Did you know? Danny Denzongpa was supposed to play Gabbar Singh in Sholay
Danny Denzongpa is definitely one of the most stylish baddies we have seen in Hindi films. Dharmatma, Agneepath, Hum, Khuda Gawah, Devta, Barsaat, China Gate and more recently Enthiran he has excelled with his performance in every role. A warped scientist in Shankar’s Enthiran (2010), an intelligence officer in Neeraj Pandey’s Baby (2015) and more recently, Bioscopewala (2018), based on Rabindranath Tagore’s story Kabuliwala, are his other milestones. As a lonely migrant from Kabul, who bonds with a little girl in Kolkata city, his was a moving take in Bioscopewala.
The veteran actor is celebrating his birthday today and he has also completed 50 years in the industry. In an interview with Outlook, talking about his long journey in the industry, Danny called it wonderful.
Did you know? Danny was supposed to play Gabbar Singh’s role in Sholay. Revealing the reason why he couldn’t take up the iconic role, the actor told Outlook, “I had signed Feroz Bhai’s (Khan) ‘Dharmatma’ and was about to leave for Afghanistan and even Rameshji (Ramesh Sippy) wanted those very dates. But Feroz Bhai had signed me first, paid me first and asked for the dates first. So, in a way, I was committed to him and couldn’t back out, though I very much wanted to play Gabbar.” The character Gabbar was eventually played by the legendary actor Amjad Khan. Would we have perceived the character differently had Danny played that character?
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Opening up about whether he is satisfied with his journey so far, the actor said, “Absolutely! However, sometimes I feel I didn’t get the kind of roles I wanted to play. I did ‘Frozen’ (2007), which explores the journey of a father and his son and daughter, seen through the daughter’s eyes, it was a nice subject and a different take on cinema. It won two National Awards, bagged honours and won acclaim at several international film festivals, but it didn’t do well commercially. I was still waiting for interesting parts. ‘Bioscopewala’ was one of those films that had a simple, yet different story and was made very well. Director Deb Medhekar and his crew worked hard.”
Apparently, Danny, who spends most of his time in Sikkim, predominantly shoots between November and January. “Bombay summers are terrible. It is so uncomfortable that you can’t keep your hair straight. You start sweating,” he reasoned.