29th December 1989, a new movie starring new comers and a debutant director released. It was the last Friday of the ’80s and a new decade was barely 48 hours away. Satyam Theatre in Prabhadevi was running to a packed house, as the music of this film was a runaway success.
As the 3 pm show ended, people in the theatre realized that the unassuming lanky actor who was the hero of the film was also in the audience gauging reactions. There was sudden uproar and frenzy, they ran behind this young boy and chased him on the roads till his car sped away. That boy was Salman Khan, and the film that released on the last Friday of the 80’s was Maine Pyar Kiya.
What bigger a birthday gift could have a young actor asked for. As the movie lives on two-and-a-half-decades after its release as the highest grossing movie of the year and among the highest grossing movie of the decade having given birth to among the biggest stars in Indian cinema history, the story behind the movie is quite interesting.
The movie had released on 29 screens across the entire country and from thereon built enough to manage the kind of numbers it did. Salman was recommended by an aspiring actress Shabina Dutt to director Sooraj Barjatya after she was rejected herself for the role of the lead actress.
Seeing the movie’s super success it was dubbed in English as ‘When Love Calls’ and it landed up being an all- time record breaking film across the Caribbean where it dominated all-time collections in Guyana and Trinidad. It’s Spanish dubbed version titled ‘Te Amo’ ran for 10 weeks in Lima (Peru) alone, a feat still unbeaten by an Indian film.
It was lead actor Salman Khan who recommended Mohnish Behl for the part of Jeevan. Legendary actress Nutan wasn’t convinced that her son Mohnish should be launched as an anti hero in his first film, it was director Sooraj Barjatya who convinced her that this film would not typecast her son as a villain and he would benefit in the long run, which he did.
Faraaz Khan who was launched in Vikram Bhatt’s successful Fareb (1996) was initially signed to play Prem, unfortunately he felt very ill before the shooting and had to be replaced in the film, by Salman Khan. This was among the most popular films when it came to its costumes and styling becoming a rage. There was a time where the ‘Friends’ cap used in the film was the highest selling accessory in the entire country.
Contrary to popular belief this was not lead actress Bhagyashree’s first tryst with acting. She had starred in Amol Palekar’s TV show Kachchi Dhoop starring actor turned film maker Ashutosh Gowariker. The actress who played the Seema, the quintessential vamp never starred in another film again.