Considering his better –half Jaya Bhaduri was one of Gulzar’s all-time favourite actors(“Jaya and Tabu are the two actresses who heralded a new phase in Indian cinema,” Gulzar Saab had once told me) amd considering he did innumerable memorable films with Gulzar’s mentor Hrishikesh Mukherjee, why has Amitabh Bachchan never worked with Gulzar Saab?
Strange , isn’t it? And to think they came THAT close to working together! The film was Mausam and Gulzar Saab had signed Jaya and Amitabh to play the lead.Jaya was to play the double role of mother and daughter while Mr Bachchan was to step into the part of the man who betrays the mother and tries to atone for his sin by embracing the daughter.
Loosely based on A J Cronin’s classic novel The Citadel and also on Hindi litterateur Dharmvir Bharti’s story Agamee Ateet, Mausam had masterpiece written all over it.
So what went wrong? Why was the original lead pair Amitabh and Jaya dropped in favour of Sanjeev Kumar and Sharmila Tagore?Gulzar Saab would never tell. But a source in the know tells me even the Bachchans are clueless to this day.
“They(AB and JB) were on board. Roles, costumes, dates everything was discussed. Suddenly they were out. Haribhai and Sharmilaji were in.What happened? To this day we don’t know,” says the source.The film won Sharmila Tagore a National award for best actress.