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Salman comes to Sameer's rescue

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By: Upala KBR, Mid-Day
Friday, October 27, 2006
The music of Ravi Chopra's Babul released yesterday. And although lyricist Sameer's name features in the credits, he had almost lost the project to Javed Akhtar but managed to hold on to it courtesy Salman Khan.

Sallu's ultimatum

Ravi Chopra was considering replacing lyricist Sameer (friend of Salman's dad Salim Khan) with Javed Akhtar. Apparently it was Amitabh Bachchan (also acting in Babul) who recommended close friend Akhtar's name. When Salman heard about Sameer being replaced he gave an ultimatum that if lyricist was repalced, he too would walk out of the film.

Adds a source close to Salman, "When Salman heard about Sameerji being replaced, he was very upset and rushed over to Ravi Chopra and told him if Sameer was replaced, he wouldn't do the film. Chopra had to back down and take Sameer."

Sameer has been the Khan's family friend for over 20 years and had introduced the actor in his first film, Biwi Ho Toh Aisi. When contacted, Sameer sounded hesitant, "I can't comment on this. The best person to ask would be Mr Ravi Chopra as I don't know the real story. I had heard there was something cooking and there was talk of me being replaced by Javedsaab but I don't want to comment."

He adds, "My association with Mr BR Chopra's banner goes back a long way. I have done Mr B R Chopra's Aaj Ki Awaaz and Mr Ravi Chopra's Baghban too."

Old rishtaa

About his association to the 'Khan'daan he says, "I am very close to Salimji. He has always supported and encouraged me through my struggling days.

Salimji was very close to my father Anjaan also. I have learnt a lot from the Khan family. I had written the lyrics for Salman's Baaghi and introduced Salman for his first film, Biwi Ho To Aisi. I was writing the lyrics for the film when Salman asked me to introduce him to the director, J K Bihari, as he wanted to act in the film. Mr Bihari met Salman in Mehboob and liked him. He told me that Salman is a very good-looking guy but the role he had for Salman was very small, would Salman do it? But Salman accepted it."

He claims not to know about Salman backing his name for Baabul but says, "That's the kind of person Salman is. I wouldn't be surprised if he has intervened on my behalf. He helps people but doesn't show that he has done so.

Salman's greatness lies in the fact that his deeds are always hidden. If he likes someone he will do anything for him. We rarely meet but whenever we do Salman treats me with respect. He is one of the finest human beings I know."

Ravi Chopra however chooses to deny the charge, "There is no truth to it. Sameer has been giving lyrics to our banner for a long time and Aadesh Srivastava has been giving the music. Javed Akhtar too feigns ignorance about the matter. "This is the first time I'm hearing about it.

Different people think of different names before the beginning of a film and ultimately decide on something else. Some people might have considered my name and taken somebody else's but how would I know about it?"

Sameer's biography

Sameer's biography will be a bilingual - the Hindi one, Safarnama has been written by Arun Kumar Shastri while the English one, A Way With Words has been written by Derek Bose.

Says Sameer, who has written 5000 songs in 500 films, "It is the journey of my life right from my childhood and narrates my experiences, including my struggling days as a lyricist. Whatever I learnt was from my father, Anjaan, who was also a lyricist. The biography is my tribute to him."

Amitabh Bachchan will be releasing Sameer's biographical book release tomorrow. Sameer's next releases will be Baabul, Salaam-E-Ishq, Dhoom 2 and Hey Baby.

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