Actor Dharmendra was responding to lyricist and writer Javed Akhtar’s claim that he was the first choice for the film Zanjeer. He mentioned that turning down the film in the first place was an “emotional” hurdle.
akhtar had said that Dharmendra, now 86, turned down the role alongside 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 film’s director) had a script but no lead actor. He went from actor to actor to offer the role. Everyone refused to do the film,” Akhtar told India Today. Akhtar mentioned that many actors turned down the role as it didn’t have “a romantic angle or comedy” and that the lead actor should be a serious person.
Dharmendra responded with a tweet, writing: “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 jave Reality often goes unheard in this world full of braggarts. I know how to make people laugh… I wish I could learn the art of speaking my mind).”
He continued in another tweet while fans were quite confused: “Rejecting Zanjeer was an emotional hurdle I mentioned in aap ki Adaalat. So please don’t get me wrong. I always love Javed and Amit.” In the said interview, Dharmendra revealed that he turned down the film as his cousin had an alleged feud with director Prakash Mehra, forcing him to say no.
Zanjeer is a 1973 action thriller film starring Amitab Bachchan, written by the famous duo Salim-Javed. The film established Amitabh Bachchan’s image as an “angry young man” channeling audience anger and frustration at a broken system. The film also starred Jaya Bachchan. Salim Khan later mentioned that he deserved credit for writing the film since Javed Akhtar was not his partner at the time. In an old interview, Salim Khan told ETC: “The image of the Angry Young Man was designed by me for the film Zanjeer. Javed wasn’t even my partner when I wrote the film. Only after I sold it did Javed become my partner.”