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Relevance Etched in Stone

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By Jaideep Sen

It’s often said that good writing can stand the test of time. Its power and relevance can shine through decades later. This thought struck me like a double whammy in the context of the masterful works of Salim Saab and his erstwhile writing partner Javed Akhtar Saab. 


Amitabh Bachchan in Zanjeer
Recently I watched a TV show, where a boy has a nightmare and gets up with a start, in a scene that is reminiscent of the introduction of the adult Vijay in Zanjeer, the film that set off Mr.Amitabh Bachchan on his unending journey of super stardom. It struck me that almost all of Salim Saab and Javed Saab’s writing have helped to create the ‘immortal’ persona for Mr. Bachchan and set him up for till now unseen success.  


Dharmendra in Sholay
The second instance was when later, on the same day,  I watched and heard the hook-line lyrics of a song from the soon to be released Super 30“Basanti, No dance in front of these dogs” – which has been interpreted from the epic Sholay’s memorable dialogue:  Basanti, in kutton ke samne mat nachna.


Two examples in one day have only reinforced my firm belief that the most memorable creative work that has happened in not just Hindi but Indian Cinema has flowed not only from the nib of Salim Saab-Javed Saab’s pen but also from Salim Saab’s individual and independent fertile imagination. 

Sunjay Dutt in Naam
In the recently released super hit,  Simmba,  there is a scene which harks back to one of the most powerful sequences from Naam, filmed on Sanjay Dutt, to underline the brave qualities of a Hero. In Simmba, the same has been reinterpreted to establish the daredevil attitude of the teenager Simmba.


Am still wonder struck that Salim Saab’s Naam which was released in 1986 continues to inspire after all these years. Salim Saab’s Writing has left such permanent footprints on Indian Cinema’s psyche that at a time when we forget entire films within 30 minutes of viewing – and sometimes even 30 seconds – his writing finds resonance  after  32 years (Naam) as in the case of Simmba and his work with Javed Saab (Sholay) after 44 years in the case of Super 30!

Such is the relevance of the Maestros of Writing – one that is forever etched in stone.

Jaideep Sen is a filmmaker and a connoisseur of the art of storytelling. 


Read some of his earlier pieces in this series here...






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