When it comes to the mention of one of the most influential actors of Bollywood, the name of late Sanjeev Kumar is what comes to our mind for sure. As a performer, Sanjeev Kumar is probably one of the best actors Indian Cinema has ever witnessed. The actor made a mark for himself with many iconic performances in landmark films like ‘Koshish’, ‘Sholay’, ‘Aandhi’ and who would forget him reprising nine different roles in film ‘Naya Din Nai Raat’. However, not many know that this talented performer did not taste success in one go. It was during his struggle period in Bollywood when he had to face some hard times while finding work.
This was the time when he had got an opportunity to work with eminent filmmaker, late K Asif, who had made the magnum opus ‘Mughal-E-Azam’ (1960). It was after the release of this film, when the director had started work on his next project ‘Love And God’ where Sanjeev got to play an extra’s role. But, owing to a long and troubled history of this film, there came a time when Sanjeev Kumar was offered the lead role by none other than K Asif himself. (Also Read: Friendship goals: When Late Sanjeev Kumar turned saviour for a broke Shatrughan Sinha)
Remembering his early days, Sanjeev Kumar had once recalled this in one of his old interviews. He said, “I still recall those days when I slept without food. Once I had no food for three days hence when I got an extra’s role in K Asif’s movie ‘Love And God’, I was excited. I had to walk in the crowd. During the shooting Asif Sahab saw some fire in me and recommended me to be in his touch. I felt thrilled.” [sic]
Further, he continued saying, “Few months later the shooting of ‘Love And God’ stopped as Guru Dutt, the film’s hero, committed suicide. The news had great impact on me as Guru Dutt was a great blow to the industry. I was still struggling then though I had now got some B-Grade action movie. Suddenly one day I received a call from Asif Sahab’s office and to my delight Asif Sahab offered me the hero’s role.” [sic]
But, unfortunately, destiny had some other plans, and not very good ones. Even after replacing late Guru Dutt and having reshot the sequences, tragedy struck again, this time in the form of the demise of filmmaker K Asif himself. The film was left incomplete, for the second time.
Though, Sanjeev Kumar forever remembered that he got a chance to be mentored by a legend like K Asif, and it was that period and movie, which made him capture the nuances of acting.