Dilip Kumar: The Thespian, Gentleman and the Legend Influencer: The Journey that made his Legacy.

The sad demise of legend Dilip Kumar sent shock waves around the industry, with members joining at this Pali Bungalow for their final ode to the superstar. Although, Dilip Kumar hasn’t acted for more than 20 years, his presence and influence amongst the newer generation is still felt. Legends who were once influenced by the Thespian before entering the industry, now have children and grandchildren being in awe of the legend.

Dilip Kumar, married to actress Saira Banu, have no children on their own but found love amongst every film household in Mumbai, where they were regularly visited by children of Dilip Kumar’s co-actors and colleagues. Although, the actor’s ill health in recent years hasn’t been the greatest but it was the wishes, prayers, admiration and love of the Bombay Film Industry that made the legend experience today’s atmosphere of the industry despite not physically being present in any Hindi film for years.

Following the thespian’s journey; an actor with only did 62 films which includes 5 guest appearances, a short span of films but with a large span of influence with his limited number of films. Taking a look into the thespian’s film journey is our final ode to the legend – who has influenced us as spectators and people of the film fraternity.

Thespian to a Star. How it began

Born Yusuf Khan, was son to a fruit vendor born near Kissa Bazaar which is now located in Peshawar, Pakistan. After World War II, his father was struggling in bringing back the family business on its feet and Yusuf had set himself out to Bombay to find work to earn bread and butter for the family. While finding work, a friend had suggested to visit a nearby film shoot in which he had gone to see and was told by a production controller to stand quietly in the crowd during the shot.

The production controller was caught by his good looks and charisma and had asked him if he was an actor. Yusuf, replied with that he had no experience and had no understanding of acting from far. The production controller dropped the question “would you act for a profession?” in which he answered “as long as it pays!”  was the actor’s entry to the world of films.

The production controller circulated Yusuf’s name until Amiya Chakravarty was casting for his film Jwar Bhata (1944) in which he was looking for a young actor for the role as one of the girl’s suitors. On suggestion of others and being new to the industry, Yusuf Khan christened himself to Dilip Kumar in order to be ‘market friendly’ going by the current scenario at the time.

Jwar Bhata and many others ventures at the time went unnoticed and failed at the box office miserably. It wasn’t until Jugnu (1947), years after his debut that worked luck for the actor and gained him a successful tag. Successful films began to the follow in 1948 with Shaheed and Mela with Kumar as the main lead.  

Until 1949, Dilip Kumar got the true taste of success with Andaz (1949) which featured his contemporary actor and current star Raj Kapoor with Nargis that went on to become the highest grossing Indian film until it was beaten by his co-actor’s film Barsaat (1949) in the same year. Andaz’s influence across the country was so huge that it established all three leads as the country’s leading superstars. From this point on, there was no looking back for Mr Yusuf….sorry, Dilip Kumar from this point on.

Established Tragedy King and Stardom Years

Along with Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand, the 1950s were the years when Dilip Kumar got his tag of a mainstream Hindi cinema superstar but alongside being recognised from the industry as a ‘thespian’. Dilip Kumar began to bring realism to the Indian silver screen. He once mentioned “I didn’t understand the urge of my co-stars of shouting and being so dramatic in front of the camera. It’s the magic of the camera that did this to their behaviour and it always surprised me. So, I tried to make that camera my weapon in trying to act like the person I am not”.

It was until Daag (1952) when Dilip Kumar had won his first Filmfare Award for Best Actor. Collaborating with his first-time director, Amiya Chakravarty again, his role of the alcoholic Mud Toy Seller had brought out the brilliance in Kumar’s hidden talent. Chakravarty had mentioned that it was Dilip Kumar’s detail to the character which he paid attention to, his act of being drunk and acting like a drunk from a poor background seemed so real.  His merging of poverty to the character – which the person inside the actor lived through during World War II had come out in the form of his character.

Dilip Kumar had a long string of hits including Daag and Amar (1954), Uran Khatola (1955), Insaniyat (1955) in which he co-starred with Dev Anand. Dilip began the urge of experimenting with his roles that pushed him further as an actor, he got that opportunity with Bimal Roy’s Devdas (1955) which he recognised as his character-building chance. At first, Kumar was slightly hesitant in playing the protagonist, that too one he wasn’t fond of. He had mentioned “Devdas was a man I saw that just drank, drank and drank himself to death. But I had to bring some belief to him, something that the audience can sympathise with and I had to go beyond that. I had divorce myself of what I had thought about this character and become him.” Devdas went on to win hearts across with the world with still its influence being present. Dilip Kumar’s performance was listed in Forbes with 25 Best Performances from India.

