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.