Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s film Anand, which was released in 1971, is one of the cult classic films that Bollywood ever produced. Rajesh Khanna’s performance as the lead role was widely appreciated. While we can’t think of any other actor playing the role, Indian cinema’s superstar wasn’t the first choice. It was Kishore Kumar!
Popular poet-lyricist Gulzar in his book Actually… I Met Them: A Memoir spoke about what made the legendary actor not to take up such a career-defining role. While the film was helmed by the late filmmaker, it was Gulzar who wrote the dialogues of the film.
Interestingly, it is also one of the two films only two films that Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan have starred together. The other was the 1973 film Namak Haraam and both were directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee. As per Gulzar, it was Kishore Kumar who was supposed to play the lead role. Only a few days ahead of the shoot a meeting was held to discuss the look of Kumar.
However, the legendary actor had other ideas. He shocked everyone by going completely bald. “We were all shocked! On top of that, Kishoreda went around the office dancing and singing, ‘What will you do now, Hrishi?’ (the film’s director, Hrishikesh Mukherjee).
“Consequently, Rajesh Khanna was finalized for the role in a very short time. Perhaps Kishoreda never wanted to play the character. Nevertheless, I have never seen someone cutting off their nose to spite their face in such a manner,” recalled Gulzar in his book.
Anand ended up winning several awards, including the Filmfare Award for Best Film in 1972. The poet-lyricist further wrote, “Not only directors, many producers were also at the receiving end of Kishore Kumar’s mischief. In fact, one of Kishore Kumar’s favourite things to do was “to land his producers in trouble.”
So what do you think about Kishore Kumar’s antics? Let us know in the comments.