Silsila (film)

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See also Silsilay for a 2005 film with a similar title
Directed by Yash Chopra
Produced by Yash Chopra
Written by Mrs. Preeti Bedi
Yash Chopra
Sagar Sarhadi
Romesh Sharma
Starring Amitabh Bachchan
Shashi Kapoor
Jaya Bachchan
Sanjeev Kumar
Kulbhushan Kharbanda
Music by Shiv-Hari
Cinematography Kay Gee
Edited by Keshav Naidu
Distributed by Yash Raj Films
Release dates
  • 29 July 1981 (1981-07-29)
Running time 183 mins
Country India
Language Hindi
Box office INR70 million (US$1.1 million)[1]

Silsila is a 1981 Hindi romantic drama film directed by Yash Chopra. The film stars Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Sanjeev Kumar, Rekha and Kulbhushan Kharbanda, with Shashi Kapoor in a special appearance. It is said to be loosely inspired by the alleged real life love triangle of Amitabh-Jaya-Rekha, which was the most talked about affair back then.[2] On his last birthday, Yash Chopra revealed that he originally wanted to cast Parveen Babi and Smita Patil opposite Bachchan, but after consulting him, he chose to cast Jaya Bhaduri and Rekha in their respective roles.[3][4]

This was also the last film to feature Rekha with Amitabh Bachchan, putting an end to this popular on-screen pair and their rumored off-screen affair, forever. The film did only average business at the box office, much below than expectations. Over the years, however, it has gained strong cult following and today it is considered as a classic love triangle. The film is remembered for the powerful and everlasting performances of all of its leading characters. Yash Chopra considered this film (along with Lamhe), as his most favorite. The Music became a "superhit" upon the release of the film and is still as popular.


Orphaned at very young age, brothers Shekhar Malhotra (Shashi Kapoor) and Amit Malhotra (Amitabh Bachchan) are survivors and lead independent lives with Shekhar being a Squadron Leader with the Indian Air Force, and Amit an emerging writer. Shekhar has fallen in love with lovely Shobha (Jaya Bachchan), while Amit woos attractive Chandni (Rekha). Amit finds professional success as playwright in Delhi with a successful premier and launch in the literati circles. This decisively wins Chandni for Amit, and they share a brief courtship period.

Chandni's parents almost arrange her wedding when they learn of her love for Amit. Both brothers plan to marry together. But Shekhar is killed in air combat against PAF, leaving behind a devastated and pregnant Shobha. Taking pity on Shobha's plight, Amit marries her and writes to Chandni to forget him. This news breaks Chandni's heart, and she goes on to marry Dr. V.K. Anand (Sanjeev Kumar), who is in love with her.

Tragedy strikes once more, and Shobha loses her child in a car accident. With no child to bind them together, Amit and Shobha drift apart. Amit happens to meet Chandni and they secretly rekindle their romance. They meet on the sly, until one day when Chandni accidentally hits a passerby. The police get involved, but Amit manages to hush the matter up. But their meetings will no longer be secret for the police inspector in charge of this accident is none other than Shobha's cousin (played by Kulbhushan Kharbanda), who is determined to expose Amit's affair with Chandni. Soon Amit decides that he can no longer continue this loveless marriage and wishes to reconcile with Chandni. This news shatters Shobha but she does not lose hope. She believes that if her love is true he will return to her. Amit and Chandni leave town to start a new life elsewhere but tragedy strikes. Anand's plane crashes causing both to return to the wreckage site. There Amit is confronted with Shobha who, in an emotional turmoil, reveals that she is expecting his child. There Chandni herself realises her love for her husband. The film ends with a song portraying Amit and Shobha living happily with a message "Love is faith and faith is forever".



The music director was Shiv-Hari, and the lyrics were by Javed Akhtar. The song "Rang Barse Bhige Chunar wali" is said to be one of India's best known folk songs.[5] Its lyrics were by poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan.[6] The song "Dekha Ek Kwaab" was shot in the Keukenhof tulip gardens in The Netherlands[7] and some parts in Pahalgam.[8] According to music expert Rajesh Subramanian the tune of 'Neela aasman so gaya' was actually composed by Shammi Kapoor. Kapoor made Bachchan hear it on the sets of Zameer. Bachchan suggested it to Yash Chopra and the latter incorporated it in Silsila.

Song Singer (s)
"Dekha Ek Khwab" Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar
"Yeh Kahaan Aa Gaye Hum" Amitabh Bachchan, Lata Mangeshkar
"Rang Barse Bhige Chunar wali" Amitabh Bachchan
"Ladki Hai Ya Shola" Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar
"Sar Se Sarke" Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar
"Neela Aasman" - part 1 Amitabh Bachchan
"Neela Aasman" - part 2 Lata Mangeshkar
"Jo Tum Todo Piya" Lata Mangeshkar
"Khudse Jo Waada Kiya" Pamela Chopra
"Bahan Jinah Di Pakdiye" Rani Harban Singh and Party


"The marriage is a very, very sacred institution in India, and when the director created sympathy for the two lovers who were willing to go outside their marriage and continue their love affair, he didn't carry the audience with him"[9] - Pamela Chopra, wife of director Yash Chopra.

Silsila did not do well at the box office, grossing just INR70 million (US$1.1 million), but since has achieved a cult status among Indian audiences.[1][10][11] In an 1996 interview, director Chopra's wife Pamela Chopra commented on the financial disappointment calling the film a "tad bit extra different".[9]


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