When Sanjeev Kumar thought producer slyly lowered his offer on seeing actor sleep in his chawl's kitchen

Updated on Jul 20, 2022 01:51 PM IST

Excerpt from the book Sanjeev Kumar: The Actor We All Loved talks about Sanjeev Kumar’s initial days of struggle in the film industry. Sanjeev made his acting debut with a small role in Hum Hindustani in 1960.

Sanjeev Kumar died in 1985 following a heart attack.
Sanjeev Kumar died in 1985 following a heart attack.

Actor Sanjeev Kumar made his debut as the lead actor in 1965 with Nishan. In his almost 25 years of film career, he appeared in several films such as, Yehi Hai Zindagi, Ram Tere Kitne Naam, Qatl, Shikar, and many more. Sanjeev won several awards in his lifetime, including two National Film Awards for Best Actor for his 1970 film Dastak and 1972 film Koshish. Sanjeev died on November 6, 1985 following a heart attack. In the actor's biography titled Sanjeev Kumar: The Actor We All Loved the author has highlighted the struggles Sanjeev faced in his initial years in the industry. Also Read: When Subhash Ghai offered loan to Shatrughan Sinha but on an interest, Sanjeev Kumar finally helped him out

Sanjeev Kumar: The Actor We All Loved is a biography by Reeta Ramamurthy Gupta and Uday Jariwala. This book consists of anecdotes of the late actor Sanjeev Kumar, who dedicated his life to Indian cinema. This anecdote of Sanjeev Kumar’s life talks about his initial days of struggle in the film industry. In this episode of his life, he meets a renowned producer who wants to produce a film for Sanjeev.


How a producer tried to negotiate Hari's (Sanjeev Kumar) price after seeing him in the bus

An interesting anecdote from those days came from Subhash Indori, arguably Sanjeev's closest friend, in his interview to journalist Anil Chitre in the July 1980 issue of Cineblitz. Sanjeev Kumar used to travel by bus, even though he had a release to his credit, Nishan, his first film. During one such bus ride, A producer travelling in the same bus recognised Sanjeev as Nishan’s hero. When Sanjeev alighted at Grant road, the producer hurried after him and told him that he was launching a film and he wanted to discuss things with Sanjeev. The producer took his residence address and promised to drop in the next day.

The following day, the producer arrived at Sanjeev’s one- room chawl at Bhuleshwar and saw Sanjeev sleeping in the kitchen. Sanjeev immediately woke up and prepared tea for his guest and carried the cup to him. During the discussion that followed, the producer enquired the amount he had received for his film Nishan. “ 25,000,” Sanjeev told him.

The producer was surprised and told Sanjeev, “But I can offer you only 10,000.” “I know,” Sanjeev answered. “When you saw me travelling in a bus you deducted “ 5,000”, and when I prepared the tea myself and offered it to you, you deducted another “ 5,000”. Now you’re offering me the balance amount. But my price is still 25,000." The deal was clinched, and Sanjeev was signed at his price.

Nishan may not have been the ideal launchpad, but it gave Hari his next few films, which released in 1967 and ’68. These movies featured costumes, sword fights and stunts and showcased Hari’s immense talent.

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