Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya and Rekha together; Yash Chopra’s revelation behind ‘Silsila’ casting coup
The creator of romantic sagas, late filmmaker Yash Chopra, has had a beautiful directorial journey. It’s very rare to pick up one film out of the many films made by him, for all of them have left a long lasting stamp on our hearts. However, one film truly stands out, for the mere dare that he took with its concept, the 1981 released ‘Silsila’. The movie is one of those underrated gems that still hold a unique place in everyone’s hearts. However, the dare was not just the plot that depicted an extramarital affair, but also the casting. The film featured Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan and Rekha in the lead roles. Leaving aside the unconventional topic, the casting too raised many eyebrows as many rumours of the alleged affair between Big B and Rekha when he was already married to Jaya Bachchan, were already doing rounds.
Yash Chopra had planned to make this movie with a dream of them being the lead cast. However, knowing that it won’t be possible to bring them together, he went ahead and signed actresses Smita Patil and Parveen Babi to play the parts of Jaya Bachchan and Rekha respectively. So, what actually made the dream a reality? How did he manage to pull off this incredible casting coup? The reason behind it was revealed by Yash Chopra in the year 2012.
The late filmmaker had shot for an interview on the occasion of his 80th birthday in 2012 where he was in a conversation with superstar Shah Rukh Khan. After been asked by SRK to tell about the casting part of ‘Silsila’, Yash Chopra first disclosed the fact that both Smita Patil and Parveen Babi had signed the film.
The filmmaker said, “I had signed both Smita Patil and Parveen Babi and both of them were to start shooting. Smita was to do the role played by Jaya Bachchan and Parveen that of Rekha. I went to meet Amitji and spoke to him about the film.” [sic]
While he was having a discussion with Amitabh, the actor asked Yashji if he was happy on the content and casting. To which, Yash Chopra opened his heart to him and expressed the desire of casting him along with Jaya and Rekha.
“It was Amitji who asked me if I was happy… content with the casting (Smita, Parveen and Amitabh) and do I feel it is the ideal casting. I told him I wanted to cast him, Jayaji and Rekha. He took a long pause and told me that he was fine with the decision but asked me to convince the two actresses,” said Chopra. [sic]
After getting this green signal, the filmmaker met Jaya and Rekha (individually) and both of them agreed to do the film. “I had told both (Jaya and Rekha) of them that you are my friend, yaar mere set pe koi gadbadi na karna (hope there will be no disturbance on the sets),” added Chopra, who seemed to be referring to the real-life tension between them.
Both the actresses assured that they will give their best without obstructing anything which was followed by a smooth shoot and making of a classic film ‘Silsila’.
Well, only a legend like Yash Chopra could envision and bring to life such a miracle, which was almost impossible. He stayed honest to his film and in the end, we were left with a gem like ‘Silsila’ which will stay in the hearts of his fans forever.