It will be Hrithik Roshan’s Agneepath and not Aamir Khan’s Dhuan that will be the big Republic Day release next year. Even though it is not a typically patriotic film, Agneepath is definitely a quintessential Indian film. So, as soon as he heard that the Aamir-Kareena Kapoor-Rani Mukerji starrer was not going to make its January 26 deadline, producer Karan Johar, who was gearing up for a January 13 release earlier, postponed his film’s opening to the Republic Day weekend.
“I would never have opened with Aamir’s film. He is a humongous star and, along with co-producers Farhan (Akhtar) and Riteish (Sidhwani), a friend of mine. In fact, it was Riteish who suggested we take advantage of the national holiday that falls on Thursday, making it a four-day weekend. I immediately grabbed the opportunity,” says Karan.
Point out that Venus may be targeting the same date for Ajay Devgn’s action thriller Tezz and he says, “I’m not sure if they are. We were sure of the Aamir film and that’s not coming.” Hrithik’s debut film, Kaho Naa...Pyaar Hai, released on January 13, 2000, and he was hoping to get lucky on the same day a second time. How has he reacted to the change in plans? “He’s happy. It’s his birthday month and January has proved lucky for not just Kaho Naa...Pyaar Hai but Karan Arjun (1995), Rang De Basanti (2006) and this year’s No One Killed Jessica,” reasons Karan.
The reactions to the first trailer have been mind-blowing and Karan’s looking to unveil the next one in October-November and announce the distribution and satellite deals, which he’s hoping to lock soon. “What's gratifying is that by virtue of its visual content and Sanjay Dutt’s Kancha Cheena look, the first promo managed to squash all comparisons with the original,” says Karan, adding that the second one will have more dialogue since it takes the audience deeper into Vijay's world.
Wasn’t this the world that underworld gangster Manya Surve inhabited till he was gunned down in a police encounter? “I have no idea who the original Vijay Dinanath Chauhan was modelled on. All I can say is that director Karan Malhotra’s vision and Hrithik's brilliance have created a Vijay whom you’ve never seen before,” he retorts.
“The original Agneepath (1990) acquired cult status, we are hoping for a super-hit status with this one and the four-day weekend should help us achieve that goal.”