Knock Out director Mani Shankar had a tough time stonewalling Irrfan Khan's insistent requests that he be allowed to throw some punches in the film, a la the leonine Sanjay Dutt. It was Sanjay who finally convinced Irrfan that the toughie look would not fit his role of an investment banker.
"Irrfan had reservations about his role from the start. When he expressed these reservations to Mani Shankar, Mani made it clear that no changes would be made. Irrfan plays an investment banker. How could he turn into a fighter beating up goons and shooting down villains in a true filmy hero style? Mani has made a political thriller set in real time," a source said.
Irrfan wanted to go further. He reportedly wanted to kill the villain in the climax of Knock Out -- a thought that exasperated and amused Sanjay and Mani Shankar since Irrfan's character didn't fit the role of the avenging macho man.The director tried every ploy to dissuade Irrfan. Finally, Sanjay stepped in to solve the matter.
Mani Shankar is reluctant to talk on the subject.
Says Mani: "I'm really not allowed to give out anything. Irrfan has a fabulous role. Yes, initially he did have some reservations. But we sorted them out. Now, he has his own space in the narrative, no doubt about it."
Knock Out, which also has actress Kangana Ranaut, is produced by Sohail Maklai and is expected to release on October 1.