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Turning to tried, tested pairs to get that big box office hit

In a bid to belt out a hit, filmmakers are signing up lead jodis who have been successful at the box office in the past. But will the trend work? Experts share their thoughts.

bollywood Updated: Feb 15, 2017 18:51 IST
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Actors Ayushmann Khurrana and Bhumi Pednekar will be seen in filmmaker Aanand L Rai’s next, Shubh Mangal Saavdhan.
Actors Ayushmann Khurrana and Bhumi Pednekar will be seen in filmmaker Aanand L Rai’s next, Shubh Mangal Saavdhan.

While 2017 will see a whole lot of fresh pairings in Bollywood films, there are quite a few lead actors who would be teaming up, yet again, for a project. Filmmaker Aanand L Rai has roped in actors Ayushmann Khurrana and Bhumi Pednekar for his upcoming film, Shubh Mangal Saavdhan. The two created a buzz when they played a married couple in Bhumi’s debut Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015), which was received fairly well at the box office. “Bhumi and I share a great bond. It’s a lot of fun to work with her. Our next will be a laugh riot and we are so different from our first Dum Laga Ke Haisha – both in terms of looks and characterisation,” shares Ayushmann.

Actors Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma too have teamed up for Imtiaz Ali’s next, tentatively titled, The Ring. The duo was a hit at the box office after Anushka’s debut Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008) and later Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012). Akshay Kumar will share screen space with Amy Jackson in sci-fi thriller 2.0 after he co-starred with her in Singh Is Bling (2015). Clearly, the tried and tested formula is a hit among filmmakers and they’re sticking to it. Whether it’s the number game at the box office that they wish to recreate through these lead pairings or the popularity that these on-screen couples ensure whenever they do a film, it definitely is working wonders for the fraternity.

Actors Anushka Sharma and Shah Rukh Khan in a still from Jab Tak hai Jaan (2012).

Speaking about the trend, trade analyst Amul Mohan feels the popularity of an actor with a particular actress is also something filmmakers pick on. “If you cast someone new there’s a risk because you don’t know how the chemistry will be. But when stars have worked before, and belted a hit, filmmakers know the pairing will work,” he says.

And do tried and tested pairs work with the audience too? Ayushmann says, “Of course there’s excitement when it comes to seeing a hit pair together. At the same time, they have to bring something different in the second outing, whether it’s the milieu, lingo or the concept.”


And do audiences also love to see same lead pairs in a film or do directors take a chance that what worked in the past can rock on screen again? Ayushmann says, “Of course there’s excitement when it comes to seeing a hit pair together. At the same time, they have to bring something different in the second outing, whether it’s the milieu, lingo or the concept. But ultimately it’s the script and the character that connects.”

Filmmaker Homi Adajania, who directed Saif Ali Khan and Deepika Padukone in Cocktail (2012) after they audiences loved them in 2009 film Love Aaj Kal, agrees that at the end of the day it all amounts to the strength of the content. “If a lead pair has worked out well before, the audience will obviously be more accepting and expecting of the combination, but yet it’ll all depend on how good the narrative is and whether it helps enhance the chemistry of the leading pair. The story and performances have to work hand-in-hand.”

Actor Sana Khan, however, feels nothing is guaranteed in the film business. “Onscreen chemistry doesn’t always guarantee a hit. While some lead pairs have given back-to-back hits, maybe because they fit into the script so well, but several don’t.”

There’s also Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt teaming up for Badrinath Ki Dulhaiya after Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya wooed audience for its innocent romance. Fans will also see Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif in Jagga Jasoos and Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif in Tiger Zinda Hai.

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