As well as the serious roles, in the midst Dilip Kumar did a lighter role in the extravagant big-budgeted Aan (1952) which belonged to the Heroic vs Kingdom genre and Kumar playing the larger-than-life mischievous hero breaking the pride of the Princess of the Kingdom he falls in love with. Mounted at a budget of 3.5 Crore (Roughly 320 Crores in today’s time), the first film to be in Technicolor in India and to be first Hindi film with such a huge release of almost 28 countries at that time. The film returned Director-Producer Mehboob Khan 35 Crores in worldwide returns (roughly 3,200 Crores in today’s time) which was the highest grossing film for years to come.

Dilip Kumar continued his successful run with films such as BR Chopra’s Naya Daur (1955) where he played a horse cart rider who challenges modernisation and the replacement of man-power in the country. Yahudi (1958), Kumar plays a Roman (yes, a Roman!) who falls for a Jewish girl and then disguises himself as a Jew in order to get her father’s approval. In Paigham (1959), he played a young mill worker who fights for the cruelty and low pay of the mill workers leading a change in the union. It was Bimal Roy’s Madhumati (1958), which Kumar’s faith in Roy’s vision in the supernatural genre made the film possible. Kumar got the film financed, sold and completed in time despite a glitch that occurred during the production.

The tag of ‘Tragedy King’ was given by the media at the time as most of Dilip Kumar’s films at the time – ended in a tragedy. Many compared the actor to the legends of the stage and how they pursued their career in nourishing the tragedy genre – it was Kumar’s draw towards such thespians to polish his act on-screen by choosing such a genre, even with his numerous on-screen deaths.

By the end of the 50s, Dilip Kumar was the first actor to charge 1 Lakh per film (Roughly around 85 Lakhs today).

The Genius Behind the Camera 

Madhumati made Kumar realise the world behind the camera and made him want to explore his creativity. The industry was a lot larger than he estimated it had been. Giving moral and creative support to his director, K.Asif, for his film Mughal-E-Azam (1960), which had been in the making for almost 9 years finally hit the screens in 1960 opening to housefuls all over the country. Mughal-E-Azam was a pathbreaking film in all aspects. David Lean, had seen the film and was mesmerized on seeing the production of the mega opus. David Lean had even wrote letters to K.Asif and Dilip Kumar speaking about their work in the film. Lean had asked K.Asif in one of his letters “You have a room full of mirrors. Where have you placed the camera in this scene? If you have mirrors in every corner – how has your Director of Photography lit the scene? Where are the lights?”.

K.Asif responded to these letters with sarcasm. Stating “These are all my secrets, which I am taking to the grave”. Lean proposed on various occasions to work with Dilip Kumar and K.Asif, with Lean’s venture Lawrence of Arabia (1962) , but both director and actor showed disinterest. K.Asif saw a craftsman in Kumar, he saw his creative abilities  when discussions happened on the sets of Mughal-E-Azam and suggested him to take on directing. Kumar had an idea for years which developed in his mind and he told the idea to K.Asif and he responded “Why are you not writing this?”. This is where Gunga Jumna (1961) was born. Taking K.Asif’s advice and rather than hiring a professional screenwriter or finding a financial producer – Dilip Kumar went on to take Gunga Jumna as his own project and decided to write and produce the film himself.

Gunga Jumna went into production before the release of Mughal-E-Azam, Kumar produced the film under his production house Citizen Films which was the only film produced under his banner. He cast his real-life brother Nasir Khan in the opposite title role and Vyjayanthimala in the female lead. It was said despite hiring Nitin Bose as the director, Kumar ghost-directed several portions of the film himself. Dilip Kumar had paid so much attention to every detail of the film, that every saree worn by Vyjayanthimala in each scene was hand selected by him as he knew in accordance which saree was suited for that particular scene. Kumar’s attention to detail paid off, as Gunga Jumna rang cash registers at the time of release and saw a silver jubilee in parts of the country. Gunga Jumna even went to several film festival around the world including Boston International Film Festival.

