BIG B – THE UNRELEASED

Most of us know about the films that our “perfectly rational” Censor Board has not allowed being released. Famous among these are Aandhi, Kissa Kursi Ka, Sikkim, Bandit Queen, Fire, Kamasutra, Paanch, and Black Friday etc. This topic does not interest me because most of us have watched these movies despite the ban (Hmmm…human nature). These bans are ineffective and futile in the internet age, with respect to the audience and though they surely affect the business aspect of cinema but the film enthusiasts (read promoters of piracy) know how to download torrents.

Anyways, this is not our topic because anyone can watch these banned films anytime they want.

Now coming to the point, do you know that much before Guzaarish, in 1984, a film, titled Khabardaar, based on mercy killing, was being made. I was more surprised on knowing that Amitabh Bachchan was playing the doctor and Kamal Haasan the patient. Yes! It’s true. The film also starred Sridevi and Jayaprada. Imagine what it could have been. And the fact is we can only imagine what it could have been because it was left incomplete. There are a great number of such incomplete projects in our industry but for the time being I am listing here only Amitabh Bachchan Starrers.

Big B’s most famous incomplete project is Devaa (you can argue). Subhash Ghai signed Big B for the first time (it became the last too) in this dacoit based film in 1987. The mahurat was shot with a high profile guest list but due to ego clashes it was shelved and Ghai never started it with another star.

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You would be amazed to know if you don’t know it already that Amitabh Bachchan was cast to play Devdas (yes! You are right. The same drunken Devdas) in Prakash Mehra’s 1976 film of the same name with Sharmila Tagore as Paro and Hema Malini as Chandramukhi (what a delight it would have been). But Mehra later decided to work on a modernized version of Devdas and made Muqaddar Ka Sikander instead (not a bad decision).

Imagine how much we would have loved to watch Madhuri Dixit playing a college girl paired with Amitabh Bachchan as a secret agent in a thriller directed by Tinnu Anand (Kalia, Shehenshah, main Azad Hoon, Major Saab). The film was titled impressively as Shinakht but abandoned because makers thought the story to be similar to Ganga Jamuna Saraswati, another Bachchan starrer. Madhuri and Amitabh never worked together except Madhuri’s cameo in Bade Miyan Chhote Miyan. In 1996, director-producer Indra Kumar announced Rishta as the comeback project for Amitabh, a love triangle with Amir Khan and Madhuri Dixit. The film was shelved after grand mahurat due to misunderstandings among the stars.

Next in the list is Khuda Gawah, started more than a decade before the Khuda Gawah that we have watched. It again starred Amitabh Bachchan in a double role, one of them being a cowboy. You read it right, Amitabh Bachchan as a cowboy. This film was shelved after a few days shooting and 15 years later producers reused the title with Bachchan.

Master entertainer Manmohan Desai started Sarfarosh with Amitabh Bachchan in 1979. This hottest combo in 1970’s also had Rishi Kapoor, Parveen Babi, Kader Khan and Shakti Kapoor on board.

Just like Subhash Ghai, Amitabh also proved to be unlucky for another big budget producer-director J. P. Dutta. Their first venture together titled Bandhua started in 1989 was based on bonded laborers. The film also starring Wahida Rehman never took off.

Another Amitabh Bachchan starrer Shiva (1978) was a lost and found story of two brothers, Bachchan playing the angry elder brother with Romesh Sharma as the younger one.

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Manoj Kumar in 1976 announced a film titled Naya Bharat. Just by knowing the cast, you can imagine why it was never started. The film had Amitabh Bachchan, Rajesh Khanna, Shatrughan Sinha, Shashi Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor, Hema Malini Zeenat Amaan and Manoj Kumar himself. No wonder it stuck due to star’s date problems.  Manmohan Desai’s Gazab was also abandoned because of its big star cast and too high budget.

In 1977, after Sholay and Chupke Chupke the Jai-Veeru Jodi was repeated again in Mohan Kumar’s Aasman, also starring Rekha and Waheeda Rehman but the director was not satisfied with the concept and the film was shelved after the mahurat shot.

Before making Shakti, Yash Chopra had announced Aag Ka Dariya as the comeback film for Dileep Kumar (after 5 years gap) with Big B. But later Salim-Javed came with a better script and Yash Chopra decided to make Shakti as Dileep Kumar’s comeback.

Dev Anand also tried to cast Amitabh in his directorial venture Purana Paapi (1991), also starring Dev Anand, Hema Malini, and Meenakshi Sheshadri. This film never started because of Big B’s health problems. The next unlucky big brand directors in line are Rakesh Roshan with his abandoned project Capton (1990) with Jackie Shroff and Amir Khan, and Mahesh Bhatt with his Kartoos (1987)(he later made it with Sanjay Dutt in Amitabh’s role).

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Ranveer (1998), planned as the grand debut of Abhishek Bachchan proved to be unlucky for him and he had to wait two more years after it was shelved. The film was being directed by Rajkumar Santoshi and also starred Big B, Jaya Bachchan, and Urmila.

Amitabh Bachchan’s suspense thriller Chal Pe Chal (1991) was 40% complete before it was abandoned due to the untimely death of Divya Bharati. This Partho Ghosh film also had Jackie Shroff and Chunky Panday with Big B.

There are several other Big B starrers that were only announced but never took off. To name a few important ones Ravi Chopra’s Maseeha (1999), Ramgopal Verma’s Ek (2000), Priyadarshan’s Dariyaa (1999), Tinnu Anand’s Laadla (1991), Prakash Mehra’s Kaayar (1987) and Chanakya-Chandragupta (1977), Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Gulli Danda (1980), Kader Khan’s Jaahil (1982).

All these films were never released because they were incomplete but there is one Bachchan starrer that took 35 years to get completed and yet remains unreleased. Yaar Meri Zindagi started in 1971 also starred Shatrughan Sinha was completed in 2006 but is still gathering dust. This is the only completed Big B film that remains unreleased (as per my knowledge. You can add if you know some other names.)

But the king of completed unreleased films is Naseeruddin Shah with 30 such films. I would talk about these in some other post.

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