salim khan, amitabh bachchan, zanjeer,

Megastar Amitabh Bachchan has been ruling the industry for over 5 decades, earning the prestigious title of Shahenshah of Bollywood. However, do you know his 11 films flopped consecutively when he entered the industry? In an exclusive chat with Arbaaz Khan on his talk show The Invincibles on Bollywood Bubble, Salim Khan reveals why he considered Amitabh Bachchan for Zanjeer which is now considered a cult film.

Salim Khan on Dharmendra, Dilip Kumar rejecting Zanjeer

Talking about how Amitabh was not the first choice for the film and still landed the role, Salim Saab said, “Usme unki destiny ka bahut bada haath hai. Uss time yeh picture kisi aur actor ne accept kar li hoti toh shayad wo nahi hote. Iski script banke complete hogayi thi, dialogue ke saath. Toh wo jin logo ko sunai – jaise dharmendra sahib mind me the, unko sunai toh unhone kisi wajah se nahi ki. Unko afsoos bhi hai is baat ka. Unki apni kuch problem the uski wajah se nahi ki unhone. (His destiny played a pivotal role during that time. I say this because I had approached several actors for this film who turned it down, if they did it, he would not get this chance. Our script was ready with dialogues. We narrated the story to Dharmendra, unfortunately he said no). Even Dev Anand rejected it.”

He further added, “I had narrated it to Dilip Kumar as well. I had even interviewed him later and asked if he regrets rejecting any film in his career. He got to know what I am hinting at and said, ‘I do regret 2 films. One is Guru Dutt’s Pyaasa and other one in Zanjeer’. I had even narrated it to Raaj Kumar; he said you have bought a story related to my life. But due to some or the other reasons – like date issues, many actors rejected Zanjeer. But we were so confident about our script that we didn’t think of casting a star. We just wanted a good actor who could pull off the role. If a star would have been there, it would have been beneficial for the producers. It would have been easier to make the film. But I had confidence on Amitabh Bachchan.”

Salim Khan on finally casting Amitabh Bachchan for Zanjeer

He further shared how he zeroed down on casting Amitabh while other big actors refused to do the film. “Jab ye sab hua toh kisi ko toh lena hi tha. Us zamane me ye naye aaye the, actor ache the, personality aur aawaz bhi thi. Baaki ye tha ki inke picturein jo flop hui, achi nahi thi isliye hui toh actor ko blame lena padta hai kyuki 11 filmein flop hui suna hai. (At that time, Amitabh Bachchan was this new comer with good acting skills, personality and voice. But unfortunately his 11 films had flopped. It tanked because the film was not good but he was blamed as he had acted in it). After multiple flops, he had already decided to quit the industry and go. But Zanjeer was released at the right time and it did wonders.

“Amitji us time star nahi the, on the contrary pictures flop ho rahi thi toh koi lene ready nahi tha. Toh uss time producer ye sochke actor ko lete ki film chalegi, inke saath ye fear tha us time kyuki picturein nahi chal rahi thi. Lekin humme ye tha ki script chalegi, he was a good actor and had good personality. So we decided to cast him. (Mr Bachchan was not a star at that time, in fact, his films were tanking. Producers were apprehensive to star him. But we were confident in our script an that the film would work)”, concluded the screenwriter.

Salim Ji also got candid about how Salim-Javed and Amitabh became the hit Jodi of Bollywood and they went on to work in 9 films together.  

Watch the full interview here:

Also Read: EXCLUSIVE: Salim Khan reveals why he chose to send sons Arbaaz Khan and Salman Khan to boarding school during his relationship with Helen

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