Bollywood's good old double role formula is back in vogue! Filmmakers are re-exploring the genre either with original scripts like Rowdy Rathore, and Bol Bachchan or by remaking classics Seeta Aur Geeta and Satte Pe Satta.
The success of Akshay Kumar's twin avatar in Rowdy Rathore, which entered the Rs.100 crore (about $20 million) club within two weeks of its release, proves how the formula is still a hit.
"Double roles have been a classic and successful format in Hindi commercial cinema down the decades. In the last few years, probably because cinema has become more realistic and less fantastical, the number of movies with double roles had reduced. But they never really went out of fashion," said Siddharth Roy Kapur, managing director, Studios, Disney UTV.
"If the audience enjoys the contrast between the characters in each of the two roles, as was the case in Rowdy Rathore, it means they get full 'paisa vasool' - two Akshay Kumars for the ticket price of one," he told IANS.
Rohit Shetty's Bol Bachchan is said to be inspired by 1979 movie Gol Maal. In the comedy, Amol Palekar didn't have a double role, but his character changed get-ups. The forthcoming movie, set for release July 6, features Abhishek Bachchan creating double dhamaal.
The buzz is that filmmaker Anees Bazmee is set to give a triple bonanza by presenting Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor and Fardeen Khan in double roles in his comic caper No Entry Mein Entry, a sequel to No Entry.
Others who might be seen into double role include Katrina Kaif in Seeta Aur Geeta remake, Arjun Kapoor in Aurangzeb, Saif Ali Khan in Judwaa sequel, Sanjay Dutt in Satte Pe Satta remake and Arjun Rampal in AjabGajabb Love.
"Double role films work for a change. Shakti Samanta's China Town (which had Shammi Kapoor in double role) was an apt example which later inspired Don and now Rowdy Rathore and a few others. Double role movies can conveniently be used in both, action as well as comedy films," said trade analyst Vinod Mirani.
Recently, actress Vidya Balan made her first attempt at a double avatar - a dream she could live thanks to an endorsement deal with a new range of snacks brand Aliva. "I was getting to play a double role. Only Sridevi and Hemaji (Hema Malini) have done it so far. I have always wanted to do a double role and we don't have double roles for some reason in films any more," Vidya had said.
In recent times, Shahid Kapoor carried off the double role well with Kaminey.
The formula has been a winner in yesteryears. Be it Dev Anand in Hum Dono, Dilip Kumar in Ram Aur Shyam, Rajesh Khanna in Aradhana, Rakhee in Sharmilee, Hema Malini in Seeta Aur Geeta, Amitabh Bachchan in Don and Satte Pe Satta, Sridevi in Chaalbaaz, Anil Kapoor in Kishen Kanhaiya, Salman Khan in Judwaa, Kajol in Dushman and Shah Rukh Khan in Don and Duplicate-most of Bollywood's top stars have been there and done the double dhamaal!