Bollywood has had a mixed run in first six months this year. In the second half, some of the popular stars are set to share the screen with brand new co-stars. So, even as Randeep Hooda teams up with Alia Bhatt, we will also see Ranbir Kapoor working with newbie Pallavi Sharda in Besharam and Ranveer Singh will star opposite Deepika Padukone in Ram Leela. “New pairs create an automatic buzz, especially for romantic films. But the couple has to be cast smartly, otherwise it could be lethal for film’s prospects at the box office,” says trade expert Vinod Mirani.
Aamir Khan-Katrina Kaif
Film: Dhoom 3
The build-up: Aamir plays the antagonist while Abhishek Bachchan and Uday Chopra reprise their roles as police officers. Katrina Kaif came on board after names of Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra and Anushka Sharma did the rounds.
Makers say: “The first-time pairing of Aamir with Katrina will add value to the film. Katrina is someone who we all know will bring tremendous enthusiasm and commitment to the film,” says director Vijay Krishna Acharya.
Expert says: “Whenever two big stars come together for the first time, it’s bound to create excitement. As for Aamir and Katrina, they come from two different schools of acting, so it will be interesting to see them team up,” says trade analyst Amod Mehra.
USP: The powerhouse of acting, Aamir, meets the glamour queen of Bollywood, Katrina.
The build-up: In 2011, Shahid Kapoor and Sonakshi Sinha were apparently signed as the lead pair for this film but were dropped later for reasons unknown. Early last year, National Award-winning actor Dhanush came on board, making this film his Bollywood debut. Afterwards, Sonam was signed for the part and she visited the JNU Campus in Delhi in order to research her character.
Makers say: “While casting, I stayed honest to the script — a story set in India’s heartland. And I feel that love stories are also about the heart and not just height and complexion. Sonam and Dhanush complement each other very well. Their eyes talk beautifully,” says director Aanand L Rai.
Expert says: “The pair’s novelty factor works in the film’s favour. Sonam and Dhanush’s pairing has already created a lot of buzz,” says trade expert Taran Adarsh.
USP: Dhanush’s boy-next-door charm creates magic with the simple-yet-glam girl, Sonam.
Randeep Hooda-Alia Bhatt
The build-up: Imtiaz Ali was looking out for an older actress to pair with Randeep, but Alia was finally roped in. He says when he met Alia, he realised that “she is not as bachcha (child-like)”
Makers say: “I went for the ideal actors for the parts – a man and a girl most unsuited to one another. That was the requirement of the film,” says Imtiaz.
Expert says: “Randeep and Alia could be a fascinating on-screen pairing. They could bring together two diverse kinds of audiences,” says exhibitor-distributor Akshaye Rathi.
USP: The tough, rugged Randeep with the baby-faced Alia.
Farhan Akhtar- Vidya Balan
Film: Shaadi Ke Side Effects
The build-up: The lead pairing in this sequel to the 2006 hit, Pyaar Ke Side Effects, is clearly unique. Vidya, who had gained weight for The Dirty Picture (2011) has lost oodles to cut a perfect picture with a lankier Farhan.
Makers say: “The only consideration is whether the actors fit their roles perfectly. If they look good together, there’s nothing like it. The same logic was applied before roping in Farhan and Vidya,” says producer Pritish Nandy.
Expert says: “The curiosity levels have definitely gone up. But it remains to be seen if the audiences accept them. Don’t forget Farhan’s ‘new’ pairing with Deepika in Karthik Calling Karthik (2010) failed,” says trade analyst Vikas Mohan.
USP: The thinking man’s sex symbol, Vidya, stars opposite the thinking woman’s sex symbol, Farhan.
Saif Ali Khan-Sonakshi Sinha
Film: Bullet Raja
The build-up: Tigmanshu Dhulia’s gangster-thriller is about the UP mafia. The director approached Saif after getting inspired by his Langda Tyagi act in Omkara (2006). The film was earlier named Jai Ram Ji Ki but later renamed to lend it a more gangster feel.
Makers say: “Saif and Sonkashi’s chemistry is mind-blowing,” says producer Rahul Mittra.
Expert says: “I’m not very excited about Saif and Sonkashi coming together. There’s no buzz around them but let’s see how the film turns out,” says trade expert Vinod Mirani.
USP: Saif, known for his stylish, suave image, joins the archetypal Indian beauty, Sonakshi.