His next film Leader (1964), Kumar had wrote himself and the film was produced by the Filmalaya Mukherjees (Kajol’s Family). Although, getting all the acknowledgement, Leader went on to become an average grosser at the box office. Later, with Abdul Rashid Kardar’s Dil Diya Dard Liya (1966), Kardar was a filmmaker who was returning to filmmaking after some years and during the making Kumar had noticed that his skills were not up to date – his direction skills were fairly rusty. Kumar had decided to help with the direction and directed a major portion of the film himself. Kardar’s ill health too played a spoilsport at this point of time. Dilip Kumar despite his efforts of directing did not want to take the credit when offered by Kardar as a co-director. Kumar simply mentioned that it was Kardar’s project and he was only there to help.

Later with the tragedy genre became a little too much for Dilip Kumar and him suffering from a slight depression from intense roles, he was advised from a doctor that he should be doing lighter, relieving roles as the intensity was taking a toll on his mental health. His first attempt at the lighter genre was Ram Aur Shyam (1967), in which we saw him in a dual role with one being the shy, coward type and the other being a mischievous Casanova. It was said for the first time in Hindi cinema in a dual role that an actor had played both roles with such a contrast leaving the audience to question if the roles were played by two different individuals.

The 1970s and the Nadir

Dilip Kumar decided to do fewer films by the end of the 1960s and decided few but meaningful roles. Roles that challenged him to do better as an actor marking big gaps between each film. In 1970, Dilip had Gopi which marked his first collaboration with his later wife Saira Banu. Gopi again, with Kumar sticking to the lighter genre proved a runaway success.

Later followed his Bengali debut Sagina Mahota (1971) which was later remade in Hindi as Sagina (1974), based on a true story of the labour movement in Siliguri during 1942, told through fictional characters. Despite being appreciated, the Bengali version did some wonders around film festivals but the Hindi version didn’t find much of an audience other than some attraction through the music.  BR Chopra’s Dastaan (1972), which was a remake the director’s earlier film Afsana (1951) about twin brothers on the opposite sides of the law, did not fetch an audience and was proved to be a commercial disaster on release.

Mushir – Riaz, both respected businessmen, had a strong link with Haji Mastaan at the time were introduced to Dilip Kumar and shared their interest in beginning a production with the actor. Dilip Kumar had told them about an idea about twins and their father all being played by the same actor and this was how Bairaag (1976) began. Bairaag, was said to be ghost-directed by Kumar as most of the scenes he had taken complete control from the director as Kumar had worked on the majority of the screenplay.

Bairaag eventually bombed at the box office. The media decided to take shots at Kumar calling him ‘too old’ for the role. The 44-year-old, saw that many tabloids took blows at him saying ‘his time is over’ and ‘time to pack your bags’. A journalist had even said “Dilip Kumar needs to get over this multiple role phase. Every film cannot be a working formula of Ram Aur Shyam.”

Dilip Kumar decided to take a career interval. Giving him time to re-evaluate and self-asses. He had rejected many roles and some roles he took a key interest in were eventually being offered to actors like Rajesh Khanna or Sanjeev Kumar because of his last few box office failures. He even had thoughts of taking writing and production full time.

Legend Not Out: Return to Success

It was Manoj Kumar’s dream to work with his screen idol Dilip Kumar. During Purab Aur Paschim (1970), as Manoj Kumar was working with Saira Banu he told Dilip Kumar often that one day he would come to him with a script that did justice to his calibre. When Salim-Javid had finished the final draft of Kranti (1981), it was then that Manoj Kumar decided to take Dilip Kumar out of his hiatus. Dilip Kumar first being hesitant but was convinced by Manoj Kumar that only he could do this role.

Kranti proved to be turning point in Dilip Kumar’s career as the film ran for weeks around the globe and proved to be a blockbuster. Tabloids had headlined ‘The Return of the Legend’ as it was established that the actor now had graduated to more mature, author backed roles. Despite playing the elder role, it was the power of the thespian that took sheer credit for the film in his bag. Many directors had waited to see the results of Kranti and see how Dilip Kumar’s work attitude to be in order to be approached. Soon, a long list of producers came knocking at his door.

