Will Shah Rukh Khan, Akshay Kumar come together for Hindi remake of Dileep's Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel?

Gautam Chintamani

Mar 18, 2019 12:24:13 IST

The world was a much different place two decades ago when Akshay Kumar and Shah Rukh Khan featured together in Yash Chopra’s Dil To Pagal Hai (1997).

Kumar’s role in the film was, at best, a cameo; he was going through a bad patch, with 14 flops between 1997-1999, while Khan was witnessing his ascent to the top. Much has changed since then. Now, Khan needs a reinvention of sorts, while Kumar is perfectly perched at a place from where he seems unshakable, especially at the box office.

However, there have been rumours that these two actors may be cast in a Hindi remake of a recent Malayalam film.

Dileep’s Malayalam film, Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel (2019) follows the life of a lawyer who hasn’t been able to strike gold professionally due to a speech impairment and his life changes when his brother in law gives him a complex case involving an important businessman. From the sound of it, Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel could be just the shot in the arm for Khan and also offers something that Kumar, too, would excel at.

Will Shah Rukh Khan, Akshay Kumar come together for Hindi remake of Dileeps Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel?

Akshay Kumar and Shah Rukh Khan. Images from Twitter.

While the buzz surrounding the possibility of Akshay Kumar and Shah Rukh Khan sharing the screen is bound to make news on its own, it also brings to mind instances from the past where the casting of two or more leading stars made as much news as the film.

Traditionally, getting together two or more leading stars in Indian cinema to share the screen has never been an easy task. The first such film that comes to mind is Raj Kapoor’s Sangam (1964) where the actor-director chased both Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand to play the ‘second-lead’ or the role which was eventually played by Rajendra Kumar. Kapoor had previously worked with Dilip Kumar in Mehboob’s Andaz (1949) and also shared a personal rapport with him. In fact, the two were close friends as well. Yet when it came to Sangam, Dilip Kumar kept dilly-dallying. Kapoor even offered Dilip Kumar the option of playing Air Officer Sunder, the role Raj Kapoor finally played, but in the end, Kumar backed out because he asked for something that Kapoor could never offer - a final cut.

Perhaps Kumar might have wanted greater control over how the characters shaped, and needless to say, Kapoor moved on. Later Kapoor also offered the role to Dev Anand but the latter refused citing unavailability of time. Like Kapoor, Anand, too, had featured with Dilip Kumar, in SS Vasan’s Insaniyat (1955) but wasn't too happy with the experience and since then decided to steer clear of two-hero leads or multi-starrers.

It was only towards the end of the 1970s, when Dev Anand agreed to share screen space and agreed to do a film called Ek Do Teen Chaar for his brother, Vijay Anand. The film was to feature Dev Anand along with Dharmendra, Shashi Kapoor, Rakhee, Hema Malini, Rishi Kapoor, Tina Munim, Parveen Babi and Amjad Khan but barring a photo from the launch eventually nothing happened. Later Vijay Anand tried to get Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan together along with Dharmendra in Rajput but eventually, Vinod Khanna ended up playing the role meant for Bachchan.

For the audience, the chance of an Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan featuring in the same film could be the stuff of dreams. But at the same time, such ideas often turn into nightmares for the producers.

Back in the 1970s and 1980s, casting two leading stars would mean most filmmakers were trying to circumvent all kinds of troubles. The bigger troubles such as mood swings and temperament, depending on the personal equation of the two actors, could take producers to the brink of bankruptcy and as a result, a film with any two top stars was best avoided.

This could be the reason why Aamir Khan never went beyond a handful of two-hero projects. He was offered Sanjay Dutt’s role in Saajan and when he refused, he was offered Salman Khan’s role as well. Some of the more famous walk-outs also have to do with of one of the actors having some trouble with the director vis-à-vis the other actor - Aamir Khan left Yash Chopra’s Darr (1993) ostensibly because the filmmaker did not give a joint narration to both him and Sunny Deol; Ajay Devgn let go of Karan-Arjun, he was signed to play Salman Khan’s role, owing to creative differences with Rakesh Roshan.

The closest Aamir and Shah Rukh Khan came to being considered for the same film was perhaps in Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Rang De Basanti where Shah Rukh was approached to play the Air Force pilot, which was eventually portrayed by R. Madhavan, and Mehra even tried to get Hrithik Roshan to play Siddharth’s role. Of course, SRK didn’t want to play second-fiddle to Aamir and Roshan wanted to play Aamir’s role.

Will SRK and Akshay revive the two-hero project? Only time will tell.

Updated Date: Mar 18, 2019 12:24:13 IST

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