So it appears that the gloves are off. With Dilwale having failed to beat Bajirao Mastani in the (domestic) box-office sweepstakes—not to mention its abysmal defeat in the ‘perception game’, thanks to crushing reviews and dismal word-of-mouth—it was only a matter of time before the blame game began. Bollywood insiders are saying that star- producer Shah Rukh Khan is blaming the film’s poor performance on his director Rohit Shetty… for banging out a film that just wasn’t up to the mark. The Chennai Express director, meanwhile, who has a reputation for delivering blockbusters consistently, seems to have his own grouse with SRK. Sources close to Rohit say the director had ‘begged’ the star to avoid clashing with Bajirao, but Shah Rukh was unwilling to shy away from a fight.
Rohit has also reportedly complained that the comments SRK made before the film’s release, about growing intolerance in India, had cost the film a sizeable audience. The director has said he has it on good authority that a large chunk of viewers across the country boycotted the film in light of Shah Rukh’s controversial statements.
With both men currently busy with other projects, a third collaboration seems unlikely—not for a while at least. Shah Rukh will get busy promoting Fan next, even as he completes shooting Raees and gets ready to dive into Gauri Shinde’s next, and, reportedly, Imtiaz Ali’s next. Rohit, for his part, is simultaneously working on the scripts for Golmaal 4 and the Ram Lakhan remake that he’ll direct for Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions.
Word on the street is that at least two actors associated with the film are also hurting from the whole experience. According to the grapevine, Varun Dhawan is not thrilled with how his role turned out in Dilwale. The actor feels he was merely ‘padding’ to the central plot that revolved around Shah Rukh and Kajol. In the same year that he delivered big hits with Badlapur and ABCD2, Varun apparently feels slighted at having being reduced to the comic sidekick in a Shah Rukh Khan vehicle. The tabloids are also reporting that Kajol, who played SRK’s love interest and a key figure in the film’s plot, has said that she regrets turning down the lead in Kahaani director Sujoy Ghosh’s next so she could do Dilwale.
Films of a Feather Don’t Flock Together
Anyone with even a cursory understanding of how the film business works will tell you that it’s never a good idea to have two films of the exact same genre, or two films starring the same actor release back-to-back. Why then would the producers of Kyaa Kool Hain Hum 3 and Mastizaade, both sex comedies, both starring Tusshar Kapoor, take the grave risk of releasing their films so close to each other? Turns out it was never meant to be this way. According to the industry grapevine, Ekta Kapoor, producer of Kyaa Kool, rushed her film to the finish line when she learnt that Mastizaade was looking at a 29 January release. Word is that Ekta had realised her movie stank and didn’t want to come on the heels of Mastizaade, or even Great Grand Masti, which is being readied for a March release.
Ekta rushed Kya Kool to the censors, then quickly re-dubbed portions that had been beeped out or chopped off by the CBFC, and promptly announced a 22 January release date. The makers of Mastizaade were reportedly seething, but particularly cheesed off with Tusshar for potentially sabotaging one film for the sake of the other. Lengthy discussions between producers on both sides yielded no compromise. By the time you’re reading this, Mastizaade would be in the halls too, although it might be too early to tell if the film is likely to fare better than Kya Kool,which opened slow. Tusshar has alleged that the Mastizaade producers are punishing him for their differences with Balaji. He has threatened to initiate legal proceedings against them for not paying him his full fees.
Not the Next Big Thing
A certain actress is believed to be upset with her mentor for not casting her in a big action movie opposite a leading male star. Sources within the studio have revealed that she was counting on landing the gig, but was heart- broken when it went to another actress, currently being positioned as the ‘Next Big Thing’ by their common mentor. Now the leading lady has her sights set on the next instalment of a major franchise that the studio produces as well. But insiders are saying that the film won’t go into production anytime soon.