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Book Review: Written by Salim-Javed – The Story of the Best Screenwriters in Hindi Cinema

I’m pretty sure all Amitabh Bachchan fans have a lot of electrifying dialogue recorded in their vocabulary then and even today, whether it’s from the movie Sholay, Don, Trishul, or Deewar. The duo that brought the midas touch to screen writing in the 1970s and ’80s with their epic dialogue was none other than eminent screenwriters Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar. Penguin Books India’s latest release titled “Written by Salim Javed – The Story of the Greatest Screenwriters in Hindi Cinema” covers their professional and personal journey that they both experienced while traveling on their voyage of discovery.

The good news is for all fans of Salim-Javed Penguin Books India has recently released a new book titled, Written by Salim-Javed – The Story of the Best Screenwriters of Hindi Cinema written by Diptakirti Chaudhuri. Author, Diptakirti resides in Bangalore, he is a salesman by day and a writer by night. This is his fourth book and his third on Indian cinema. A very well researched book that the author has divided into five parts:

1. Flashback

2. The Association

3. Divide wide

4. Topics and messages and

5. Impact and legacy

Appearance of Salim Javed

Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar were of completely different races. His writing talent matched his business acumen and his demand for fair credit. Their desire to be known as the film’s writers can be traced back to an interesting anecdote related to the original. Zanjeer. The treatment of the writers would be duly accredited in all the publicity material of the film. The duo had already worked together on three hit movies prior to Zanjeer and had received little to no credit. As the release date approached, the duo were eagerly waiting to see their name as writers on the Zanjeer posters, but when the posters went up, they were heartbroken. When Prakash Mehra was reminded of the deal, he apologized and had completely forgotten his promise and it was too late. Salim-Javed then hired a poster painter who gave him a template that said “Written by Salim-Javed” and instructed him to paint on all the Zanjeer posters he could find. The painter hastily printed this anywhere on the poster rather than placing the print at the bottom where the credits used to appear. On the morning of launch day, Mumbai awoke to find all the Zanjeer posters from Juhu to the Opera stamped with the name “Salim-Javed”. Whether it be Amitabh’s nose, Pran’s beard, or Jaya’s face. The Zanjeer posters were probably the first to promote the writers of a movie announcing the appearance of Salim Javed.

The Salim-Javed duo were also the first in the industry to hand over the complete bounded script to the film fraternity. One of the main directors, Raj Khosla, admitted that despite being in the film industry for more than 25 years, he had never seen any script with the words “The end”on it throughout his career until he did Dostana.

Reader immersed in enlightening experience

What I liked about the book is the chronological order in which the author has captured the flow of events in the life and times of Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar, making the reader engrossed and an enlightening experience. The book begins with “Prologue” (The Tale of Two Zanjeers “), the original from 1973 and its remake in 2013. The duo had objected to the new Zanjeer release because they wanted to be adequately compensated for their work. Javed also to Bollywood’s highest paid writers in 2013.

Part 1 Flashback takes readers into the first lives of Salim Khan, the son of a high ranking police officer, and Javed Akhtar, the son of a famous Urdu poet and this continues until they land in what they call as Mumbai Ki Mayanagari Film capital of India to try your luck, one as an actor and one as a director, respectively.

Part 2 of the book talks about his decade-long association from “Andaaz” (1971) to “Shakti” (1982) and also includes some greats like “Haathi Mere Saathi” (1971), “Seeta Aur Geeta” (1972), Yaadon Ki Baraat “(1973), Zanjeer (1973),” Deewar “(1975), Sholay (1975),” Trishul “and” Don “(1978) and” Shaan “(1980) that paved the way for Amitabh Bachchan became mega stardom.

Part 3 Split Wide Open talks about the tension in their professional relationships and how each of them worked on solo projects creating their own identity. Either the success of the movie Naam (1986) written by Salim Khan or Betaab (1983) that was written by Javed Akhtar.

Part 4 of the Themes and Messages book deals with the themes of the movies, either Amitabh Bachchan as their “Angry Young Man” or Amjad Khan (Gabbar Singh) as the villain they wrote. The highlight here in this book is what amazes director Shekhar Kapur of the movie Mr. India (1987), “How the hell did Mogambo then become one of the greatest villains in Hindi commercial cinema?” Let’s not forget that both Gabbar Singh and Mogambo were the creations of the Salim-Javed duo. Gabbar Singh is ruthless who cuts off the arms of Sanjeev Kumar and also kills his own men in Sholay. Mogambo in Mr indiadoes not do much more than empty threats, snapping fingers at the globe, builds missiles, threatens to blow them up and smiles, “Mogambo Khush Hua”.

The last part of the book “Impact and Legacy” delves into the strengths of the duos and their respective weaknesses. It also raises questions like which turn our Indian film industry would have witnessed if the Salim-Javed duo hadn’t split up then. To get the answer to the question “Will they meet again?” readers must read this book Written by Salim-Javed: the story of the best screenwriters in Hindi cinema.

Qualification Written by Salim-Javed (The story of the best screenwriters in Hindi cinema)

Author Diptakirti Chaudhuri

Editor Penguin Books India

Pages 361

Price 399 rupees / –

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