Bollywood has become a fundamental part of our lives. Every year hundreds of films are released yet there are some films which build the hype and expectation but never turn up. Whether it’s the plot or star cast, many of these films create a lot of murmur even before the release, and sometimes even before the first scene is shot. But time and again, there have been instances where films have failed to get a release or been shelved even before their completion.
1) Chalak (1966)
The film was hailed as Madhubala’s comeback to the celluloid after her struggle with heart illness was to some extent reduced. Madhubala was working with the legendary Raj Kapoor on this venture before her health started to depreciate again. The film had to be abandoned, and was never finished as the actress passed away soon after.
2) Yaar Meri Zindagi (1971)
Commencing before Amitabh Bachchan’s phase of “angry young man” and taking a mammoth 35 years for completion, the film holds the record for the longest delayed project, and continues to gather dust. Shatrughan Sinha was also in the star cast in this Mukul Dutt directorial venture.
3) Apna Paraya (1972)
Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha were paired on screen for the first time but there was no backing for the awkward duo that had to wait for four more years for Do Anjaane to release. Big B had not entered his “angry young man” era and Rekha was a newbie when a few scenes were shot for the film.
4) Sarhad (1976)
5) Gazab (1978)
The film boasted to have one of the biggest star casts helmed by director Manmohan Desai. Nobody came forward to back the finance as it was considered too big in 1970s.
6) Khuda Gawaah (1978)
Big B was slated to play double role, one of a cowboy, in this film titled Khuda Gawaah which couldn’t move beyond a few scenes, but the title was retained by the producer for a 1992 film starring Amitabh Bachchan and Sridevi.
7) Chor Mandali (1983)
This film was alleged to be among the last films Raj Kapoor shot as a hero alongside another legend, Ashok Kumar. The plot revolved around both actors trying to foil a diamond robbery. Even though the film was completed, it was never released due to a dispute. Singers like Kishore Kumar and Mohammad Rafi had lent their vocals for songs in the film.
8) Khabardaar (1984)
Decades before Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya starrer Guzaarish released, there was another movie based on the controversial topic of Euthanasia (mercy killing), Khabardaar. This 1984 movie was left unfinished after 16 reels by the makers fearing a commotion. Amitabh Bachchan was poised to play the role of a doctor and Kamal Haasan the terminally ill patient.
9) Devaa (1987)
Two powerhouse of Indian film industry, Amitabh Bachchan and Subhash Ghai almost collaborated for the first time when the showman had signed the angry young man for a magnum opus based on dacoit. However, after a very prestigious Mahurat, the film failed to take off due to clash of egos between the titans.
10) Alishaan (1988)
This Big B starring swashbuckler was derailed after shooting for a week. The film was based on Scaramouch.
11) Zameen (1988)
A feudal epic starring Vinod Khanna, Sanjay Dutt, Madhuri Dixit and Sridevi was shot on a multi-crore set in Film City but came to a halt after the producers ran out of finance. Ramesh Sippy had shot nearly half of this magnum opus.
12) Shinaakht (1988)
Another Bachchan film, where he was supposed to play the role of a secret agent, never saw a release. Directed by Tinu Anand, Shinaakth also had Madhuri Dixit playing the role of a college girl as the shooting stopped since the plot had striking similarities to another Bachchan film, Gangaa Jamuna Saraswati.
13) Bandhua (1989)
This J.P. Dutta film revolved around the story of bonded labourers starring Amitabh Bachchan. Produced by H.A. Nadiadwala, the film also starred Waheeda Rehman and Pooja Bedi but failed to get started.
14) Zoonie (1989)
Muzaffar Ali was eager to make a biopic on the life of Habba Khatoon but militancy in the region of Kashmir couldn’t take the movie to its desired conclusion. Dimple Kapadia was roped in to play the role of a peasant married to Kashmir’s last independent king.
15) Kalinga (1991)
Thespian Dilip Kumar directorial debut Kalinga dealt with the story of an honest judge and his errant sons. Call it the perfectionism of Dilip Saab, the movie’s shooting went on and on before producer Sudhakar Bokade had to call it off.
16) Time Machine (1992)
Starring Aamir Khan, Raveena Tandon and Naseerudin Shah, this sci-fi film inspired from Back To The Future was completed three fourths before financial constraints had the actors leave the film in the middle whilst director Shekhar Kapur packed his bags and left for Hollywood.
17) Dus (1996)
Mukul Anand’s ambitious venture remained unfinished to his unfortunate death during the shooting. Salman Khan and Sanjay Dutt were slated to play the role of Indian agents and the film was mounted in Utah with the backdrop of India-Pakistan relationships and terrorism. The film also had Raveena Tandon and Shilpa Shetty along with model Rahul Dev making his debut.
18) Ladies Only (1998)
Producer Kamal Haasan did not release the film as he couldn’t get the right price. Based on Jane Fonda’s Nine To Five, the producer had a guest appearance role of a corpse whilst Randhir Kapoor played the main lead of a lecherous boss. Shilpa Shirodkar and Seema Biswas were also a part of the cast.
19) Paanch (2001)
This Anurag Kashyap film got mired in controversies for violence and profanities and met with the scissor of censor board. Although it received the clearance, the producers lost interest and the film never saw the daylight of release. Touted as the best ever “Banned Film”, Paanch starred Kay Kay Menon, Aditya Srivastava, Vijay Maurya and Tejaswini Kolhapure.
20) Let’s Catch Veerapan (2004)
Ram Gopal Verma’s black comedy centred on the life of Veerapan was dumped as the sandalwood smuggler was caught and killed on the first day of its shoot.