Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Chand Ka Tukda (1994)

Its amazing how good Sridevi and Salman Khan looked together in the awful, awful film Chand Ka Tukda (1994)! How this poorly executed film came together is far more interesting than the film itself. But barely, so bare with me:

Following the wildly (and surprising!) successful run of Sanam Bewafaa (1991), the Muslim social released during Eid, Khan and Saawan Kumar Tak (director/producer/writer) wanted to collaborate on a follow-up. The lead actress of Sanam Bewafaa was the one-hit wonder Chandni who within two years, quit the scene after failing to attain star status in her ensuing films (which included highly forgettable appearances in Mr.Azaad, 1942 - A Love Story and Aaja Sanam). 

The hunt for a lead actress was on; Saawan Kumar Tak did countless auditions, there were major adverts put in the papers for a 'chand ka tukda' and yet both parties [Salman Khan had a major say by then on who his co-star would be] couldn't reach an agreement on the heroine.

Meanwhile, Lamhe was released where Sridevi played a college grad in the latter half of the film. Though the film didn't do much at the box-office in India, the movie garnered a cult-like following and many within the industry absolutely loved it - including Tak and Khan. Sridevi's performance was a tour-de-force, an award-winning stint that yet again proved she was an actress beyond compare.

Sridevi, Amitabh Bachchan and Salman Khan
at the launch of Chand Ka Tukda
Salman Khan wanted to work with his favourite actress Sridevi - who was also a firm favourite of Khan's mother Sushila Charak Khan. Tak originally thought it wouldn't work as Sridevi was older than Salman - albeit by only three years -  and when he saw the stunning actress at an event, he was convinced the two would look great together. And they did. A photo-shoot was done with the two, a screen-test of sorts, and the images were released to the media and caused a sensation. The hottest Khan in the horizon with the Queen of Bollywood, there was genuine interest in the trade.Both signed the dotted line and a grand 'mahurat' [first shot] was canned where Amitabh Bachchan took the first take.

As Sridevi said in film magazines, both director and actor chased her down to star in the film. With a title role, a popular, rising star and in the wake of Sanam Bewafaa's massive success at the box-office, there were few reasons to decline the offer. Sri accepted.

Tragically, the unscripted film (odd considering Saawan Kumar Tak is a fine writer and excellent lyricist) was a royal mess that took long in the making and crashed at the box-office. A double whammy followed as Chandramukhi - written by Salman Khan no less! - was released within weeks and also bombed; thereby ending any film with Sri and Salman.

Now despite how awful, awful the films were - hate to repeat ourselves but there we are - a film with Salman and Sridevi today would be a different ballgame altogether. As images of recent events show, Salman and Sridevi still look phenomenal together. Both are solid superstars and enact whatever parts they are given with an elan like no other. If a brave producer, with a deft director and a strong script come together, the alchemy could make box-office gold. Salman Khan at the moment is unstoppable at the box-office and as Sridevi's recent successes have shown, her fan-following aura and mastery of the craft remain undiminished.

Here's one for wishful thinking.

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