THROWBACK: Did you know Rajesh Khanna wasn’t the first choice for Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Anand?
Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s 1971 release Anand is considered to be one of Rajesh Khanna’s best performances of all times.
Indian cinema has witnessed several legendary stars who have ruled the silver screen over the years. Amid these, Rajesh Khanna is considered to be one of the biggest stars of all times. After all, Kaka was the first superstar of Bollywood with 15 consecutive solo hits to his name and this record hasn’t been broken by anyone so far. Clearly, Rajesh has given several blockbusters in his career and we still cherish her stupendous performances on the silver screen which include 1971 release Anand.
The superstar won millions of hearts with his performance of Anand in the movie which also featured Amitabh Bachchan in a key role and we still cherish its iconic dialogues. Anand was considered as one of Rajesh’s career best performance. But did you know Rajesh Khanna was not the first choice for the movie? Yes! you read it right. According to media reports, director Hrishikesh Mukherjee had written the movie keeping legendary actor Raj Kapoor in mind and was keen to rope him for the lead role. However, the industry’s showman couldn’t do the movie owing to his professional commitments. Later, Mukherjee had even approached Kishore Kumar for Anand.
While the Kumar was almost finalised for Anand, he ended up losing the movie owing to a misunderstanding. On the other hand, Rajesh Khanna got to know about Anand from the movie’s co-writer Gulzar and the superstar was quite fascinated with the titular role. He even approached Hrishikesh Mukherjee for the same which in turn had left the filmmaker surprised as Rajesh was a superstar by that time and Anand was a low budget movie.
This isn’t all. Reportedly, Hrishikesh had certain conditions for Rajesh Khanna before roping him for Anand, and if he didn't abide by those, Mukherjee would have called off the deal. The conditions included that the Haathi Mere Saathi actor will be paid a total amount of Rs 1 lakh for Anand. Besides, while Kaka was known for being a latecomer at the shoots, Mukherjee asked him to keep a track of the shooting schedule and be punctual on the sets. The conditions didn’t end here. Hrishikesh’s last condition was about the Daag: A Poem of Love star giving all his dates for Anand.
The filmmaker opined that Rajesh Khanna might walk out of the movie post these conditions. However, much to his surprise, Khanna agreed to all the conditions and was thus roped in for Anand. And rest, as they say, was history. Anand went on to become a blockbuster hit and even won the National Award in the Best Feature Film in Hindi category in 1971.
Interestingly, Anand also marked Rajesh’s first collaboration with Amitabh Bachchan who still struggling to make a mark in the industry. While Big B’s performance in Anand was also appreciated, he went on to emerge as a superstar with his 1973 release Zanjeer. To note, Amitabh and Rajesh had collaborated for the last time in 1973 release Namak Haram.
Later, there were reports that Rajesh Khanna wasn’t really fond of Amitabh Bachchan given their tug of war for stardom in Bollywood. In fact, the media reports also suggested that the Kati Patang actor had also used harsh words towards Amitabh while shooting for Anand; however, the latter didn’t react. But Rajesh did get a glimpse of Big B’s impeccable talent and soon Amitabh had replaced the Ittefaq star as the new superstar with his image of an angry young man.
Rajesh Khanna, who breathed his last in July 2012, worked in over 180 movies in his career over four decades. He was last seen in Ashok Tyagi’s Riyasat which was released two years after Khanna’s demise. On the other hand, Amitabh Bachchan continues to rule the industry with his charm and swag. He was last seen in Sujoy Ghosh’s 2019 directorial Badla along with Taapsee Pannu and his performance left everyone enthralled.
As of now, Bachchan has several interesting movies in the pipeline which include Ayushmann Khurrana starrer Gulabo Sitabo which has been helmed by Shoojit Sircar and will be releasing on OTT platforms next month. Besides, the megastar will also be seen in Nagraj Manjule’s Jhund, Rumi Jaffery’s Chehre and Ayan Mukerji’s much talked about fantasy drama Brahmastra which also features Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Mouni Roy in lead roles.
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