The great partnership of Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar during the ’70s led to some of the most iconic and intense films Bollywood has ever produced – Sholay, Zanjeer, Mr India and Don, to name a few. Pair terminated their partnership in 1982 12 years later, and the reasons behind it have always been a mystery.
In an earlier interview to Adi, Salim Khan recalled how the matter came about. “Every box has an expiry date – there was one. One evening we were near Javed’s house when Javed told me that he wanted to separate, that he had been thinking about it for some time. I got up, shook his hand and started walking towards my car. He also started walking with me, but I grabbed him, drove him towards my house and said, ‘I can take care of myself.’ I came back home and didn’t tell anyone about it. The next evening, calls started pouring in asking about the partition. I asked Javed if he had told anyone, he said only a few friends know. It was only after a few days that I announced partition. “
But what was the reason for ending such a wonderful and successful association? One possible reason was that Javed Akhtar, who was also a lyricist, wanted to expand his partnership in this area as well. “Javed wanted to use this partnership to start writing songs as well. I did not consent to the use of my name for something I was not interested in and about which I knew nothing. I told him to confine the partnership to script-writing, while he could write songs on his own. Explained to Salim Khan.
While Javed was better prepared for Partition and did films with Ramesh Sippy, Rahul Rawail, Yash Chopra and Subhash Ghai in the years following Partition, Salim was caught on the wrong foot. He went to London for a long rest, and upon his return he could hardly find any work. “When I returned, it was the telephone that reminded me how easily people forget. There was a time when I would make my drink, and then let the phone off the hook. And here I was checking the phone from time to time whether it was working or not.” Then Salim commented.
His next film after Shakti – credited to Salim-Javed – was Naam which came out after 4 years. It was quite a comeback and established him in the industry once again. Amitabh said in an interview that the intensity of Salim-Javed never caught on again, “It’s a shame that they parted ways, they were truly unbeatable. Too often, the media speculates – what will happen Amitabh Bachchan Without Salim-Javed? In fact, once they parted I never got that kind of intensity again, that power was missing. “
Salim Khan’s son Arbaaz Khan addressed the rift with Javed Akhtar’s son Farhan Akhtar during his show Pinch. Speaking about the Salim Khan-Javed Akhtar separation, Farhan said, “I find it unbelievable that whatever happened between Salim sahab and us, never happened to us. I never knew when the split happened. As the years passed, I noticed that Salim sahab was not coming home and we were not going to his house.” Arbaaz said that this rift did not come between him and Farhan as they were always on good terms. The two agreed that neither of them knew what went wrong with the popular writer duo, who churned out some of Bollywood’s most iconic films.