Javed Akhtar had said that many actors had turned down the role in Zanjeer as it had no ‘romance angle or comedy’ and that the lead actor was meant to be a serious person.
Actor Dharmendra reacted to lyricist-writer Javed Akhtar’s claim that he was the first choice for the film, Zanjeer. He mentioned that it had been an ’emotional’ hurdle to refuse the film in the first place.
Akhtar had said that Dharmendra, now 86, turned down the role, among other actors. “Amitabh Bachchan was actually the last choice for Zanjeer. The script was written for Dharmendra ji, but for some reason, he refused to work on it. Prakash Mehra (the director of the film) had a script, but no leading man. He went from actor to actor to offer the role. Everybody refused to do the film,” Akhtar, had told India Today. Akhtar mentioned that many actors had turned down the role as it had no ‘romance angle or comedy’ and that the lead actor was meant to be a serious person.
Dharmendra reacted in a tweet to this and wrote, “Javed, kaise ho……. dikhave ki iss duniya mein haqeeqaten dabi rah jaati hain. Jeetey raho….. Dilon ko gudgudana khoob aata hai….. kaash sar chad ke bolne ka jaadu bhi sekh liya hota….. (How are you doing Javed. Reality often remains unheard in this world full of show offs. I know how to make people laugh… wish I could learn the art of speaking my mind).”
He continued in another tweet while fans were left rather confused, “Refusing Zanjeer, was an emotional hurdle which i have mentioned in aap ki Adaalat. So please don’t misunderstand me. i always love Javed and Amit.” In the said interview, Dharmendra had revealed that he refused the film as his cousin had an alleged feud with director Prakash Mehra and made him say no.
Zanjeer is a 1973 action-thriller film, starring Amitabh Bachchan, written by the famous duo Salim-Javed. The film established Amitabh Bachchan’s image as ‘angry young man’, channeling the audience’s anger and frustration with a broken system. The film also starred Jaya Bachchan. Later, Salim Khan mentioned that he deserved credit for writing the film as Javed Akhtar hadn’t been his partner at the time. In an old interview, Salim Khan told ETC, “The Angry Young Man image was conceptualized by me for the film Zanjeer. Javed wasn’t even my partner when I wrote the film. It was only after I had sold it, that Javed became my partner.”