Meherjaan (played by Jaya Bachchan), a Bangladeshi woman who falls in love with a Pakistani army officer, who refuses to join the war and saves her from being raped by other Pakistani troops, who do not however spare her cousin Neela and kill her father.
Bachchan was first elected in 2004 as a Samajwadi Party member of parliament, representing Rajya Sabha, and in February 2010 she stated her intent to complete her term. She was re-elected in 2012.
Bachchan's speech during the musical launch of the film Drona in the second half of 2008 was criticized by some sections of politicians in Maharashtra. In response to the film's director, Goldie Behl, making his introductory speech in English, she said "Hum UP ke log hain, isliye Hindi mein baat karenge, Maharashtra ke log maaf kijiye". (We are from UP, so we will speak in Hindi. People of Maharashtra, please excuse us.) Subsequently, she encouraged actress Priyanka Chopra to speak in Hindi.Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) president Raj Thackeray commented that Jaya had no business alluding to all the people of Maharashtra in that statement. He threatened to ban all Bachchan films unless Jaya apologized in a public forum for hurting Maharashtrians. MNS workers began to attack theaters screening The Last Lear starring her husband, Amitabh Bachchan. Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut also criticized her statement saying: "After making all your success and fortune in Mumbai, if you feel like saying that we are from UP, its very unfortunate." Amitabh Bachchan tendered an apology for her statements on her behalf.
On 3 June 1973, she married actor Amitabh Bachchan. The couple has two children: Shweta Bachchan-Nanda and Abhishek Bachchan, who is also an actor. Shweta is married to industrialist Nikhil Nanda of the Kapoor family in Delhi, and has two children, Navya Naveli and Agastya Nanda, while Abhishek Bachchan is married to Aishwarya Rai, and has a daughter, Aaradhya Bachchan.
Civilian Award1992 – Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian award from the Government of India.
Winner1974 – Filmfare Special Award for Uphaar
1974 – Filmfare Best Actress Award for Abhimaan
1975 – Filmfare Best Actress Award for Kora Kagaz
1980 – Filmfare Best Actress Award for Nauker
1998 – Filmfare Special Award for Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Maa
2001 – Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award for Fiza
2002 – Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award for Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham
2004 – Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award for Kal Ho Na Ho
2007 – Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award
Nominated1972 – Filmfare Best Actress Award for Guddi
1972 – Filmfare Best Actress Award for Uphaar
1974 – Filmfare Best Actress Award for Koshish
1976 – Filmfare Best Actress Award for Mili
1982 – Filmfare Best Actress Award for Silsila
International Indian Film Academy Awards Winner2001 – IIFA Best Supporting Actress Award for Fiza
2002 – IIFA Best Supporting Actress Award for Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham
2004 – IIFA Best Supporting Actress Award for Kal Ho Na Ho
Other film awards
Winner1972 – Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards: Special Award (Hindi film) for Guddi
1999 – Anandalok Awards: Special Editor Award
2001 – Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards: Best Actress in Supporting Role for Fiza
2001 – Zee Cine Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Female for Fiza
2002 – Best Actress in a supporting role for Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham at the Sansui Viewers Choice Awards
Honours and recognitionsIn 2017 She won best parliamentarian award.
In 1998, she was honoured with the Omega Award for Excellence: Lifetime Achievement.
2000, Mumbai Academy of the Moving Image, an award for her "abiding contribution to Cinema".
2004, Lifetime Achievement Award at the Sansui Awards.
2010, Lifetime Achievement Award at the "Tongues on Fire" film festival in London.
2012, Lifetime Achievement Award at Jaipur International Film Festival (JIFF).
2013, Master Deenanath Mangeshkar (Vishesh Puraskar) Award for her dedicated services to Indian theatre and cinema.
She is a recipient of the Yash Bharti Award, UP state's highest award from the Government of Uttar Pradesh.