Blast from the past: Salim-Javed’s unfortunate split saw the end of a magical era in films
Finally it was time to let bygones be bygones
After so many decades, the two have surely buried the hatchet and this was evident when they were seen seated next to each other at the opening ceremony of the 17th Jio MAMI Mumbai International Film Festival in 2015. Javed Akhtar was all praises for Salim Khan as he said, “It’s okay even if Salim doesn’t work anymore. The kind of work he has done, it is a treasure trove for many generations to come. If someone comes even close to what he has achieved then Salim will start working again." He also spoke about how they were similar and still different from each other and that contributed to their individual success. He added, “Two kinds of people shouldn’t work together. One who are exactly similar, because then you don’t need two people. And another, who are totally different, with no common ground. Our partnership worked because we had lots of similarities, but differences too."
Salim Khan's parting words on Javed Akhtar
In an interview in October 1981, Salim said, "If we have split today, it is only because we, without the interference of a third party, have decided to call it a day. I too don't know the real reason for this breakup. One day, Javed came to me and told me he wanted to operate separately. Since I respect his decisions, I did not even ask him why he wanted us to split! It's sad we had to break up our team, but I'm very happy that we are still friends!" But surprisingly, in February 1982, Salim had a different take on his equation with Javed Akhtar as he said, "I don't ever want to make up with Javed even if Javed were to apologise or suggest a patch-up." Even megastar Amitabh Bachchan spoke about the unfortunate split as he said, "It's a shame that they parted ways, they were truly unbeatable. Quite often, the media would conjecture, what will happen to Amitabh Bachchan without Salim-Javed? Really, once they separated I couldn't ever get that kind of intensity again, that power was missing."
Post their split, Salim Khan left Mumbai as his wife Helen's mother was seriously unwell. She passed away and he got busy with the last rites and was out of reach for some days. On the other side, Javed who was very much available for film offers started out as a lyricist and had big projects with directors like Ramesh Sippy, Yash Chopra, Rahul Rawail and Subhash Ghai. In an interview in 1981, Javed had said, "I really don't know how I will fare on my own. I have signed four films which, considering my past record, is a lot for me!" When Salim returned it wasn't an easy ride for him as he had to prove his mettle alone. He had said, "When I returned, it was the telephone that reminded me how easily people forget. There was a time when I'd make my drink, and then keep the phone off the hook. And here I was, checking the phone every now and then to see if it was working." He made a smashing comeback with the movie 'Naam' in 1986. Soon, all famous directors like Mahesh Bhatt, Ramesh Sippy, Manmohan Desai were working with him.
Javed was the first one to initiate a split
Javed was the first one to initiate a splitIn spite of so much happening, Javed had proposed the idea of writing lyrics for movies to Salim Khan. But, he didn't approve of it. He had said in an interview, "I don’t consider it right to take credit for something I didn’t do. Javed would write lyrics, have meetings with music directors and I would sit there contributing nothing. This was not acceptable to me." He stated that it was Javed who proposed for a split. It happened when Salim was at Javed's house. After a day's work, when Salim was leaving from his house, Javed said, "I was thinking that maybe we should work separately." To which Salim replied, "I am sure you have said this after considerable thought and nothing I say will change your mind." When Javed accompanied him to his car, Salim shot back saying, "I am old enough to take care of myself." This was officially the end of their magical pairing. This unfortunate incident occurred on the evening of June 21, 1981. They once again became Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar. Salim-Javed was gone.
Their golden run together lasted for a decade, but things took a nasty turn when they had written the script for 'Mr India' and approached superstar Amitabh Bachchan for it. He declined the offer as he wasn't really convinced with the concept of an invisible man. This hurt Javed Akhtar and he vowed that he would never work with Mr Bachchan again. But, Salim Khan didn't echo a similar sentiment. Some days later, Javed went to celebrate Holi at the Bachchan household and reportedly told Big B that Salim did not want to work with him. Salim was hurt by these false allegations and an argument broke out between the inseparable duo resulting into a split.
Salim-Javed's magical pen did wonders
Salim Khan was 10 years older to Javed, but their age difference did not deter their spirit for writing fabulous scripts together. Late superstar Rajesh Khanna gave the duo their first chance at becoming screenplay writers with the movie 'Haathi Mere Saathi' in 1971. Salim-Javed's successful journey as sought-after scriptwriters began and they collaborated on movies like 'Deewar', 'Dostana', 'Sholay', 'Seeta Aur Geeta' and many more. They used the technique of a montage sequence to represent a child growing into an adult.
Birth of two geniuses, Salim-Javed
Salim Khan was originally from Indore and his dream of becoming an actor brought him to Mumbai. On the other hand, Javed Akhtar harboured the dream of becoming a director. Salim was an assistant to writer-director Abrar Alvi while Javed was an assistant to Kaifi Azmi. Abrar and Kaifi were neighbours and that's how Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar became acquainted with each other. The two were meant to meet and they paired up as actor-director for the film 'Sarhadi Lutera' in the year 1966. Post the movie, the two realized their mutual passion for the pen and united as scriptwriters in 1971. Thus, Salim-Javed were born.