Five years ago, Salman Khan partnered a little known 21-year-old in Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya. Today, Katrina Kaif is Bollywood’s reigning queen. The duo hasn’t romanced in reel life since Yuvvraaj, two years ago.
Early this year, 44-year-old Salman teamed up with 26-year-old Zarine Khan, a Katrina lookalike, in Veer. Nine months after, he woos 23-year-old Sonakshi Sinha in this weekend’s release Dabangg.
Critics have been carping about the over two-decade age difference between Shatrughan Sinha’s daughter and Salman. Retorts Dabangg director Abhinav Kashyap, “It’s become fashionable to run down newcomers. Why shouldn’t a young girl pair up with a top star? All the heroes are 40-plus, she doesn’t have a choice anyway.”He points out that directors too are happier casting a younger girl to a 30-plus. "You can’t eat only dal-chawal (lentils and rice) everyday. Everyone’s looking for novelty and Sonakshi is an attractive package," Kashyap argues. "She’s pretty, tall, talented and the daughter of a Bihar MP, which makes it easier for her to be accepted as Chulbul Pandey’s lady love."
If all goes well, Mr and Mrs Pandey would stage a comeback in Robinhood Pandey. Kashyap confirms the news, saying the suggestion of a sequel came from Salman following the response to the first promos of Dabangg.
“When a character becomes popular, whether it’s Mad Max, Tom and Jerry or our Robinhood, it’s easy to carry the story forward,” says Kashyap, who’s been signed up by producer Arbaaz Khan for at least one more film.
It could be Robinhood Pandey or something else, given that Salman is halfway through his current under-production Ready, and committed to three more projects. “But I’ll start working on the script right away and, yes, it will have Sonakshi too,” Kashyap says.
Buzz is that Salman may also pair up with Sonakshi in Sajid Nadiadwala’s Kick, midway through 2011. Sonakshi says, “I’ve heard the rumours too, but I can’t speak on this yet. I’ve only met Sajid unofficially. I’m glad my pairing with Salman has been appreciated.”
It’s also heard that she’s in the running for Mr India 2, opposite Boney Kapoor’s son Arjun, with Salman as a modern-day 3D Mogambo. She’s also being considered for Wanted 2.
Sonakshi admits she’d love to play Sridevi’s role and be in Wanted 2 as well: “Why not? Both films were blockbusters!”