The following year, Dilip Kumar had Vidhaata (1982) which marked his first collaboration with the Showman, Subhash Ghai. In Vidhaata, Kumar played a Don who kept his identity intact, eliminates his grandson’s guardian (played by Sanjeev Kumar) in which his Grandson (played by Sanjay Dutt) retaliates on this unknown enemy, which happens to be Dilip Kumar. Vidhaata went on to be the highest grosser of the year in 1982. In the same year, Dilip Kumar appeared in the cult, Ramesh Sippy’s Shakti (1982). Shakti wasn’t a ringer at the box office but was widely appreciated for Dilip Kumar’s performance and the scenes he had with Amitabh Bachchan. Bachchan at this point being one the biggest stars of the country, was pit against the thespian who had inspired him to become an actor. Walking away from Shakti’s impact, Kumar was awarded Best Actor at the Filmfare Awards the following year.

Yash Chopra, who in the past had offered several projects to Dilip Kumar (originally Yash Chopra was to direct Shakti) but not working out, finally got the chance to work with the legend in Mashaal (1984). Mashaal came as a turning point for the then new-on-the-block kid Anil Kapoor who played the character of the street goon who changes his ways when being influenced by an honest journalist played by Dilip Kumar. Mashaal gave the chance to Dilip Kumar to work with young talents like Anil Kapoor, Alok Nath, Amrish Puri which gave Dilip Kumar an update of the new current talent on the scene. Mashaal is always remembered for the scene of Dilip Kumar’s wife death on the middle of the streets of Bombay and him asking for help with people turning a deaf ear.

Successful and even unsuccessful ventures thereafter followed with Duniya (1984) and Dharam Adhikari (1986) where Dilip Kumar worked along with actors like Rishi Kapoor and Jeetendra. Subhash Ghai had signed him once again for his huge vision venture Karma (1986), a ‘Sholay-Inspired’ plot in a newer formula with Kumar in the driving seat as the vengeful Jailor hiring three outlaws to revenge the death of his sons. During the peak of the VHS period and the plague of video piracy, Karma marked the first film to bring in the audience to the cinemas with houseful boards all around auditoriums around the country.

Post Karma, Kumar went onto work with actors like Sanjay Dutt and Govinda in Kanoon Apna Apna (1989) and Izzatdaar (1990) in which again he was playing an the elder, father figure role in these films. While the former being the son of one of his best friends from the industry – Dilip Kumar took a liking to Govinda on the sets of Izzatdaar. In fact, to both Dutt and Govinda, Kumar was always present on the set for their scenes correcting their actions and polishing their performances. Later Kumar had advised Govinda “take a break from serious films. Why don’t you try comedies?”.

Donning the Director’s Cap

When Dilip Kumar had worked with Sudhakar Bokade, the producer of Izzatdaar, who was a leading producer at the time – Kumar had narrated him an idea and pleased with the subject and happy to go ahead, Dilip Kumar decided to direct the film himself. Launched in 1991, Kalinga was set to be the ‘official’ debut directorial of the legend – despite of having a hand in the direction department with several film in the past. Kalinga told the story of a Judge by the name of Justice Kalinga (played by Dilip Kumar) where both of his sons (played by Raj Babbar and Raj Kiran) conspire against him in taking down the honest Judge’s regime because of his righteous ways getting in-front his son’s ‘easy money schemes’. When been taken down, from the help of his stepson– Justice Kalinga bounces back to avenge his fall from his sons.

Kalinga at first had ran into many problems before filming. It was said that Sunny Deol was signed for role of the stepson but due to his back problem he had stepped down from the film, leading to Dilip Kumar auditioning many other actors for the role. Ajay Devgan, Jackie Shroff and even Akshay Kumar auditioned for the role. He eventually decided to cast a newcomer, the then-newcomer, Punjabi actor/director Amitoj Mann. Despite going into complete production in 1992, the film ran into problems with Dilip Kumar’s ill health, the Bombay blasts and riots that later occurred with the death of Amjad Khan and the sudden disappearance of Raj Kiran.

Trade people began to write off the film as ‘jinxed’ as by 1995 the film laid somewhat complete but still had issues in being finalised. Dilip Kumar decided to keep a trail preview for two people in particular, Subhash Ghai and Vijay Anand, two people’s opinion that mattered to him. Dilip Kumar kept the preview in a Bandra theatre but by the end of the film he realised Subhash Ghai had snuck out of the theatre much before the film had ended. Vijay Anand, being known for his brutal honesty told Kumar that he had made a bad film. Vijay Anand suggested to edit the film himself in order to correct the film but Dilip Kumar said he will make the changes himself and will keep another preview in the near future. That preview never happened.

