Know the truth about the casting of Amjad Khan in classic character, Gabbar in Sholay

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Published by Nibedita Goswami on 01 Jul 2021

Sholay is the classic Hindi film that retains its splendor still now with 46 years. The most prominent character of Gabbar was played by Amjad Khan. It was in the theater where Ramesh Sippy first time saw Amjad Khan when he was looking for the cast of Gabbar. Surprisingly, the character sketch of Gabbar exactly matched with Amjad Khan and the history begins to be made. Till now Jay, Veeru, Basanti, Thakur have remained as the household name.

Taking to PTI about how he got the absolute perfect cast for Gabbar, Ramesh Sippy in 2020, “I remember seeing a play of him (Khan), in which my sister was there, he was very impressive on stage. His face, built, personality, voice everything felt right. We told him to grow beard, got him in the costume, took pictures and he just felt right as a rough-and-tough guy,” Moreover, also reveals that Amjad read Abhishapth Chambal based on Chambal dacoits to prepare himself for the character.

The book Sholay, The Making of a Classic, by Anupama Chopra, exposes that Salim Khan is the one to recommend Amjad’s name to Ramesh Sippy about the cast. As Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar, the writers of the film was helping to find the casts and Danny Denzongpa was the first choice of them as Gabbar. Due to date issues that could not happen. Referring to the extraction of some lines from the book Sholay by runs as,

A few days after Danny left, Salim bumped into Amjad. Salim knew Amjad’s father, and had been visiting their home since Amjad was a little boy. A polite conversation ensued in which Salim asked Amjad about work. There wasn’t much, just bit roles and theatre.

alim had heard about Amjad’s skills as an actor, and physically he seemed to fit the role. ‘I can’t promise you anything,’ he told Amjad, ‘but there is a role in a big film. I’ll take you to the director. Agar aap ko yeh role mil jaaye, aap ki koshish se ya aapki kismat se (If you get this role, whether by luck or effort), I tell you, it is the finest role in this film.’ Amjad seemed to fit the part, but he was unknown.

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