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How Ramesh Sippy achieved casting coup with SHAKTI
January 23, 2014 12:09:08 PM IST By Mansoor Khan, Glamsham Editorial
Ramesh Sippy, the maker of India's greatest blockbuster SHOLAY, is one of those rare filmmakers who have the ability to make a commercial film within the framework of a parallel cinema. The best example is SHAKTI, the movie that is considered as the greatest casting coup of the century as Ramesh Sippy brought the two superstars of Indian cinema viz. Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan on the silver screen yet made an artistically superlative film. Glamsham.Com wishes birthday greeting to the genius filmmaker who turns 67 on January 23 and takes a look how Sippy was able to cajole the superstars of two generation to work together.
After the super success of SHOLAY and the disastrous debacle of SHAAN, Ramesh Sippy's wisdom was at stake as people wondered was SHOLAY a fluke. Ramesh Sippy was in dilemma and was looking to prove his mettle. In an interview Sippy conceded, ''After the failure of SHAAN I was looking for a script that could be challenging and which could give me a potential to prove my credentials as a director. Hence I rejected many scripts. One day I happened to watch South legends Sivaji Ganesan and Sreekanth starrer THANGA PATHAKKAM (Tamil). Immediately the idea of casting Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan struck me in its Hindi version.'' He adds, ''I bought the rights of the movie and asked Salim-Javed to reconstruct the script as per the needs of Bollywood. Both Salim-Javed too liked the subject and while rewriting the script they gave a total new look to the movie.''
Regarding the casting coup Ramesh Sippy said, ''When the script was ready I first got it approved with Bachchan, who was excited to work with Dilip Kumar. Likewise Dilip Sahab too was very happy with the script and was keen on working with Amitabh Bachchan. Thus as far as cajoling is concerned I did not have to persuade anybody as both were quite eager to work together.''
The high point of the movie is that Ramesh Sippy took Smita Patil as the heroine ignoring Parveen Babi and Zeenat Aman who were much in demand. The reason according to Ramesh Sippy is that he wanted to make a movie that was more realistic and truly the movie turns out to be an ace for Ramesh Sippy as a director. Regarding the performances, Dilip Kumar proved why he is called an institution in acting by winning the Best Actor (Dilip Kumar) Filmfare Awards, while Amitabh Bachchan gave the most intense performance of his career. Praising his histrionics eminent critic Khalid Mohammad in his review wrote... Amitabh Bachchan proves he is First Rate Actor!