Actor Mohnish Bahl, who made his debut in Bollywood with the 1983 film Bekaraar in a supporting role, shot to fame after his villainous portrayal of Jeevan in Salman Khan-Bhagyashree starter ‘Maine Pyaar Kiya’ which completed 31 years last week. 

A series of flops after his first film led Mohnish to believe he wasn’t cut for the movies until of course, Maine Pyaar Kiya happened. 

And while that feeling of unacceptance by the audiences and flops lasted, Mohnish planned on becoming a pilot and getting a commercial license. But then, things changed for the better when he received a call to be cast in the iconic film upon Salman Khan’s recommendation. 

In a recent interview with Times of India, Mohnish, son of legendary actress Nutan, opened up about how Maine Pyaar Kiya changed things for him, his long-standing association with the Bharjatyas and reflected on how superstar Salman has a far better understanding of films than him.

He told Times of India, “By the time I got Maine Pyar Kiya, not only had I started my career but also ended it. I thought I was finished after a few flops and was planning to become a pilot. I was working on getting my commercial flying license as I wanted to get a job in something I like doing – in the aviation sector. Salman Khan and I bumped into each other one day and we became friends. He was also trying to get into the business of filmmaking, so when he got this break in MPK, he recommended my name for the villain’s role.”

“He asked me if I’d be interested in doing the role, and I agreed. It was tricky for me to do a villain’s role back then as I was a flop hero. But any inclination that I had to play a hero was over by then. So I took it on but had never expected that it would be a new lease of life for my career and make me viable even 30 years later. I don’t think even Salman had thought about it,” he added. 

Speaking about how he thought that they weren’t making a good film back in the day, and apparently kept asking Salman how is such  movie going to work, Mohnish said, “With my infinite knowledge of films–considering I had so much experience–I kept telling Salman, ‘ Kaise chalegi yeh picture? Kabootar ke point of view se flashback chal raha hai. Who is the hero of this film?’ He shot back saying, ‘I am.’ I told him he wasn’t and he was perplexed. My explanation was simple: ‘End mein villain ko kaun maarta hai? Kabootar! Kabootar hero hai. Isme hero hai hi nahi.’ (chuckles) Now it seems like a joke but back then, I was, in my all earnestness, telling him, ‘Buddy, this is not the way to go. We are not making a very good film.’

Mohnish was last seen in 2019 film ‘Panipat’ starring Kriti Sanin and Arjun Kapoor, in the role of Balaji Baji Rao. On television, he last appeared on the show ‘Sanjivani’ – a reboot series of Sanjivani-A Medical Boon, as Dr Shashank Gupta. 

Maine Pyaar Kiya is a cult classic directed by Sooraj Barjatya. The film, which was Salman Khan second after ‘Biwi Ho Toh Aisi’, went on to become such a huge hit with the audiences that it was touted the highest-grossing release of 1989.

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