Javed Akhtar recalls how Rajesh Khanna helped him and Salim Khan become richer: 'Usne hume bohut paise dilwaye...'
Javed Akhtar said Rajesh Khanna convinced him and Salim Khan to work on his film once as he was buying his Mumbai bungalow worth ₹4.5 lakh at the time.
Javed Akhtar recalled how Rajesh Khanna convinced him and Salim Khan to work on his film once so he could buy his iconic Mumbai bungalow, worth ₹4.5 lakh. The late actor had said to Javed and Salim that he could not opt out of the film despite its poor second half, as the producer had given him a hefty signing amount – ₹2.5 lakh – which he needed to buy the property. In a new interview, the lyricist-writer also credited Rajesh Khanna for making him and Salim Khan – who later became famous as screenwriter duo Salim-Javed – 'richer and richer'. Also read: Javed Akhtar recalls why he stopped working with Salim Khan: 'Jab kamyabi ayi, naye log zindagi mein aye aur...'
Speaking about how him and Salim Khan were paid ₹750 each for their first film as writers, Javed recalled they each earned ₹5000 for writing Haathi Mere Saathi. The film was directed by Ramesh Sippy, and was party written by Salim-Javed.
In a new interview with Arbaaz Khan, Javed Akhtar spoke about how Salim and him landed Haathi Mere Saathi, "Tab yeh bana rahe then Andaz aur ye Andaz ke second half mein fuss gaye. Andaz ka second half hum logon ne banaya hai. Toh humara additional screenplay mein naam aata hai. Ab yeh woh waqt tha jab Rajesh Khanna ki nayi-nayi film hit huyi thi, main baat kar raha hoon 1969-70 beginning ki. Woh roz ata tha wahin, isliye ki inhone break diay tha, toh humse dosti ho gayi. Ek di wo aya Salim Saab ke saath. Rajesh Khanna ne kaha 'bhai dekho meri bahut badi majburi hai. Majburi yeh hai ki main Carter Road pe ghar khareed raha hoon. Ghar bahut mehenga hai. Wo ghar hai sadhe chaar lakh ka. Aur ye producer ne mujhe itna bada signing amount diya hai ki main wapis toh kar hee nahi sakta hoon. Isne mujhe dhai lak rupay diye. Aur agar main iss script mein kaam karta hoon toh main film industry se nikal jaoonga. Ab choice yeh hai tum dono yaar ise kissi tarah theek kardo ke kam chalao ho jaye (The makers of Anzar were stuck because of the second half. We had become friends with Rajesh Khanna around 1969-70, when he told us he wanted us to work on the film's script as he needed the film to work. He said he was buying a home worth ₹4.5 lakh in Mumbai's Carter Road and needed money for the same. The producer had given him ₹2.5 lakh already, which he could not return. He could not leave the film, but was scared that the second half was so bad that he could be kicked out of the film industry)".
Javed further said, "Script padhi maine, ki dekhen kya hai yeh. Shart humarai yeh hai ki – hero wahi hai jo rahega, chaar hathi apke hum bacha denge, iske alawa hum sab kuch badal denge. Aapko yeh manzoor ho toh buliye. Hum iske screenplay pe aise kaam karte then jaise mazaak ho. Matlab has has ke hamre pure sceens mein buri haalat ho jati thi... humne unhe sunao aur unhe pasand aya, unhone le liya. Iss baar Rajesh Khanna ne hume bohut paise dilwaye. Dus haazar rupaye. panch hazaar Salim Saab ko, panch hazaar mujhe (After we read the script, we gave the makers two conditions – the hero will remain the same, and we will retain the elephants, but everything else will be changed. They liked what we wrote, even though we were joking most of the time, while working on the script. This time Rajesh made sure were were paid well. We earned ₹10000, with each of us making ₹5000). So, were were becoming richer and richer."
Javed Akhtar and Salim Khan worked as screenwriters in famous Hindi films such as Sholay, Don and Deewaar, among others. In another recent interview with BBC Hindi, Javed had spoken about why he stopped working with Salim Khan after a couple of decades. Javed also spoke about their successful partnership and how Salim had encouraged him to become a screenwriter in the first place.