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Why Amitabh needs to thank Dharmendra

By SUBHASH K JHA
April 21, 2021 14:21 IST
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IMAGE: Amitabh Bachchan and Pran in Prakash Mehra's Zanjeer.
The 1973 film's success set Amitabh firmly on the road to superstardom.
Without Zanjeer, the actor, who had a string of flops before playing an angry young man for the first time, there would be no Amitabh Bachchan legend.
 

The legendary Dharmendra intrigued everyone interested in Bollywood by declaring that he was offered Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Anand first.

Dharmendra whipped up quite an uproar on social media with that revelation.

Now, during a conversation with Subhash K Jha, Dharmedra lets out that Anand is not the only important film that he had to let go.

Says Dharamji, "You will be surprised to know that Prakash Mehra's Zanjeer (which catapulted Amitabh Bachchan to fame) was my project. I was all set to do the film when I had to opt out for personal reasons."

An aunt of Dharamji, who had a run-in with Prakash Mehra, told the hunky star he could work with Mehra over her dead body.

"I've always allowed my heart to rule my head. Why only one Zanjeer? I'd let go of a hundred Zanjeers for emotional reasons," says Dharamji.

IMAGE: Dharmendra in Satyakam.

About Anand, he remembers, "Hrishida was a very close friend. We did a number of great films together -- Anupama, Satayakam, Guddi, Chupke Chupke...

"Satyakam was his favourite film and mine.

"On a flight to Bengalore, he narrated the story of Anand to me. I fell in love with it and agreed to do it.

"The next thing I heard was another actor was doing it.

"I was so upset that I called Hrishida the entire night after downing a few pegs, insisting Anand was mine.

"Of course, Hrishida did the film with the actor he thought was best for the role. No hard feelings.

"I miss Hrishida. He was a great fil-mmaker and great fun to be with."

Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/Rediff.com

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SUBHASH K JHA