In the last issue you read how Danny Denzongpa had to decline the role of Gabbar Singh due to his commitment to Firoz Khan’s movie DHARMATMA. Hence Ramesh Sippy was in a fix to find a new actor.
Ramesh Sippy in an interview had said, “After Danny declined the role of Gabbar Singh there was a tug of war between Sanjeev Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra all three vying for the role of Gabbar Singh. However I and the writer pair Salim Javed were of the opinion to cast a new actor who could come as a surprise to the viewers.”
Amjad Khan recalling his casting in SHOLAY in an interview said, “I was an active theater actor and Salim, (of Salim Javed) was my good friend. We used to pass our time at Prithiv Theatre. Once Salim told me that Ramesh Sippy is making a movie and there is a crucial role for which he is searching a good actor. So he asked me to meet Ramesh Sippy. I met him in his office but he told me that he had finalized Danny for the role. I was disappointed and returned home.”
He continued, “Days passed away and I began concentrating on my theatre, though I kept visiting film producers offices to try my luck in films, but in vain. One day to my delight Salim Khan came to my residence and told me that Danny has declined the role and Ramesh Sippy wished to meet me. Incidentally the same day my wife had labor pain and was rushed to hospital for delivery. But she urged me to go and meet Ramesh Sippy. I went reluctantly on her plea.”
He added, “I cannot forget the day 20 September 1973. It turned out the luckiest day of my life because Ramesh Sippy finalized me for the role of Gabbar Singh in SHOLAY by paying me a handsome signing amount; on the other hand my wife Shehla gave birth to a son, our first child, Shadaab Khan.”