Balraj Sahni as Arjun, Chetan Anand as Lord Krishna?!
On the occasion of Padam Shri Balraj Sahni aka Yudhishthir Sahni – the epitome of natural flawless acting birthday today, we at cineblues nostalgia bring to you a rare trivia were the master of subdued intensity and striking screen personality – Balraj Sahni was offered the role of Arjuna and guess what? the role of Krishna was offered to the less sung genius of Indian cinema – Chetan Anand (Neecha Nagar, Aakhri Khat, Haqeeqat etc) .
The story goes like this…
On receiving a letter, Balraj Sahni reached Kashmir. Balraj Sahni was asked to enter a small make up room and after the makeup, a small photo session took place.
After the photo session, Balraj Sahni was supposed to meet the then Shalimar Studios fame filmmaker W.J. Ahmed.
Hours went by but no sign of any meeting taking place. This irked the professional ethos of Balraj Sahni who has returned from his stint as Hindi radio announcer at BBC-London.
Finally, after a long four hours wait, Balraj Sahni met W.J Ahmed.
W.J Ahmed was sitting in his room with photographs of Balraj Sahni that where taken during the morning.
W.J. Ahmed gave him an offer saying that he wants to make Mahabharata were he wants Balraj Sahni to play Arjun while Lord Krishna will be played by Chetan Anand.
W.J Ahmed offered Rs one thousand as monthly salary to Balraj Sahni as his acting renumeration.
It must be recalled that during those days’ actors where paid monthly salaries by producers.
Balraj Sahni who was irked by the lack of professionalism on the part of W.J Ahmed – making him wait for hours refused the offer and said that he expected an apology form W.J Ahmed for wasting his precious time first before making any offer.
Balraj Sahni further said that he came to Kashmir only to work with Chaetan Anand as he thought that Chetan is making a movie.
Refusing the offer, Balraj Sahni came out from the room and after some time saw Chetan Anand coming out from the same room where he met W.J. Ahmed.
Chetan Anand was unaware what happened between Balraj Sahni and W.J Ahmed and after hearing Balraj Sahni out, Chetan innocently said that he has signed the contract.
But on seeing Balraj Sahni upset, Chetan rushed back to W. J Ahmed and urged him to tear the contract papers.
W.J Ahmed didn’t agree to tear the contract papers but assured that he won’t pressurise Chetan to obey the contract.
So, if Balraj Sahni would have tolerated the filmmaker producer W.J Ahmed’s unprofessionalism and disrespect for time and signed the contract, we would have seen him as Arjun and Chetan Anand as Lord Krishna.
But for a true actor, a gentleman and responsible human who values the importance of time and keeps a deserving high self-esteem, his decision is a great lesson as his acting skills on screen.
A very Happy Birthday to the actor par excellence – Garam Hawa, Waqt, Do Bheega Zameen, just to name a few.
Please Note: The above write up is taken from renowned Late journalist Ramesh Sinha’s Hindi Bollywood collection
Aa Se Amitabh
Kha Se Khayyam
(It’s rewritten in English by Vishal Verma with due permission from Late Journalist Ramesh Sinha’s family)