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Vinod Khanna on his films with Amitabh Bachchan and the original storyline of Yash Chopra's CHANDNI - Articles on Cinema by Bobby Sing

21 Apr, 2019 | Did You Know! / Articles on Cinema

Having lived a life on his own terms as a blessed soul, Vinod Khanna was not only a dashing, talented Hindi film hero, but a sensitive, thoughtful, spiritual person too on whom books are sure going to be written sooner or later giving us a deeper insight about his lesser talked about persona and the daring thought process. 
To be straight, there are more assumptions and fewer facts stated by people talking or rather guessing about Vinod’s spiritual journey in particular, wherein most assume that he disassociated himself from Osho post returning from America. However the fact is that he remained associated with him till the very end and explained it all to us in person, when we met him in a Delhi Meditation camp more than a decade back.
As a matter of fact, even Khalid Mohammed asked him the same question in the interview being quoted here from the year 1993 published in Filmfare magazine, to which Vinod answered that 'the years spent with the master were the most important years of his life completely changing him from the inside.'
But here instead of discussing the various phases of his spiritual life, the article is actually about the revelations made by Vinod in the detailed interview talking about his films with Amitabh Bachchan, Gulzar and Yash Chopra, that is sure to surprise many film lovers well familiar with that specific era and the classics.
While commenting upon the positions of No.1 and 2 in the film industry, Vinod said that it didn’t matter to him as he enjoyed doing all those films with Amitabh, strongly ensuring that if in case the role was tampered with, then the damage was duly rectified well in time.  Recalling the names he said that the scenes in MUQADDAR KA SIKANDAR were especially written in Amitabh’s favour but he didn’t care as by that time he had already announced his retirement. Whereas in KHOON PASINA the script was suddenly changed as his character was coming on too strong. So he put his foot down and asked for rectifications. But even then he did have to make compromises being on the location and in the midst of an outstation schedule.
On the topic of timings and uncertainty involved in filmmaking in Hindi cinema, he said that he always wanted to be punctual, but it was of no use as nothing happened here in time and actors were made scapegoats. Specifically taking a name he added that no one here ever has a ready script before the shoot and Gulzar was the only director who gave him a bound script for his film moving ahead of them all.
However the most interesting revelation made by Vinod is related to Yash Chopra’s CHANDNI, which he pointed as a film that was shot quite differently from the one that was narrated to him in the initial stages. And thus, he lost out in terms of role, due to the major alterations made along the actual shoot.
As stated further, in the original version of CHANDNI, Rishi Kapoor had to die before the interval and Vinod was to take it over in the second half. Vinod was to get married with Sridevi along with Rishi’s child leading to further emotional twists, but then the plot was drastically changed all of a sudden resulting in a completely different film. In the new version Rishi remained alive post intermission and Vinod had to share the footage with him (entering in the final hour of the film more like an extended special appearance).
Interestingly, Anupama Chopra reveals another version of the story penned by her mother Kamna Chandra in her article devoted to Sridevi at Films Companion. And in it she recalls that as per her mother's original story, both Sridevi and Rishi Kapoor get married, have a son but post-crash there are problems in Rishi’s behaviour dealing with insecurity. With things getting worst at home, Sridevi walks out of the relationship alone leaving her husband and son to start a new life of her own. She tries a new career and then falls in love again with Vinod Khanna leading to the finale sequence where Sridevi’s teenage son comes to wish them both on their wedding with a bouquet.
Now considering the above coming from Vinod Khanna himself and Anupama Chopra, it seems Yash Chopra was in the mood of making an extension of SILSILA kind of bold, unconventional ‘ahead of its time’ film as CHANDNI in 1989 itself, before his most experimental and courageous film LAMHE releasing in 1991. But quite possibly a close well-wisher suggested the veteran to go for a light-hearted love saga first, re-establishing himself in the market post the debacle of VIJAY (1988) and FAASLE (1985) coming right after MASHAAL (1984), SILSILA (1981) and KALA PATTHAR (1979).
The decision no doubt proved to be fruitful, making a big contribution in the revival of romance and music in Hindi cinema, winning over the excessive action films of the 80s. But the debate remains that if CHANDNI was made on its original storyline, then would that have been a much better film in comparison to the released version or would that have also resulted in a dud similar to LAMHE made two years later?
Anyway, would like to end with another interesting observation related with Yash Chopra’s CHANDNI and its last hour when both Vinod Khanna and Rishi Kapoor (coming together post AMAR AKBAR ANTHONY) accidently meet in Switzerland.
They both meet singing a Punjabi song “Haye Or Rabba Nahio Lagda Dil Mera” and introduce themselves as Rohit and Lalit assuming each other as Indians, whereas the song they sung happened to be a hugely famous Punjabi Pakistani song sung by the legendary Reshma. But despite the fact about the song’s origin, they both never ask, from where the other person was or how he was singing a Punjabi Pakistani song? 
Because till the mid-90s films were mostly made only for the Indian Territory in particular and Indian films were also banned in Pakistan (since the mid-60s). So the makers didn’t have to think about the foreign territories or wooing the non-Indian audiences adding such clear references. It all later changed post mid-90s with opening of new world markets and Shah Rukh Khan proving to be a big craze overseas, when our filmmakers started writing and conceiving films keeping in mind the immensely potential foreign market too bringing in these kind of strong references.

