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Here's why Aamir refused to star with Amitabh in Indra Kumar's Rishta

Bachchan and Khan will be seen together on the big screen for the first time in Thugs Of Hindostan. At the film's trailer launch, the actors spoke about the project they were supposed to star in together in the 1990s.

Photo: Shutterbugs Images

Mayur Lookhar

Amitabh Bachchan is a veteran, a legend of the Hindi film industry, while Aamir Khan, Hindi cinema's 'Mr Perfectionist', has delivered hits one after the other in the last two decades.  

However, Bachchan and Khan were never seen together on the big screen until director Vijay Krishna Acharya cast them in the action-adventure Thugs Of Hindostan. The much-awaited trailer of the film was released today (27 September).

A day before the trailer launch, Khan had posted a tweet saying it is a dream come true for him to be seen alongside Bachchan on the same poster.

While, there was no dearth of offers for the two actors to star together, the proposed projects never materialised. One such film, announced to star both Khan and Bachchan, was director Indra Kumar’s Rishta.

At the trailer launch of Thugs Of Hindostan, the duo was asked whether they were offered a film together. Bachchan replied in the affirmative and cheekily pointed out that it was Khan who turned such films down.

“The truth is that, we were offered many films, but bhaisaab [referring to Aamir] turned them down. it is my saubhagya [luck] that now I get to work with him,” Bachchan said.

To this, Khan replied, saying, “Now that Mr Bachchan had said it, I wouldn’t deny it. I’d like to remind that we were offered Indra Kumar’s film Rishta. It was announced years ago. Unfortunately, due to various reasons that film couldn’t be made. Indu [Indra Kumar] moved into a different life. Since that day, I have been waiting for this opportunity. I don’t have the courage to say no to him [Bachchan].”

Bachchan, who was in a jovial mood, appeared to be praising Khan, albeit in a tongue-in-cheek manner.

"I’d like to say that Aamir Khan is not just Aamir Khan. He is a producer-writer, director, music director, distributor, marketing genius, exhibitor and also a screenplay writer. After that, he is a brilliant actor. To compete with him is tough. All along, I have been telling him, 'Brother, please direct a film and offer me some small role, but he hasn’t agreed yet. I have even given him 2-3 ideas. He said I’ll think and many years have passed by,' Bachchan said, evoking laughter from the audience.

So why did Khan really quit Rishta? Back in the late 1990s, Kumar had announced the film and a press conference was lined up, too.

Cinestaan.com spoke to journalist-turned-PR professional Dale Bhagwagar, who attended the mahurat of the film two deacdes ago. He recalled an incident, which, perhaps, could have been the reason for Khan opting out of the film.

“I don’t recollect the exact date, but it was perhaps around 1995-1996. I was working for Cine Blitz magazine then. There was this mahurat held at Film City, Goregaon. The director, Bachchan and Khan were all present there. But, for some strange reason Aamir appeared reluctant to pose with Bachchan.

When a group picture was to be taken on stage, the cast and crew members gathered, but Aamir stood a few people away from Bachchan. The photographers kept on asking him to get besides Bachchan, as they were the casting coup, but he hardly budged. He finally did pose with him, but just for a few seconds and then moved away,” Bhagwagar said.

According to the source, Khan supposedly became too conscious of his height and felt he won't look great standing alongside a towering Bachchan. “Aamir appeared to be very conscious of his height. I spotted that he was wearing these high heel shoes, perhaps 2-3 inche in height. He looked uncomfortable at posing with Bachchan,” he added.

We tried calling Indra Kumar, but he was unable for comments.

In an earlier interview with Rediff.com, Kumar had cited Ishq (1997) as the reason for Rishta not taking off. While Rishta was to bring together Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit Nene and Khan together for the first time, Ishq starred Aamir Khan, Ajay Devgn, Kajol and Juhi Chawla.

“I don't know who gave the film the name Rishta. As far as I know, it was an untitled film. People just named it and it caught on. It never took off really. It was a film with Aamir, Madhuri and Amitji. It didn't happen because I was busy making Ishq (1997) then. I thought I couldn't manage two films at the same time. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to do justice to Amitji's role,” Kumar had said during the interview.

With the Indra Kumar film shelved, Bachchan signed a film with Mehul Kumar. He has worked with Kumar in two films – Mrityudaata (1997) and Kohram (1999).

Indra Kumar had also claimed that he wanted to revive the project after completing Ishq, but things had changed by then.

“I told him [Bachchan] that, and he made a film with Mehul Kumar. Finally, when I wanted to start the film again, things had changed. So we got busy again with our commitments and didn't make the film.

It was unfortunate that I couldn't work with such a great actor. But, I definitely plan to make that film. In fact, I want to make it desperately. It was my bad luck that despite the film generating so much interest it fell through. There is a saying that god always keeps one bit of all good luck with him. I plan to grab that too and make it happen,” Kumar added.

Sadly, the project never took off, and the attempt to bring together Bachchan and Khan met fruition only two decades later. Thugs Of Hindostan, a Yash Raj Film’s project, is set to be released on 8 November 2018.