25 years of Sadak: Jackie Shroff was Mahesh Bhatt's first choice for hero Ravi

Shroff had been approached to play the lead, but things did not work out and Sanjay Dutt came on board. On the film's 25th anniversary today (20 December), we take a look at what made Sadak a hit film.

Alex Almeida

When Sadak released on 20 December 1991, Mahesh Bhatt was already a big name. The film included Sanjay Dutt, Pooja Bhatt and Sadashiv Amrapurkar in the lead, and was well supported by Deepak Tijori, Mustaq Khan, Avtar Gill, Pankaj Dheer, Neelima Azeem, Javed Khan and Gavin Packard. 

However, Dutt wasn’t Bhatt's first choice for the role. Jackie Shroff had been approached to play the lead, but things did not work out. After replacing Dutt in films like Hero (1983), Yudh (1985) and Tridev (1989), this was Dutt's chance to replace Shroff. 

The song 'Hum Tere Bin' was recorded with Manhar Udhas who was a regular playback singer for Shroff those days. The music of the film also played a big role in the film's popularity and the soulful music by Nadeem-Shravan and songs by Kumar Sanu were a big hit.

Moreover, the biggest highlight of the film was villain late Amrapurkar who played the evil character of eunuch Maharani who runs a brothel.

This was the very first time that a character of a eunuch was given such a meaty role in Hindi cinema. The character also created history at the Filmfare Awards. In 1992, it was the first time that a category for Best Actor in a Negative Role was introduced even though the awards were started in 1954. Amrapurkar won the award and his dialogue "main aadha mard hu aadhi aurat" came to be remembered for a long time.

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Amrapurkar went on to become famous and his villainous act was then compared to the all-time deadliest villains of Hindi cinema like Gabbar Singh (Amjad Khan in Sholay, 1975), Shakaal (Kulbushan Kharbhanda in Shaan, 1980) and Amrish Puri (Mogambo in Mr India, 1987).

The film had Ravi (Dutt) dealing with the death of his sister Roopa (Soni Razdan). Ravi meets Pooja (Bhatt) at the brothel of Maharani who has forced Pooja into the flesh trade. When Ravi finds out Maharani is behind the death of his sister, he vows to save Pooja from the same fate at any cost.

Some part of the film was similar to a film released a year earlier, Baaghi (1990), in which Salman Khan falls in love with Nagma who has been forced into the flesh trade and later manages to flee after challenging villain Shakti Kapoor.

Maharani's character and the soulful music made Sadak a big hit. This was the second big hit for Dutt and Pooja in the year 1991, while the other hits were Saajan and Dil Hain Ke Manta Nahin, respectively.