When Dharmendra Wanted To Play Thakur In ‘Sholay’, Director Told Him Sanjeev Kumar Would Play Veeru And Be Paired With Hema Malini

Dharmendra, Who Played The Role Of Veeru, Was Deeply In Love With Basanti, Played By Hema Malini

Sholay is recognized as one of the most iconic films in Indian cinema, earning appreciation from all corners. Every character in the movie, whether it’s Thakur, Jai, Veeru, or Basanti, fits seamlessly into the story. However, what truly steals the spotlight is the villainous character of Gabbar Singh, portrayed by Amjad Khan. His portrayal of Gabbar is widely regarded as one of the best villainous performances in cinematic history.

On the other hand, Dharmendra, who played the role of Veeru, was deeply in love with Basanti, played by Hema Malini. Interestingly, Dharmendra initially wanted to play the role of Thakur. According to trivia from IMDB, the role of Thakur was originally given to Sanjeev Kumar. However, Dharmendra was eager to take on that role. Director Ramesh Sippy then informed him that Sanjeev Kumar would portray Veeru if Dharmendra played Thakur, and he would also get to be paired with the heroine. At the time, Sanjeev Kumar had proposed to marry Hema Malini. Given Dharmendra’s affection for her, he swiftly returned to playing the role of Veeru.

Released on August 15, 1975, “Sholay” faced initial setbacks during its release, being labeled a flop by many. According to an old report by Glamsham, Sholay’s co-writer, Salim Khan, addressed this issue in a previous interview. He confirmed, “Yes, it is true that when the movie was released, Bollywood trade pundits had written it off. In fact, a series of analytical articles were published in trade magazines, probing the reasons behind the movie’s perceived failure.”

Despite the negative reception, Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar remained confident in “Sholay.” Salim Khan further explained, “But Javed Sahib and I were so sure of the movie’s success that in response to the negative reports, we published a full-page advertisement in all trade magazines, declaring that the movie would achieve Rs. 1 crore business in each territory of India.”

Actually, our prediction too was wrong, because the movie did not do 1 Crore business… But it did more than 2 crores of business in each territory of India!”, he conluded.

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