The only other actor, apart from Kartik Aaryan, who seems determined to work with every new actress in Bollywood is Varun Dhawan. After romancing Sara Ali Khan in his father David Dhawan’s remake of Coolie No. 1 (1995), Varun will star opposite the other newbie, aka Janhvi Kapoor, in Dhadak director Shashank Khaitan’s next Mr Lele.
Varun and Shashank, who worked together on both Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania (2014) and Badrinath Ki Dulhania (2017), were originally meant to do an action film next titled Ranbhoomi. The project was announced but didn’t fructify, reportedly because its mammoth budget was deemed untenable for its makers. Mr Lele is a relatively moderate-budgeted comedy and even before a single shot of the film has been canned, the producers announced its release date by unveiling a poster featuring the actor in nothing but a pair of tighty-whities and an orange fanny pack. That poster, in fact, prompted Varun’s Street Dancer 3 co-star Shraddha Kapoor to joke that he’d stolen her father’s kachha. She was, of course, referring to her father Shakti Kapoor who, in more than one film, performed comic scenes in his underwear.
The filmmakers haven’t yet announced Janhvi as his co-star in the film, and sources say her casting wasn’t the decision of the film’s producer Karan Johar—she was Shashank’s top choice after he last directed her in Dhadak (2018). There’s also some Bollywood serendipity in that casting, given that Janhvi’s father Boney and Varun’s father David are close friends who also worked together back in the day.
The Guessing Game
Vicky Kaushal and Katrina Kaif seem to have decided to let the tabloids play the guessing game when it comes to their relationship: are they or aren’t they dating? But Bollywood insiders say there is something going on there. The pair has been spotted having quiet dinners (usually at eating joints in south Mumbai where the paparazzi doesn’t frequently turn up) and Vicky has been seen visiting the actress at her Bandra home. But at public events, there have been no bold public displays of affection.
Last week at Umang, an annual benefit event held for the Mumbai police and their families, the couple did not arrive together and barely spent any time in each other’s company. Katrina joined her ‘good friend’ and ex Salman Khan on stage while Vicky did a solo appearance. Those close to the Masaan star say there isn’t a lot to say at this point because the couple is just getting to know each other. “They like hanging out but they don’t get a lot of time given that both have busy schedules. But it’s very early for them to declare anything. It’s very new and they’re still seeing where it goes,” a source explains.
There is also some talk that Karan Johar has offered them a film together for his Dharma Productions banner, but that information remains in the realm of speculation till otherwise confirmed.
An actor who earned praise for his performance in a big-budget epic recently received an angry call from his producer/co-star who was not pleased with his candid and public admissions regarding the film’s ‘authenticity’. The producer-star reportedly asked the actor to refrain from expressing his opinion because it could be used—and in fact, was already being used—to undermine the film “and to further a political narrative”. The actor, in turn, politely promised not to speak any more on the subject.
The film, which is a big box-office smash, has been accused by its critics of distorting history and has been singled out for its ‘problematic politics’. The makers have insisted that the film is factually correct, and as it turns out, the film’s blockbuster success has suggested that the audience couldn’t care less, either way. In that scenario, the producer-star would rather that his co-actor not upset the apple cart by weighing in with his own opinion, especially when it is critical of what the film is saying.