Amitabh Bachchan acting career was allegedly dramatically revolutionised by Zanjeer, according to acclaimed and experienced scriptwriter Salim Khan. Did you know that, rather than him, he had enquired about playing the lead parts with Dev Anand and Dilip Kumar? Dev Anand, however, passed on the project because the lead contained no music, and Dilip declined because he believed he wouldn’t have enough opportunity to showcase his talent.
But, it gained cult significance in Bollywood when Zanjeer was cast alongside Amitabh Bachchan. Scroll down to hear directly from Salim, the screenwriter of the film, about the events.
Salim Khan and his son Arbaaz talked about how the script ended up in Amitabh Bachchan’s hands. He asserted that it was fate because the dialogue was prewritten in the script. Dharmendra was supposed to perform it, but he declined, which always makes me a little sad. Dev turned it down due to his own motivations. Dilip Kumar said “Zanjeer” when I afterwards asked him which movie he later regretted not having filmed.
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Salim Khan claimed even though Amitabh Bachchan was a novice actor, he believed in him. Salim Khan went on to explain how Amitabh Bachchan then considered permanently leaving Bollywood because to his back-to-back 11 flops. He also recommended Jaya Bachchan to play alongside Big B because he knew that other actresses would have turned him down.
Salim described, in an oblique way, how Jaya Bachan saved Amitabh’s waning career:
He was brand-new and undoubtedly a skilled actor with a charming voice and demeanour. Actors are sometimes blamed for the failure of the remaining films because they were subpar films. Eleven films were duds. He had already decided to leave the company. Also, heroines at the time had little desire in taking on fewer roles. In the end, I suggested using Jaya Bachchan for the film, and she would handle everything for him. As I told her the scenario, she said, “There’s nothing for me to do.” Despite the fact that there isn’t much to talk about, I insisted that Amitabh Bachchan will gain a lot from it for the sake of his career.