Salim-Javed, one of the most celebrated scriptwriters of the 1970s and 1980s, were seen as arrogant during their prime and the two feel that "every person who knows his job" is arrogant.
The duo scripted commercially successful films "Zanjeer", "Sholay", and "Deewaar" before parting ways about 32 years ago. They reunited to celebrate the 3D version of one of Bollywood's biggest hits, "Sholay", that released Jan 3.
In a candid conversation with CNN-IBN Entertainment editor Rajeev Masand, the legends talked about their style of working among other topics.
Once dubbed "arrogant" and "cocky", the writers explained why they were inflexible about their price, and discussed the clout they wielded, which allowed them to make casting decisions on the films they wrote.
Asked why people said of them that they were very cocky and arrogant in their prime, Salim Khan replied to Masand: "Every person who knows his job and is aware of that is an arrogant person. There is a term in psychology -- 'the arrogance of clarity'. If you are clear ki yeh kaala hai (this is black), you will not encourage any discussion on that."
"Hum aapas mein discuss karte (we used discuss with each other) and then we used to arrive at a certain thing. Aur uss mein agar koi interfere karta tha, toh unnecessary hota tha (and if someone u interfered in that, it would be unnecessary)."
"Hum jab enter hue hai, tab writers ki koi authority nahi thi. (When we entered the industry, writers had no say in anything). Humari authority bhi aayi after giving 10 hits in a row (We got an edge after giving 10 hits in a row)," Salim Khan recalled.
Javed Akhtar said there were multiple reasons for that.
"One, of course is that we were extremely young. He (Salim) was in his 30s and I was in my 20s when we did all the work... We came to film writing and cinema when writers were totally marginalised. They were very poorly paid. Their names were not put on posters and banners. It has happened again now. So, I suppose one will have to write scripts again to set the record straight... (laughs)"
"So, there was no tradition of a writer putting his foot down or talking like an equal. If a downtrodden person, a backward person talks to you like an equal, he would sound arrogant. So it was this equality, which sounded like arrogance, that's the point number 1. And point number 2 is that we were always so sure of ourselves," Javed Akhtar said.
"Now with age, I realise that you have to become successful and then you have to make your success palatable for others. Perhaps we didn't do that. But perhaps that was the need of the hour, who knows...if we'd have been slightly more gentle, they'd have trampled us," he said.
The interview will be aired on CNN-IBN, IBN7 and History-TV18, Saturday and Sunday.