The story behind the Salim-Javed Split

The story behind the Salim-Javed Split

How ego and misunderstandings destroyed a celebrated friendship
The story behind the Salim-Javed Split
Javed Akhtar

Sholay, Don and Deewar are some of the classics that are associated with this script-writer duo. However, their personal lives, much like their films, were extremely dramatic. Accusations and rumour-mongering brought to an end one of B'wood's most creative partnerships; there simply won't be another Salim-Javed again.

Two Geniuses Unite

Some of the most famous hits, cult films and solid characters created in Indian cinema were the works of the hit script writing pair Javed Akhtar and Salim Khan. Salim Khan, a boy from Indore, came to Mumbai to make it as an actor while Javed Akhtar wanted to be a director. Fortunately, Sarhadi Lutera, a film in which Salim was the hero and Javed was the dialogue writer, brought them together. They realised their mutual passion for the written word and hit it off instantly. The Salim-Javed partnership resulted in many hits like Sholay, Deewar, Trishul and Seeta Aur Geeta. In fact, it was Salim and Javed who brought the angry young man phenomenon to reel life.

Rumours and Betrayal

Salim and Javed approached Amitabh Bachchan for Mr India but for some reason he declined the offer. A hurt Javed wasn't happy about this and apparently vowed never to work with the star anymore – a sentiment Salim didn't approve of. However, a few days later, Javed went to Amitabh's house to celebrate holi and apparently told Amitabh that Salim didn't want to work with him. Salim was understandably miffed about being falsely accused and an argument broke out between the two. This was the beginning of the end.

The problem that really sealed the break-up deal was when Salim shot down Javed's idea of using their brand name to write lyrics. Salim, who considered writing scripts his forte, told his partner that if he chose to write lyrics, he should do so outside of their partnership. Since Salim did not support him in his creative endeavours, Javed decided to call it quits. "We were near Javed's house when he told me that he wants to split. So I got up, shook his hands and started walking. He began to follow me but I stopped him and turned him towards his house and told him that I can look after myself. No one at home knew anything about the split," is how Salim Khan had narrated the incident back in the 80s.