The final blow came when Sudhakar Bokade came under the radar of the Crime Investigation Bureau with his links with the underworld and questioned where he got the finance for such major films when turning producer – as he worked in Air India as a cargo transmitter before turning to production. After the release of his film Sauda (1995), Bokade went missing from the scene. It was said due to the heat of the Crime Bureau he just had escaped, leaving Kalinga and his other film Sambandh to lie in cans.

Collecting dust in cans for years, it was only till recently Producer Sangeeta Ahir had mentioned that she wants to revive Dilip Kumar’s long-lost dream as she holds the negatives of the film. She is currently is taking it various people in order to present the film correctly.

The Final Years and the Legacy

When it came to the 1990s, Dilip Kumar spent most of the year working on his directorial venture and refused or placed many films on hold including BR Chopra’s Baghban and Subhash Ghai’s Home-Land. One of the final films that Dilip Kumar had did was Subhash Ghai’s Saudagar (1991) before venturing into direction. It was Kumar’s sense of comfortability and trust in Ghai’s vision that he knew he would never write him a bad role.

Pitted against his old friend and once co-star, Raaj Kumar, the film reunited both legends together in a film about two rival chief’s conflicts and their grandchildren falling for each other. The film was about the ego and pride of both characters resulting to war of both families. Saudagar won the hearts at the box office and even swept some of the major awards at Filmfare the following year. It was at this point when Dilip Kumar had moved onto his directorial project.

After the shelving of Kalinga, when he knew that this was possibility not going to see the light of day, he had opened himself to acting offers again. Many offers had come to him and he outright rejected them until he met F.C Mehra and his son Umesh Mehra who told him about script which was wrote by Humayun Mirza which he which he took to a liking to straight away.

Qila (1998), released April 1998 and bombed at the box office. Although with a huge supporting cast like Rekha, Mukul Dev, Mamta Kulkarni etc, Kumar was the face frontal of the film. It was said by the trade at the time that the newer generation had not been exposed to Dilip Kumar and were not willing see his main lead film, in fact, the trade mentioned that the moviegoers preferred Keemat (1998) that weekend.

When asked about Qila, Dilip Kumar had answered “It was a novel idea on paper. I took a liking to the idea of two brothers looking the same but on the line of good and evil. Where as one brother took advantage of the family’s honour – the other was out to save it in the eyes of the world. I didn’t like Umesh’s technique in filmmaking. Otherwise, we generally had a story to tell.” Qila marked the last film Dilip Kumar had acted in, despite other films in the pipeline – none of them took off.

Years later, thanks to the development in filmmaking, Sterling Investment Corp and the vision of Akbar Asif set out to fulfil the dream of K.Asif by colourising Mughal-E-Azam digitally. Colourised, re-recorded and re-released as a major Diwali/Eid release of 2004, Mughal-E-Azam was brought to a newer age of audience as well as bringing back the loyal fans of the film to the cinemas. The film worked wonders when re-released and became a profit grosser to distributors all around the world. After seeing the results of Mughal-E-Azam, BR Chopra decided to colourise his classic Naya Daur and re-released it in 2007. Naya Daur too got a major theatrical release all around the world.

Despite many films thereafter were colorised, till date only Mughal-E-Azam and Naya Daur are the only films that got a major theatrical re-release while many colorised films released straight to video. It was said because of the admiration of these films and legacy of Dilip Kumar that these films deserved that release. Still to date, both colorised films play regularly on television with decent rating numbers.

Untold, Unreleased and Incomplete

We are all aware of Kalinga’s unfortunate incompletion, but over the years there have been many Dilip Kumar films that either never saw the light of the day or failed to even take off. Some of these films have been said to get a release of the remainder footage shot and some film historians are still looking for the achieve footage for some of those films.

Shikwa (1951-58 – 70% Complete)

Shikwa sees Dilip Kumar playing an army officer under court-martial. In the film, he plays a soldier, Ram, who, disillusioned by war, appeals for peace on the battlefield even as he loses an arm and an eye and is disfigured in the face. However, he is court-martialled for rebellion and for refusal to fight on the battlefield and is subsequently tried. The film was advertised on launch in 1951 as ‘The man who challenged God!’ but due to some personal reason director Ramesh Saigal shelved the film. Thankfully, in 2013 some footage of the film was released online, showing mainly of what remains of the film now.

