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|August 24, 2001||
It happens only in Bollywood!
Subhash K Jha
In Dil Chahta Hai, Aamir Khan instead of Akshaye Khanna could have played the quiet and gentle Siddharth.
That's the way director Farhan Akhtar had planned it. But then, Aamir didn't care for Siddharth's role much -- he had played brooding loverboy before.
But he couldn't resist the role of Akash -- who goes from uncaring lad to a hurting lover. The result is there for all to see.
Hindi cinema is full of casting wonders like this. Director Shankar, for instance, wanted Aamir to play the lead in his first Hindi film, Nayak - The Real Hero. But the actor who looks at the screenplay of each film minutely, suggested some alterations.
Shankar hastily withdrew and approached Shah Rukh Khan instead. But Shah Rukh too didn't relish the idea of playing a television journalist so soon after Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani.
That's when Boney Kapoor suggested his brother Anil Kapoor's name.
It is sometimes hard to believe that the industry's market savvy actors and actresses have actually refused certain roles simply on a whim.
Who would believe that Madhuri Dixit refused to listen to the script of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Khamoshi: The Musical?
After knocking at her door for months, Sanjay finally settled for Manisha Koirala who made history in the same film.
Not many people know that Kamal Haasan wanted Kareena Kapoor to play his second wife in Hey! Ram The role finally went to Vasundhara Das who wasn't even interested in pursuing an acting career at the first place.
In the recent Pyaar Ishq Aur Mohabbat, director Rajiv Rai had conceived an author-backed role for his Gupt hero Bobby Deol. But Bobby begged off and newcomer Arjun Rampal bagged a dream role.
There's more. Did you know who was to originally play the role of Fardeen Khan's wife in Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya? None other than Sushmita Sen.
But apparently Sen refused the role, saying she was too tall to be bashed up by the shorter Urmila Matondkar, who played the obsessive lover in the film. That's where Sonali Kulkarni stepped in.
Call it fate or design, casting coincidences have always been a determining factor in the way a film has finally shaped up.
Gulzar's Mausam was originally planned with Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bhaduri. But Sanjeev Kumar and Sharmila Tagore finally played the sensitive and highly appreciated roles.
Recently, Raveena Tandon was unceremoniously dropped from new director Vipul Shah's All The Best, now titled Aankhein, and replaced by Sushmita Sen.
The latest casting switchover involves Rinke Khanna, who was finalised for Ramgopal Varma's Company. Now, it is Manisha Koirala playing the role. Says the director, "I needed a woman instead of a girl to play the role opposite Ajay Devgan."
"Rinke, for all her maturity as an actress, couldn't pass off as the character any longer. So I had to take a ruthless decision for my film's sake. Manisha fits the bill perfectly."
To think that Manisha was the most replaced girl until recently!
The films that she lost include E Niwas' Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega, where she was to play Sonali Bendre's role.
Explains Varma, "These things happen all the time. They can't be helped for the simple reason that no filmmaker can predict beforehand what he actually wants to do with the visual medium."
Thank God for that. Today, it's hard to imagine Dilip Kumar instead of Guru Dutt playing the famished poet in Pyaasa.
Apparently, Guru Dutt did it only because Dilip Kumar didn't want to do a role similar to one he had already played in Devdas.
Indo-Asian News Service
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