A replay of the Bhagat Singh kind of confrontation between Rajkumar Santoshi and Sunny Deol has been averted.
Santoshi has withdrawn his proposed project to make Prithviraj-Sanjukta and the coast is clear for Chandraprakash Dwivedi to direct the historical romance with Sunny in the main lead.
After several lengthy sessions the director has finalised Sunny for the coveted part in his version of Prithviraj-Sanjukta.
"I first went all the way to Florida to meet Sunny. At that time I didn't know Santoshiji was planning the same project. His one press statement about this project put brakes on my plans," Dwivedi told IANS.
In 2002, Santoshi's The Legend of Bhagat Singh starring Ajay Devgan in the title role clashed with Sunny's home production 23rd March 1931: Shaheed, which had his brother Bobby playing the martyr.
Apparently UTV, which produced films like Rang De Basanti and Jodhaa-Akbar, agreed to produce Dwivedi's historical but backed out after Santoshi announced his project.
Dwivedi has locked in a new producer but is not ready to reveal the name.
"It isn't Sunny. Though he'd have loved to produce this film, he has burnt his hands too often. I had been warned against Sunny. But when I met him I knew he was right for Prithviraj. I told him this role wasn't in keeping with his image and that I wouldn't let him do what he has been doing."
Sushmita Sen, who is currently neck deep in the pre-production work for her ambitious historical English film Jhansi Ki Rani, is expected to play a pivotal part in Prithviraj-Sanjukta, though not in the title role.
After the powerful paean to the partition of India with his directorial debut Pinjar, Dwivedi, who shot to fame as the maker of India's first televised biopic Chanakya, is all set to launch Prithviraj-Sanjukta as his second feature film.
Another project swimming in the director's vision is Ashoka featuring in all probability Hollywood's Richard Gere.
Dwivedi has reservations about Santosh Sivan's version of Ashoka, which had Shah Rukh Khan and Kareena Kapoor in the key roles.
"I feel he was not so much interested in recreating Ashoka's life as going into specific areas of the emperor's personality. Santosh's film wasn't chronologically correct either. It took too many historical liberties. Even The Rising disappointed me on so many levels. But I won't give up making historical movies."
Dwivedi's Pinjar suffered due to ill marketing.
"The producer and I couldn't see eye to eye on the marketing. Eventually, I'll have to produce my own films. But I remain fascinated by history. I'd love to make a non-historical. But I end up going back in history."