Ram Sethi recounts the journey of iconic movie Zanjeer
Ram Sethi, popularly known as Pyarelal, was an actor and producer who played second fiddle to Amitabh Bachchan in many movies. Sethi recently spoke to ETimes and shared his experience of working on the iconic film, Zanjeer, which marked 50 years since its release on May 11.
Salim-Javed had sold the script of Zanjeer to Dharmendra, but the veteran actor was unable to take on the project due to his busy schedule. So, the duo shared the script with director Prakash Mehra, who liked it and decided to make the movie. However, they were still waiting for Dharmendra’s dates, which were hard to come by.
The hunt for a star
Mehra then approached senior stars Dev Anand and Raajkumar, but both turned down the script for various reasons. Finally, someone suggested taking a newcomer, Amitabh Bachchan, who gave a good performance in the Mehmood film, Bombay To Goa.
Many people had asked Prakash Mehra why he was starting his own banner’s first film with a newcomer, but he was convinced that Bachchan was the hero he was looking for.
A non-starter first edit
Sethi revealed that the first edit of Zanjeer was a non-starter, and during trials, the team realized that the film was dragging. Mehra’s chief assistant director, Rakesh Kumar, asked for a free hand to edit the film and show him a new version. They eventually re-edited the movie, and everyone praised it when the new version was shown.
In the end, the exchange of scripts and the hunt for a star gave rise to an iconic film that marked a new era in Indian cinema. Zanjeer was the beginning of the Angry Young Man era and took Amitabh Bachchan to the pinnacle of superstardom.