The race between superstars Rajnikant and Shah Rukh Khan to reach the theatres first has been won by the Tamil veteran. And now, there are fears that the makers of Kuselan will dub it in Hindi and release it before SRK's Billoo Barber, the Hindi remake of the same story.
But Priyadarshan, who is busy finishing the Hindi version with Shah Rukh, is unperturbed.
Kuselan, the Tamil version of the Malayalam super hit Katha Parayumpol about the relationship between a superstar and a barber, has made it to the top of the box office charts.
According to Priyadarshan, the original Malayalam film, written by Sreenivasan, is very different from both Kuselan and Billoo Barbar.
"Sreenivasan gave the Tamil rights to the producers after consulting me. Since they were very keen to make it with Rajnikant, we relented. But the contract clearly says that Kuselan cannot be dubbed into any other language. Likewise, my Hindi version cannot be dubbed in any other language," Priyadarshan told IANS.
"We have clearly put all this in the contract to avoid the kind of overlapping that was attempted when I remade the Malayalam film Manichithrathazhu as Bhool Bhulaiyaa in Hindi, and Rajni's Tamil film Chandramukhi from the same source was also attempted to be released in a dubbed Hindi version. I'll avoid this kind of clash of interests at any cost," the director maintained.
But the question is: Would the contract prevent the makers of Kuselan from finding loopholes in it to release the film in a dubbed Hindi version? If they do, would it affect Billoo Barbar?
According to a source, a dubbed Hindi version of Kuselan is being released around the same time as Billoo Barber.
"Not at all," asserted Priyadarshan confidently. "Only the climax of Kuselan and Billoo Barber are the same. Otherwise, they are two different films.
"See, like all Rajnikant starrers, Kuselan has been made to spotlight Rajni as a larger-than-life icon. I believe he enters the film riding a winged horse. Though my film also stars a superstar (Shah Rukh) as a superstar, I've nowhere tried to increase his role or heighten the impact of his presence. I'm not that kind of filmmaker.
"In Bhool Bhulaiyaa, Akshay Kumar made his entry at interval point. I'm making it very clear that Irrfan Khan and not Shah Rukh has the main role in Billoo Barber. My film isn't a platform to glorify the mega-star.
"We'd have wrapped up Billoo Barber much earlier. But Shah Rukh got busy with the IPL (Indian Premier League). Never mind. It makes no difference to our film."
Billoo Barber is scheduled for a Diwali release.
"If I wanted I could've rushed the release. But we're not in competition with anyone. And, like I said, the Kuselan makers are bound by the contract. They can't dub the film into Hindi or any other language," said Priyadarshan confidently.