Subhash K Jha revisits the classic Silsila and its casting coup

The Silsila Triangle

It was meant to be another triangle all together. Amitabh Bachchan married to Smita Patil in an extra-marital love affair with Parveen Babi. That was the deal.

The cast and crew of Silsila flew to Kashmir for the shooting.

And then something happened. There was a sudden change in the casting. Parveen Babi and Smita Patil were politely told to go home. They were quietly replaced by Rekha and Jaya Bachchan. Apparently this casting coup was suggested to Yash Chopra by the film’s leading man.

Just imagine. Amitabh Bachchan as Man, Jaya Bachchan as Wife and Rekha as the Other Woman. What a drool-worthy cast! But at what cost?

A source closely associated with Silsila says, “That wasn’t a very nice thing to happen. It was all very sudden and improper. We don’t know whose idea it was. We’ve heard it was Bachchan Saab who suggested the change. He even took on the task of persuading Jayaji to come out of retirement to do this one film. Others say it was Yashji’s idea to make the casting more exciting by casting Jayaji and Rekhaji. But only God knows what the truth was. But the way in which Smitaji and Parveenji were packed off, after they began shooting, was highly unprofessional.”

Apparently Parveen Babi never forgave or forgot the snub, and took every opportunity she got to attack Mr Bachchan.

Silsila released and bombed. Lots of people said, Kisski bad-dua lag gayi.

But Yash Chopra felt it was a film ahead of its times. “Silsila was the first film on extra-marital relations to have broken the barriers between offbeat and mainstream cinema. Some films are destined to succeed in retrospect. This was the case with Guru Dutt’s Kagaz Ke Phool. On release it was a disaster. Today it’s a classic. Our business may be called showbiz. But we owe more to society than mere entertainment. We have to make films that would wean audiences away from their mindsets regarding cinematic entertainment.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer and not necessarily those of IWMBuzz. IWMBuzz does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of the information provided herein.

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