Salim Khan recalls how actresses refused to work in Amitabh Bachchan’s Zanjeer: ‘He was ready to quit films’


Celebrated screenwriter Salim Khan discussed the hesitation to cast Amitabh Bachchan for the lead role in Zanjeer. He revealed the main contenders for the role, which included Dharmendra and Dev Anand, who had to refuse the film for their own personal reasons. Dilip Kumar thought that the lead role was too uni-dimensional with no scope for performance and Dev Anand found that the hero had no songs.

It eventually came to Amitabh Bachchan and revived his career, as he had endured around 11 flops prior to Zanjeer and was planning to quit films altogether. Zanjeer was the first from the screen-writing duo of Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar, who had changed the scope of Indian cinema with the scripts for the 70s before they split in the 80s.

Talking to Arbaaz Khan about Zanjeer, Salim Khan said, “It was a matter of destiny, because the script was ready with the dialogues. Whoever liked it—we had Dharmendra in mind, and he didn’t do it, something that I always feel a bit sad about. Dev rejected it for his own personal reasons. I asked Dilip Kumar later which film he regretted not doing, and he said it was  Zanjeer.”

Salim-Javed decided to zero in on Amitabh Bachchan. They had been impressed with Amitabh’s earlier films, including Bombay To Goa, Parwana and Raaste Ke Patthar.

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