Even the ban on Indian films in Pakistan got lifted in the first decade of the new millennium only, which again got revived with the recent tension in the ongoing year between the two countries.
Hope you enjoyed reading the lesser known facts related with the classics of our Hindi Cinema. Would soon try to come up with more, so keep visiting and sharing along with your valuable comments providing the much required support to keep it going. 
(With Thanks to Gurwinder Lotay for a valuable timely contribution)

Tags : Vinod Khanna on his films with Amitabh and the original storyline of CHANDNI by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Articles on Cinema by Bobby Sing, Vinod Khanna on Osho, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Khoon Paseena
21 Apr 2019 / Comments ( 8 )
Kanwal Sharma

This is again a sweet and surprising info. I remember I was in my school days then and Chandini was a craze. The songs were just awesome... so that I had saved a BIG 20 rs then from my pocket money to buy that HMV Cassette.

which is still with me. 

Just that HMV during those days was bit expensive when compar d to Tseries which was available for 12 rs I guess. 

Chandni is a cult classic.

Thanks for the article. 

Bobby Sing

Hi Kanwal,
Those were the times soaked in music.
And yes HMV cassettes used to be costly than T-Series which varied anywhere between 12-16 including the pirated ones named T-Series too.
Thanks for your comment and keep visiting and writing in.

Tarun Preet Singh

Chandini and Lamhe had been on my favourites list in my growing up years.

I am surprised with the factual story line of chandini and it may not have gone well with the highly conservative audience of those times.

Personally i like Lamhey more than chandini especially for its bold narrative.

Thanks Bobby for the surprising info.

Cheers 👍

Bobby Sing

Pleasure is all mine Tarunpreet.
Thanks for writing in.
Keep Visiting.

Neel Trivedi

Interesting article. I remember Yash Chopra saying in an interview that Chandni went through multiple changes from script to screen because of various reasons.
One major scene was Vinod Khanna's introduction scene in which he saves Sridevi from fire, clearly written to cash in on Vinod Khanna's image as an action hero. Chopra said he later he replaced that scene with another one as he wanted to keep the film a drama without any action.
Rishi Kapoor also said in his book that he was the one who suggested his character becoming handicapped & asked Chopra to watch Whose Life Is It Anyway for inspiration which Chopra did.

I think Yash Chopra has also mentioned that he felt adding a kid to the story made it a bit too melodramatic (strange considering that most Indian films in those days thrived on melodrama) & hence changed that too.

Most of this information comes from Yash Chopra's interview by Karan Johar, an exclusive extra on the Yash Raj DVDS but now is probably on YouTube as well.

There was a print interview too that I read a few years ago, but unfortunately, don't remember what publication it was for.

Bobby Sing

Thanks a lot for your value addition comment Neel Trivedi.
Will surely look into the interviews if there.
Keep Visiting and Writing in.


Chopra did the right thing as the hindi audience loves a happy ending. VK was basically a glorified special appearance but his last line in the film was eternal.

Bobby Sing

Thanks for your comment Anthony.
Do keep visiting and writing in.


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