When Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Film Got Shelved - Blast from the Past
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When Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Film Got Shelved - Blast from the Past

He was a legend and a prolific filmmaker to boost but even Hrishikesh Mukherjee had to face a time when his film could not get made

Hrishikesh Mukherjee was not only one of  the most respected directors of his time, he was also manically prolific, sometimes shooting two films at the same time, as was the case when he shot two Dharmendra starrers, Chupke Chupke and Chaitali, on two floors of the same studio.

In his hugely productive career, only one film of his got shelved, and considering his prolific output, one missed  opportunity was saying a lot. The  film was titled Sapne Apne Apne  and Hrishida cast one of his favourite heroes Rajesh Khanna with two leading ladies he  wanted to work with  for  the  first time. The two ladies  being arch-rivals Shabana Azmi and Smita Patil.

Trouble started when Smita Patil suddenly backed out. No one  knows why she let go the opportunity to work with Hrishida. Could it be that she  didn’t want to be overshadowed by Shabana again after Arth and Mandi?

Hrishida was taken aback when Smita backtracked. He  quickly replaced her with his favourite leading lady Sharmila Tagore with whom he had done several unforgettable hits in the past. But then then Sapne Apne Apne  remained a dream. It never took off.

I remember speaking to  Hrishida about it and he  said,  “Beta, some  dreams are  better left unfulfilled. That’s why they are called dreams.I have made  almost every film I ever wanted to. I have made romantic films, comedies, everything except action films.”

Incidentally Rajesh Khanna liked to think he was  Hrishida’s favourite actor after doing the director’s career’s best film Anand. But Hrishida  always maintained  his  favourite actor was Dharmendra and  his favourite film from his own repertoire was Satyakam.

“It is like that child who  is   a little slow in class. He is  always   the teacher’s favourite,” Hrishida explained.

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