Bollywood's prolific directors Abbas-Mastan are casting Saif Ali Khan and Akshaye Khanna for their forthcoming movie Race, saying that they have never worked with the star duo.
"The movie has Saif and Akshaye as brothers trying to outdo each other. Saif was never seen in a role like the one he'll play in Race. Akshaye too has been cast like never before. But what interests us as filmmakers is how the combination will excite the audience," Abbas told IANS.
Saif is also thrilled to have signed the film that gives him a chance to dance with Akshaye.
He said: "I'm looking forward to working with Akshaye. It would be an interesting mix of different sensibilities. I'm sure the results will be rewarding."
According to a growing belief within the film industry, every star on his or her own spells little magic at the box office. It's the combination that works.
For instance, Priyadarshan's comedy Bhagam Bhag held an interest for the audience mainly to see the never-before combo of Govinda and Akshay Kumar.
The director duo says that Race has the biggest star-cast they have ever worked with. They have cast Bipasha Basu and Katrina Kaif to play the female leads. The film also has Anil Kapoor.
"For Anil Kapoor we are trying to form an untried pair with some leading lady for him in the movie," said Abbas.
Apparently Mallika Sherawat was to be cast opposite Anil. But the pair has already been seen and rejected in Ram Gopal Varma's Darna Zaroori Hai.
Abbas-Mustan seem to have got the formula right in Race.
"We want to continue doing what would excite the audience. Of course, people want us to make suspense thrillers. We'll continue to do the needful. But we need to spice up proceedings within our comfort zone. One way of doing so is to bring stars together like never before.
"While Race will feature an array of stars in combinations and looks never seen before, the new Bobby-Akshaye starrer, we're now shooting, presents our antagonists from Humraaz in totally different roles. Then we have Mr Fraud where Sanjay Dutt and Ajay Devgan cross swords while Bipasha Basu joins in."
Many other filmmakers are following Abbas-Mustan's formula. Nikhil Advani's Salaam-e-Ishq brought unusual combinations like John Abraham-Vidya Balan.
In Happy Birthday producer Gaurang Doshi has gone to great lengths to get the hitherto-untried combination of John and Aishwarya Rai. Doshi agrees the two stars individually spell much less magic than in a combination.
In Mani Ratnam's Lajjo, Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor come together for the first time.
"It's not just for the audience. The thrill of working with big stars in a new combination also extends to the director," said Abbas.