Is Sanju a better film without Ranveer Singh? Recalling other memorable change in cast that created history

Abhishek Srivastava

Jul 05, 2018 09:44:55 IST

Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s recent revelation about the casting of his film Sanju almost created a flutter in the industry. In an interview to Telegraph, Vidhu spilled the beans on how he was not happy with Rajkumar Hirani’s choice of Ranbir Kapoor as Sanju. In the same interview, he had further added that he found Ranveer Singh’s flamboyance and emotional depth more appealing for the role. But Ranbir can take heart from the fact that across the world, the history of entertainment is filled with instances when replaced choices fared much better than original choices, in some cases creating history too.

Danny Denzongpa – Sholay (Amjad Khan)

Is Sanju a better film without Ranveer Singh? Recalling other memorable change in cast that created history

Amjad Khan as Gabbar in a still from Sholay

Danny was slated to step into the role of Gabbar Singh for Ramesh Sippy’s iconic Sholay. He had even signed the film but when the shooting dates were conveyed to him, they clashed with the dates that he had allocated to Feroz Khan for Dharmatma, another take on Mario Puzo’s The Godfather. Danny, a thorough professional and an idealist, refused the film stating that he already had made a promise to Feroz Khan. Amjad stepped in his place and history was created. When the news of Danny having rejected Sholay became public, he hiked his remuneration to bring it at par with that of Amjad.

Salman Khan – Chak De! India (Shah Rukh Khan)

SRK in a still from Chak De! India

SRK in a still from Chak De! India

In an interview to a daily, Salman had revealed the real reason behind saying no to the Shimit Amin film. According to the superstar, when the film was offered to him, his image at that time was more in tune with films like Partner. His only basis for rejecting the film was that Chak De! India carried a serious tone. In hindsight, one can only thank Salman for rejecting the film. Had Salman been there, SRK would not have been able to deliver the most memorable role of his career.

Rajesh Khanna – Deewar (Amitabh Bachchan)

Amitabh Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor in a still from Deewar

Amitabh Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor in a still from Deewar

The casting for Deewar was initially discussed between director Yash Chopra and producer Gulshan Rai. Rai wanted Khanna to play the role of Vijay as he had already paid the superstar a signing amount for his next film (by that time, Deewar was nowhere on the horizon). It was Salim-Javed who fought for Bachchan’s candidature and reasoned that the film’s plot does not gel with the the screen persona of Khanna. So convinced were the writers of Amitabh Bachchan that they even offered to write a film for Rai which suited the image of Khanna. As per Diptakirti Chaudhuri’s book on Salim-Javed, Chopra had even teased the writers whether Bachchan pays commission to them.

SRK - Munna Bhai MBBS (Sanjay Dutt)

Arshad Warsi and Sanjay Dutt in a still from Lage Raho Munna Bhai

Arshad Warsi and Sanjay Dutt in a still from Lage Raho Munna Bhai

Vidhu had initially offered the role of the lovable goon to SRK but he refused the film on health grounds. The shooting of the film coincided with his knee operation.

Kamal Hassan – Enthiran (Rajinikanth)

Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in a still from Enthiran

Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in a still from Enthiran

The web is full of images of the photo shoot that Hassan had done before the shooting of Robot. Hassan had to opt out of the film as the shooting of Enthiran conflicted with the shoot of Hassan’s other projects. Rajinikanth eventually stepped in place of Kamal and an upcoming sequel to the film (touted as the most expensive film of this country) says it all.

Matthew McConaughey – Titanic (Leonardo DiCaprio)

Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in a still from Titanic

Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in a still from Titanic

Kate Winslet, in an interview to Stephen Colbert, had revealed that she had auditioned along with Matthew McConaughey for Titanic. In the same interview, she had also mentioned that she had never said this publicly before but she cannot imagine the film without Kate and Leo. It is said that the McConaughey was not impressed with the plot of the film and thus refused to sign the film. He was also given a second chance by James Cameron but this time, he did not even bother to pick up his phone. Jack Dawson changed Leo's career.

Al Pacino – Star Wars (Harrison Ford)

Harrison Ford in a still from Star Wars

Harrison Ford in a still from Star Wars

When Star Wars hit theatres in 1977, Pacino had already become a force to reckon with films like Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon and The Godfather I & II. It was much later in 2013 during a session that he disclosed the fact that the role of Han Solo was first offered to him. The only reason for his refusal was that he could not comprehend the script. Later, Ford, with his tour de force performance, made George Lucas a proud man.  

Jack Nicholson/Warren Beatty/Harrison Ford – The Godfather (Pacino)

A still from The Godfather

A still from The Godfather

The casting for Michael Corleone is very similar to what happened with our own Zanjeer; just as director Prakash Mehra had made rounds of Dev Anand, Rajkumar and Dharmendra before zeroing in on Amitabh Bachchan. Francis Ford Coppola and the studio had approached Nicholson, Beatty and Ford to step into the role of Corleone. Nicholson, in one of his interviews, had stated that he knew that it was going to be a great film, it is just that Indians should play the role of Indians and Italians should play Italians.

Matthew Broderick and Steve Zahn – Breaking Bad (Bryan Cranston)

Bryan Cranston in a still from Breaking Bad

Bryan Cranston in a still from Breaking Bad

Cranston, in his autobiography A Life in Parts, has revealed the fact that Broderick and Zahn too were in contention for the role of Walter White. The studio was against the selection of Cranston for the lead role. It was only after the intervention of show creator Vince Gilligan that the network had to surrender before Vince’s choice. Vince was able to convince the management only after he showed them few tapes of X-Files that featured Bryan. To quote Bryan verbatim – “As talented as Matthew Broderick is, I’m just not sure that he has a Mr Hyde within him. Steve Zahn? Yes, I can see that.”

Ray Liotta – The Sopranos (James Gandolfini)

A still from The Sopranos

A still from The Sopranos

Show creator David Chase, in one of his interviews, had mentioned that he wrote the character with Liotta in mind. Liotta turned down the role as TV did not excite him much and he wanted to focus on films. The two-year commitment that he was asked for the show was simply too much for him. Later, Gandolfini stepped in the role of Tony Soprano and left no corner unturned to make it a memorable one.

All images from YouTube.

(Also read: With Sanju, Ranbir Kapoor makes up for Jagga Jasoos like Raj Kapoor did with Bobby for Mera Naam Joker)

Updated Date: Jul 05, 2018 09:44:55 IST