Movies that feature two lead stars have been a winning proposition right from the start. Films such as Andaz (1949), Sholay (1975), Deewaar (1975), Shaan (1980), Saagar (1985), Ram Lakhan (1989), Andaz Apna Apna (1994), Karan Arjun (1995) and Dostana (2008), which starred several big actors, are testimony to the fact. However of late, two-hero films have become a rarity.
“Today, it is difficult to make a film with one hero. So, you can imagine how challenging it is to rope in two. Most actors today are aware of their brand value, and want to build on it. Therefore, two hero films may not fit into their scheme,” says director Anees Bazmee, who has made several films starring multiple actors, including No Entry (2005) and the Welcome series.
Earlier this year, Varun Dhawan and John Abraham worked together in Dishoom. Turns out a few other films that will feature two heroes are also on the anvil. While Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor will star in Padmavati, Shahid and Saif Ali Khan will be seen in Rangoon. Also, Ajay Devgn will share screen space with Emraan Hashmi in Baadshaho, and Aamir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan will work together in Thugs of Hindostan.
In spite of these movies, experts agree that the number of such films has gone down “considerably”. “There is a lot of insecurity nowadays. Actors also feel that eventually, favouritism will come into play, which might affect their part [in a film]. Every modern-day actor is smart enough to understand that solo hits are more valuable, and that he will have to share the credit with [another actor] in a two-hero film,” says trade analyst Taran Adarsh.
While the ’90s saw several movies featuring two heroes, of late only a few film-makers such as Anees and Sajid Nadiadwala -- with movies such as Jeet (1996), Mujse Shaadi Karogi (2004), Dishoom, Rangoon and the Housefull series -- are still attempting such films.
On the other hand, Director Sabbir Khan, whose next film stars Tiger Shroff and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, feels actors only “yearn for good opportunities.” He says, “If you write challenging parts for both the actors and make an honest film then it’s never a problem. But, actors are intelligent and can tell if someone is only trying to set up a project.”
Bazmee says it is a “win-win” for both the actors. “When two stars work together, it helps you understand how another actor works. It helps one develop a bond of friendship. It also results in a bigger success at the box office due to the combination,” he says.