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When Big B lost out to Sanjay Khan

It is well-known that the hugely successful Amitabh Bachchan-Rekha partnership on-screen began with Dulal Guha’s Do Anjaane (1976), a film that also brought to the forefront Rekha’s considerable acting talent for the very first time. Incidentally, Bachchan and Rekha had worked earlier in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s wonderful adaptation of Becket (1964), Namak Haram (1973), but Rekha was paired opposite Rajesh Khanna in the film.

Around the same period as Namak Haram, or perhaps earlier, while Bachchan was still struggling to make his big breakthrough in the film industry, he was signed on to play the leading man for a film opposite Rekha, Duniya Ka Mela. The film was being directed by Kundan Kumar and produced by GM Roshan. Several reels of the film including a song were canned but with Bachchan’s growing flop status in the industry (Zanjeer was yet to be released), there were no buyers for the film. Thus, the decision to drop Bachchan from the film was taken by the makers and a new hero, Sanjay Khan, was taken on in his place.

Strangely, destiny has a way of evening out the playing field. Duniya Ka Mela released in 1974 and made no real major impact at the box office and is forgotten today while following the release of Zanjeer (1973), the Hindi film industry found it’s new superstar or it’s ‘Angry Young Man’ thereby leading to a glorious movie career for Bachchan.

Here is the original song from the film pictured on Bachchan and Rekha…

… and the song as it finally appeared with Rekha and Sanjay Khan in the final film!

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