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30 Years of Khalnayak

Written by on August 6, 2023

The action entertainer, Khalnayak (1993), completes 30 years today. Bollywood Hungama had a brief exclusive interaction with Subhash Ghai about the Sanjay Dutt-Madhuri Dixit-Jackie Shroff starrer and his fond memories.

30 Years of Khalnayak EXCLUSIVE Subhash Ghai reveals that it was tough to convince Sanjay Dutt to wear a choli in the male version of 'Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai' “But he enjoyed it thoroughly”

Was it tough to convince Mr Sanjay Dutt to wear a choli in the male version of ‘Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai’?
Yes. The whole concept was funny. My situation demanded that Khalnayak’s gang harass Madhuri Dixit’s character by exposing her own tricks. But I told Sanju on the set and played a re-recorded version of ‘Choli Ke Peeche’. Suddenly, Sanju started laughing. Then I revealed that he needs to wear a choli. But he enjoyed it thoroughly!

What made you have as many as 11 premieres for Khalnayak? How was the response?
I was sure after watching the first edit that we have a great film in hand and that we must celebrate it in the biggest way possible. We decided to have premieres at 10 to 12 theatres in three cities, that is, Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata, with the top ten directors of the industry headed by Shekhar Kapur and Ramesh Sippy. And they all came to Delhi to surprise the audience and spoke about Khalnayak. There were more than 10,000 fans outside each theatre and the response was like never before! We Mumbai directors were united and would participate in each other’s celebrations. That made a lot of difference.

Have you ever visited cinema halls? Do you recall the moments when there were maximum seetis and taalis?
I always visited theatres to watch the reactions to my film scenes and songs. It was so satisfying to watch the audience clapping on songs and crying during the emotional scenes. That’s the best award we directors can receive from the audience.

In an interview in 2016, you revealed that you had initially conceived Khalnayak as a Hollywood film. You had titled it Negatives, which you planned to make in association with Ashok Amritraj. This report states Audie Murphy was to play the notorious criminal (essayed by Sanjay Dutt in Khalnayak) and Omar Sharif the cop (ultimately played by Jackie Shroff). You ultimately didn’t go for it as you felt that you won’t enjoy the autonomous power in Hollywood which you did in India. Nevertheless, had you signed Audie Murphy and Omar Sharif?
No, we did not sign them but we did send our synopsis to their agents and got a positive response from them. It was a different narrative with the same plot as Khalnayak.

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