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Even after so many years, Sanjeev Kumar's films still continue to hold a special place in our hearts. There was always something endearing and inspiring about the roles he played in his movies. He defined the conventions of Hindi film heroes and stood out among the galaxy of stars in the film industry. In a short life span, Sanjeev Kumar played a diverse range of roles that carried its own charm and enigma.
On his 80th birth anniversary today, we take a look back at the roles which the actor wished/ had turned down to play on the celluloid. Some of the names will leave you shocked-
Gabbar Singh In Sholay
Sanjeev Kumar loved the role of the dreaded dacoit Gabbar Singh when he was narrated the script of Sholay by director duo Salim-Javed and wanted to play it. However the actor had inhibitions about violence inflicted by the character in the film and wanted to have it toned down. Eventually the role landed in Amjad Khan's lap and India got one of its most iconic villains of all times.
Jailer Raghuvir Singh In Kaalia
The actor was supposed to play the role of Jailer Raghuvir Singh. However, a disagreement between him and director Tinnu Anand led Pran into stepping into his shoes.
Rana Bhojraj In Meera
In an interview with Filmfare magazine in 1978, Sanjeev Kumar had revealed, "Gulzar wanted me for a major role in Meera but I turned it down. At the time, there was some tension between the heroine and me. Hema (Malini) you know. So I turned the film down. Now of course, there is nothing between us." The role was later played by Vinod Khanna.
BV Pradhan In Saaransh
The role was originally written for Sanjeev Kumar. However Anupam Kher went out of his way to make sure that he got this role, and managed to convince director Mahesh Bhatt that he would be the best choice for this film.
Ghalib In Mirza Ghalib
Gulzar wanted to make a biopic on celebrated poet Mirza Ghalib. However the film never happened. Instead, he made it into a TV series with Naseeruddin Shah playing the lead. Speaking about it, Shah was later quoted as saying by thefridaytimes.com, "He (Sanjeev Kumar) was all wrong for that role, I mean he was a Gujarati, how can you cast him for a role like that? I should have been in that role. So I wrote to Gulzar Bhai saying he couldn't cast Sanjeev Kumar for that role, he needed to cast me and of course I never heard back, this was when I was still a relative unknown and later Gulzar Bhai told me he never got the letter which was probably just as well."