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Memorable films

Salim - Javed


The team of Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar brought the writer to the forefront as never before in Indian cinema. The former (b 1935), an aspiring actor who didn't succeed, and the latter, poet and lyricist Jan Nissar Akhtar's son (b 1945) teamed up as writers to create cinema history in the 1970s. They were the first to make the writer as much a star in his own right and they commanded a fee often higher than the actors starring in the films they wrote. The two partners met on the sets of Sarhadi Lootera (1966). Javed was the film's dialogue writer while Salim Khan was the hero!

It is said that Javed had a flair for the screenplay and dialogue and Salim the plots. They were responsible for the phenomenon of the 'angry young man' in the 1970s personified by Amitabh Bachchan. Zanjeer (1973), Deewaar (1975), Sholay (1975), Trishul (1978) owe a great deal of their success to the writing of Salim - Javed.

Fortunately for them, their timing was perfect. 25 years after Independence with the youth totally disillusioned by the State of the country, people were looking for a hero who would share their anger and make the world right again. No more tolerance and romanticism and here is where the 'angry young man' came in.

Salim - Javed brought about a major change in the Hindi film dialogue. Till their advent, Hindi film writing had been genteel and mindful of middle-class morality. However their protagonist was the product of the street, brash, tough and foulmouthed who symbolized the simmering discontent of the dispossessed. It was Salim - Javed who brought hard-hitting dramatic dialogue into fashion. Practically very dialogue from Sholay is remembered till today! In fact in addition to the music track, a separate cassette on dialogues from the film was released in the market and proved to be extremely popular.

Besides violence, the mother figure too played a prominent role in their films be it Deewar or Trishul. Perhaps this was because both had lost their respective mothers while still very young.

However ego hassles saw the team split up in the early 1980s. Though both did try their hand separately at writing, they have met with limited success. (Salim tasted some success with Naam (1986) and Javed with Betaab (1983) but nothing else of note)

Javed though has successfully become one of the top lyricists of the Hindi Film Industry today. Salim's son Salman Khan is a top star of the Hindi Film Industry today.

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