Mohnish Bahl’s claim to fame was Sooraj Barjatya’s Maine Pyar Kiya in 1989, and multiple collaborations with the filmmaker followed with blockbusters like Hum Aapke Hain Koun, Hum Saath Saath Hain, and Vivah.
The actor spoke about how he thought his career was over and he decided to become a pilot. He also spoke about how Salman Khan asked him to audition for Maine Pyar Kiya and how he found success again. He said, “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 six flops and decided to become a pilot.”
He added, “I was working on getting a commercial flying license as I wanted to get a job in the aviation sector. Salman Khan and I bumped into each other quite randomly but became friends almost immediately. He was trying to get into the business of filmmaking back then. When ‘MPK’ came his way, he recommended my name for the villain’s role.”
He also talked about how it was tricky since he was a ‘flop hero’. Bahl stated, “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.”
Talking about auditioning for the role, the actor revealed, “Yes, when I agreed to do the role, Salman said, ‘Jaake audition kar le’. I was down and out in those days as six films featuring me as a hero had flopped; I’d had no work for two-and-half years. Besides, I was 24 and insecure as I didn’t know where I was headed in life.”
He added, “But after the test, Raj Babuji came up to me and said, ‘We’d like to cast you in this role, but aap Nutanji ke bete hain aur hum unko kya bolenge about casting you in a villain’s role?’ I assured them that I had her blessings, but he was still apprehensive. I went back and told my mother that I should be getting films because of her and not losing them!”
The actor was also asked about becoming the blue-eyed boy of the Barjatyas and this is how he reacted, “Over the years I have become Rajshri’s old man also, which is wonderful because we all have to go that way. It’s nice that all of us have been able to age and still have that camaraderie and sense of belonging. They are wonderful people!”