From the Mighty Khan Family
Movies lighten our hearts and enlighten our day. Some movies make us laugh, some make us cry, but at the end of the day, it fills us with a magical potion that makes us energetic. Francis Ford Coppola once said- “I think cinema, movies, and magic have always been closely associated. The very earliest people who made films were magicians”.
Working out magic in the world of dullness; Image Source: Bollywood Hungama

Born on 24th November 1935

For centuries, society has influenced movies, and movies, in turn, influence society. Though often said to be an interrelated process, movies and men are regarded as the voice of the society that resonates with each other. However, the world of movies could have never come into existence without storylines or plots. If no story writers were imagining the story backstage of their mind, there would have been no action-packed or romantic movies streaming in the theatres. The true inspiration behind films are real-life situations, but the backbone behind these films is none other than the screenwriter who boggles their minds to form some of the best stories.

One such man who revolutionized Indian cinema in the 1970s transformed Bollywood and brought in a new concept of Bollywood blockbuster, whose contribution in the form of genres like masala films and Dacoit Western, brought a whole new era in the movie industry, he is none other than the senior-most member of the Khan family, Salim Abdul Rashid Khan.

Salim was born in Indore, which was a princely state of British India. Belonging to an affluent family, Salim’s grandfather, Anwar Khan was an Alakozai Pashtun who had migrated from Afghanistan to India in the 1850s and joined the British Indian army. Eventually, the Khan family had to look out for government jobs to have a stable financial life. However, Salim’s life was not easy-going as he lost his parents by the time he had reached 14 years of age. He lost his mother when he was only nine. Before her death, she had been suffering from tuberculosis for four years due to which none of the children were allowed to come near her. His father, Abdul Rashid Khan, who was a DIG at Indore, too died when Salim was fourteen.

Two months after his father’s death, Salim gave his matriculation exam and passed successfully. Later on, with his elder brother’s financial help and excess of the family fortune, he was enrolled in the Holkar College where he completed his BA. His family’s substantial wealth helped him buy a car which he often took to college. Not only did he exceed in sports like cricket, but was also trained as a pilot. Due to his charming attitude and good looks, he received encouragement from friends to try his hands at acting.

The acting phase finally started in 1960 when Salim was spotted by the film director, K. Amarnath. Salim accepted the offer and went ahead to live in a rented apartment in Mumbai. However, the film did not make a huge success after its release. The usual struggle to reach the top actors' tier started as he began working under the name, Prince Salim. Acting in several films as a supporting actor, his rank was finally reduced to B-grade. Though he played many minor roles, he was never appreciated for them.

After working in almost 25 films, Abdul finally realized that he “was not cut out to be an actor because I lacked the act of projection. But by then it was too late- how could I have gone back to Indore?” Since there were no film offers, Salim was practically off the financial track. Shifting his focus from the realm of acting, he decided to restraint his career to scriptwriting. He initially started working as an assistant writer to Abrar Alvi.

Bollywood has witnessed the magical scriptwriter duo, Salim-Javed. Salim and Javed met for the first time on the set of Sarhadi Lootera. During those days, Javed worked as a clapper boy, but he was later made a dialogue writer by S.M. Sagar. Salim started working as an assistant director under Abrar Alvi's guidance while Akhtar assisted Kaifi Azmi. It turned out that Abrar and Kaifi were neighbours and in turn, Javed and Salim met each other a lot and together formed a scriptwriting team which came to be known as Salim-Javed. While Salim used to form stories and plots, Javed had the job of developing dialogues and song lyrics. Javed clarified in an interview that Rajesh Khanna had given them their first break as scriptwriters. With more than twenty films under the Salim-Javed banner, they were often described as “the most successful scriptwriters of all time.”

Salim-Javed: The scriptwriters who changed the horizon of Bollywood; Image Source: Scroll

Salim and Javed were credited for making some notable changes in the scriptwriting industry and the way writers were perceived in the Bollywood town. Until the 1970s, scriptwriters were not given the respect and credit that they deserved. But the coming of the powerful duo changed the entire scenario. Their scripts were so successful that they had the power to make demands from the filmmakers. They demanded to be paid more than the usual amount, ensured that they were included in the entire film-making process, and were given the required credit that they deserved.

It is also said that there was an instrumental role of Salim in Amitabh Bachchan’s career. Amitabh was just a struggling actor before Khan spotted him and cast him in lead roles along with introducing him to directors like Prakash Mehra and Manmohan Desai.

After splitting from Javed, Salim wrote many more scripts of several successful films like AngaarayNaamKabza, and Jurm. The last film for which he wrote was Baghban. Upon his son, Salman Khan’s request, he wrote the speech that Amitabh Bachchan gave at last in Baghban.

Salim had initially married Sushila Charak and had four children: Salman, Arbaaz, Sohail, and Alvira. Once again in 1981, he married Helen Richardson, and together, they adopted a girl named Arpita. Today, he lives with his children and wife, Shushila. From showing his awe-inspiring acting skills to writing some of the most amazing scripts, Salim Khan was solely made for the B-Town, a town with glamour and glitz, where he brought in some beautiful emotions.

Priyanka Rout Author
Neither am I gifted nor mentally bright. Just casually curious. I’m the girl who has her headphones over her ear, phone in her hands, and that mysterious guy from the pale pages of history in mind.

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