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Madhuri-Sanjay, Salman-Priyanka, Rishi-Amitabh: Bollywood recreates the charm

In 2018-19, many hit pairings are coming back together on-screen after a gap of several years. We find out what tempts filmmakers to cast them and how good it is for the business of cinema.

bollywood Updated: Apr 30, 2018 17:17 IST
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Hindustan Times
Madhuri Dixit,Salman Khan,Priyanka Chopra
Actors Sanjay Dutt and Madhuri Dixit would be seen together in Karan Johar’s Kalank after a gap of 21 years.

Ever since filmmaker Karan Johar shared the poster of his next production venture, Kalank, on social media, movie buffs have been in a tizzy. Why? The film will reunite actors Madhuri Dixit and Sanjay Dutt on-screen 21 years after their last outing, Mahaanta (1997). Just a couple of days before this, director Ali Abbaz Zafar announced that Priyanka Chopra will be paired with Salman Khan in Bharat, thus bringing the pair back on-screen 10 years after their last film, God Tussi Great Ho (2008). Looks like this is the season of revisiting hit pairs on the big screen.

That’s not it — 2018-19 will see many such sought-after comebacks: Madhuri Dixit and Anil Kapoor (last seen in Pukar, 2000) have reunited after 17 years for Total Dhamaal; Rishi Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan (last seen in Ajooba, 1991) are back together after 27 years in 102 Not Out; Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Anil Kapoor (last seen in Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai, 2000) are co-starring in Fanne Khan after 18 years; Salman Khan and Anil Kapoor (last seen in Yuvvraaj, 2008) have worked after 10 years in Race 3; Manisha Koirala and Paresh Rawal (last seen in Angaaray, 1998) will be seen together after 20 years in Sanju. Earlier this month, Tabu and Manoj Bajpayee were seen together in Missing, 18 years after they did Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar. Last year, too, saw Ajay Devgn and Tabu coming back together in Golmaal Again, after a gap of 18 years; their last outing was Thakshak in 1999.

Ali Abbas Zafar says, “I’ve worked with both Priyanka (in Gunday, 2014) and Salman (Tiger Zinda Hai, 2017) and I just think that they’ll look really look good together on camera.” He adds that while “every film is a new challenge”, news of the pairing has been received “very positively” by people.

Bringing Rishi and Amitabh back together, director Umesh Shukla feels “honoured to have got this opportunity to direct the legends in 102 Not Out”. He says, “The audience will have a great time watching their fantastic chemistry after 27 years. They make the toughest of the scenes look effortless, and they mould into any role so perfectly. This film will be a magical experience for the audience.”

Bringing Rishi Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan back onscreen after nearly three decades, director Umesh Shukla feels “honoured to have got this opportunity to direct the legends in 102 Not Out”. He says, “The audience will have a great time watching their fantastic chemistry after 27 years. They make the toughest of the scenes look effortless and they mould into any role so perfectly. This film will be a magical experience for the audience and they will take away a lot from it.”

Trade experts, too, agree that the kind of excitement these lead pairs generate could mean great business for a film. Trade analyst Atul Mohan says, “Since they have worked together in past and their chemistry has worked, it’s easier for fans to recall that.” As for why we haven’t seen their pairing for so many years and why so many are coming now all together, Mohan says, “It could be either the demand of the script or sheer coincidence that so many of these lead pairs will be seen together again.”

Bollywood critic Omar Qureshi points out that the truth about stardom is simply about who has staying power. “In the Nineties, some 20 new nubile heroines were introduced and every hero wanted to work with them. This became a trend in the millennium as well, with actors passing [themselves] off as younger by starring opposite youthful actresses. But star muscle is star muscle. We’ve seen the magic that Sanjay-Madhuri can create in person. And names like Salman, Priyanka, Amitabh, Rishi, Ajay, Tabu — they have an awesome kind of superpower. It’s called personality, talent stardom and charisma. The new crop has a long way to go to beat that.”

Interact with Monika Rawal Kukreja at Twitter/@monikarawal

First Published: Apr 30, 2018 17:16 IST