28 July, 2021

They Both Had Six Bullets

Tells you all you need to know about the Salim-Javed screenwriting team

They Both Had Six Bullets

Salim Khan, of the Salim-­Javed of the screenwriting team, was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, or least a silver-plated one. He grew up in Indore, son of a police deputy inspector-general and, as a student, drove around in a Jaguar and played cricket for the college team. A director spotted the handsome young man on a visit to the city and offered him a role in his film. K. Amarnath’s Baraat was released in 1960 and sank like a stone. Salim Khan was not much of an actor and struggled for another eight years. It was his son, Salman Khan who, years later, would became a superstar.

Javed Akhtar, nine years his junior, was the son of Jan Nisar Akhtar, a successful writer of film songs. His growing up years were not happy. He lost his mother when he was eight and, as it happened, could not get on with his step-mother. He left home and did odd jobs in Bombay’s film studios, often sleeping on the premises.

When Salim and Javed met and formed a writing team, the collaboration was like no other. They redefined the way our...

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