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DOES TINSEL WORLD EITHER

MAKE OR MAR ACTORS?

       The people find unpredictable offers and rejections. The film industry is no exception. Many actors got lucky breaks and many stars paled into insignificance. It is a herculean task to forecast the success and failure of the people connected with the industry.

Amitabh Bacchan would not have dreamt of the mega-star title, had another matinee idol Dev Anand not spurned the offer of ‘Zanjeer’. Amitabh was going through a bad phase and was about to quit the film industry. The producers were blaming the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi for recommending a fragile-looking man strongly.  When Dev Anand insisted on four songs and also wanted to direct Zanjeer, the producer Prakash Mehra, was at all sea, as the hero was not supposed to sing and had to perform the angry inspector role. Mehra as a last resort offered the role to Amitabh. The hero decided to take one more plunge. Much to his surprise, Zanjeer attained roaring success. Before the making of ‘Deewar’, the script-writers Salim and Javed wanted Rajesh Khanna to play the lead role. Being a romantic hero, Rajesh rejected the offer. Deewar took Amitabh to the top spot and there was no looking back for him from then onwards.

Rajesh Khanna, too, could count his lucky-break. Shammi Kapoor was the preferred hero for ‘Aradhana’. The producer-director Shakti Samanta never imagined making a film without the rock and roll Shammi around, considering the earlier box office hits of ‘China Town’, ‘Kashmir Ki Kali’ and ‘An Evening in Paris’. It was Sharmila Tagore, who preferred Rajesh Khanna, as Aradhana was considered to be a heroine-oriented film. The film took him to dizzy heights.

When ‘Haathi Mere Saathi’ was made, the producer Chinnappa Devar approached actor Sanjay. He refused to act with elephants.  Shashi Kapoor also refused the offer for similar reason. When Rajesh Khanna accepted the offer, it elevated him to the reach of Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand.   Rajendra Kumar rued that after selling his lucky house ‘Dimple’ to Rajesh Khanna, his career had nose-dived. Rajesh hesitated to grab the ‘Mr India’ offer. The film became a hit commercially and the hero Anil Kapoor became a star overnight.  

Dilip Kumar was choosy before accepting a role. During the making of ‘Naya Daur’, producer B.R. Chopra, asked ‘Dadamoni’(Ashok Kumar) to persuade Dilip to act in his film. Vyjyantimala, too, should consider it as a lucky break for her, when there was a court case after the original heroine Madhubala’s conservative father did not allow his daughter to perform an outdoor shooting. Dilip, despite being linked up with Madhubala, romantically, argued in favour of the producer. He also refused to act in ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, which made Omar Sharif popular. The producers Nagi Reddy and P.S. Veerappa lamented that they had to invest a considerable time convince Dilip to perform in ‘Ram Aur Shyam’ (a remake of ‘MGR’s popular hit ‘Enga Veetu Pillai’ in Tamil(son of the soil) and Aadmi(remake of Sivaji Ganesan’s successful film in Tamil Alayamani(temple bell) respectively. Dilip, however, had to face a setback when he attempted to be too choosy. For example, films ‘Dastan’, ‘Gopi’ and ‘Bairaag’ did not endear him to the masses.   

Uttam Kumar, a popular hero in Bengali films did not accept Raj Kapoor’s offer in ‘Sangam’. The producer-director Sridhar rejected ‘Hema Malini’, as “unfit for camera”, in ‘Sivanda Mann’,(Land of Blood).  However, he had no compunction in casting her as the heroine for his ‘Gehri Chal’ later.  

Raj Kapoor had virtually picked Shankar Jaikishan from the street. The lyricist Shailendra was working as a ‘Fitter’ in a factory. Who can   forget his lyrics ‘Em Mera Prem Pathru Padkar’ in Sangam, ‘Chehre pe girie zulfe’ in Suraj, and ‘Sajan re jhoot math bholo’ in Teesri Kasam?  The playback singer Sharada was brought to the fore by Raj Kapoor, but her limited talent was exposed. Mukesh took umbrage when Raj Kapoor introduced the new playback singer ‘Shailendra Singh’ for ‘Bobby’, in place of Nitin Mukesh, as a launching pad for his son Rishi Kapoor.

Sharmila became furious when Asha Pareksh bagged the role meant for her in ‘Kati Patang’. Jeetendra said, he had recommended Mumtaz in ‘Khilona’ to the producer L.V. Prasad, against the original choice of Asha Parekh. Nirupa Roy would not have become a popular mother of Amitabh in ‘Deewar’, had Vyjyantimala accepted the offer. 

When the composer Naushad waited forTalaat Mohammad for the song ‘Duniya ko Rakuwale’ in ‘Baiju Bawara’, he found the singer smoking in the studio. Naushad, being a conservative person, was enraged over Talat’s act and replaced him with Mohammad Rafi. The song became a super hit and Rafi became the leading singer from then onwards.

The composer R.D. Burman, alias ‘Pancham’ said Shammi Kapoor was reluctant when he was assigned ‘Teesri Manzil’. Similarly, in Dev Anand’s ‘Jewel Thief’, Pancham had influenced his father and the composer S.D. Burman, to give the title and super-hit song ‘Eh dil na hota bechara’ to Kishore Kumar, instead of Mohammed Rafi. In Aradhana, Dada Burman had originally allotted the title song ‘Sapnonki Rani kab ayegitu’ and another song of the year ‘Rup Tera Mastana, pyar mera diwana’ to Rafi. But Pancham had ensured that the songs went to Kishore. After the release of Aradhana, Kishore was the most sought after singer.

Manna Dey who excelled in classical music, unfortunately, had few takers. He once regretted that he was meted out a step-motherly treatment in the industry. The composer Shankar managed to steal some songs for me,” the late Manna Da bemoaned. 

During the recording of Laila Majnu  the composer Madan Mohan felt that Rafi would ideally suit for songs like “Ghar Pe Ayahoon”, but the hero Rishi Kapoor would stick to his gun for Kishore. It took some time for him to convince Rishi. However, little did the hero realise that, he too, would opt for Rafi in ‘Amar Akbar Antony’ and ‘Sargam’. 

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