Footage can be seen here:

Zabardast (1979 –5 Days of Shoot)

Nasir Hussain after the success of Yaadon Ki Baarat (1973) had launched a big starrer venture including Dilip Kumar, Dharmendra, Amjad Khan, Rishi Kapoor, Asha Parekh, Tina Munim, Zeenat Aman etc. The film went into production and until 5 days of shoot, Dilip Kumar had pointed out to Nasir Hussain that there were similarities with this film and his previous, he felt something was not shaping out right. Nasir Hussian took his advice and decided to rework on the script and put the film on a backburner. The film was revived in 1985 with Sanjeev Kumar replacing Dilip Kumar.

Chanakaya Chandragupta (1980-81 – Announced after Looktests)

B.R Chopra was planning Chanakya Chandragupta and had cast Dilip Kumar as Chanakya and Dharmendra as Chandragupta. The industry was agog with excitement about Chopra’s announcement and his passion to make the film showed when he made the producer spend over a lakh of rupees in those days when he sent the Hollywood trained make-up man Sarosh Mody to London only to design the bald Cape in which Dilip Kumar would be seen in throughout the film. Everything was finalised and the film was about to go on the floor when the producer faced a sudden financial crisis and had to shelve what could have been a memorable film.

Aag Ka Dariya (1990 – Completed)

Production for the film began in 1990 including other cast members being Rekha, Rajiv Kapoor, Amrita Singh and Padmini Kolhapure. Dilip Kumar played the role of a Naval Officer stuck in a crisis. The film was continuously delayed due to issues with the producer and financiers and the finance was left on a hold. With the music release in 1995, it was re-announced to release as Dilip Kumar had directed some portions of the film in order for completion. The producer gave the credit as ‘Dilip Kumar Presents’ over the title as a gesture for his directional contribution towards the film. For years the film never saw a release until in 2014, the producers had found a print in Singapore that was in fine condition to be converted to digital for a release. Yet, the discussions are still going on as we hope it gets a release soon.

Trailer can be seen here:

Aakhri Mughal (1999 – 10% Complete)

The same film was actually done twice with Dilip Kumar and both times they were incomplete. First with Kamal Amrohi in the 1960s and it was said that Dharmendra was to play the role of the son. Amrohi had faced various issues financially at the time and shelved the film. J.P Dutta had gone through Kamal Amrohi’s script vault and found the final draft of his version of Aakhri Mughal. Dutta had decided to use the same script to gone into production with, this time again with Dilip Kumar reprising his role and Abhishek Bachchan to play the role of the son. Bachchan Junior was to be launched with this film as well as Bipasha Basu. Some issues were faced and the Bachchan family felt that a period drama to launch their son may not be a wise decision hence they moved onto a different subject with Refugee (2000). Dutta has expressed many times of reviving the project as he still holds Amrohi’s final draft.

Asar – The Impact (2001 – Announced)

This Kuku Kohli venture was announced with much fanfare in early 2001 and said to dynamic action-drama with the legend and Ajay Devgan. Priyanka Chopra was to be debut with this feature. There was some talk about Priyanka Chopra botched surgery in which was said she was thrown out of this film and the hunt for a new female lead was on. But sadly, over the stretch of time, the film was never resumed and never revived.

Homeland/Motherland (2003 – Announced)

Subhash Ghai had announced the film multiple times. Once in 1995, then in 1998 and finally in 2003. Dilip Kumar had given his nod to Ghai and got busy with Kalinga but made sure to Ghai that he was as much on board whenever the film was going to take off. Dilip Kumar told many people in the industry that this would be his final film. Ghai had launched this as ‘possibly the biggest and most expensive Hindi film ever’ with Dilip Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan in the main lead. Subhash Ghai had locked the script and got all actors on board. Even the music was locked with three songs recorded and he was in advanced talks with three actresses to play the female lead, Aishwarya Rai, Priety Zinta and Mahima Chaudhary. The film was set against the backdrop of War. It was said that Shahrukh had backed out of the project just two months before stating he didn’t want to do a multi-starrer at this point in his career. Rather than replacing him, Ghai decided to shelve the film.

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