Shah Rukh Khan and John Abraham come together for Pathan, while Ajay Devgn and Sidharth Malhotra team up for Thank God.
Shah Rukh Khan and John Abraham come together for Pathan, while Ajay Devgn and Sidharth Malhotra team up for Thank God.

Pathan, Thank God, Adipurush: Bollywood still believes in two hero films?

A host of two-hero films are in the offing such as Pathan, Thank God, Jug Jug Jeeyo, and more. What’s with this renewed interest after a lull? We talk to actors and makers to ask their take.
By Rishabh Suri
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 10:14 PM IST

A few in 2020, one in 2019- two hero films at large have dwindled in numbers over the years in Bollywood. While Tanhaji- The Unsung Warrior saw two A-listers, Ajay Devgn and Saif Ali Khan pitted against each other, War had Hrithik Roshan playing Tiger Shroff’s teacher in a spy thriller setup. These remain the most well-known examples of such films in recent times.

2021 looks set to change things though. A host of two hero films are in the offing- Pathan with Shah Rukh Khan and John Abraham, who again will star alongside another hero in the sequel to Ek Villain. Adipurush will see Saif coming together to lock horns with Prabhas.

Director Bejoy Nambiar, who had helmed Taish (2020), had said some time back that our industry is “wary of two hero films” and when we reach out to him, he maintains that. “I said that because that is a fact. We see a lot of two hero films happening currently, but they already have an equation with each other. For medium and filmmakers like me, such films are extremely difficult, I have always faced a lot of pushback. I haven’t had much luck casting two-three heroes in a film. And this push back is more from the actors’ side,” he says.

Actor Anil Kapoor, who will star with Varun Dhawan in Jug Jug Jeeyo, says the film’s script is most important. “Then who the director is. If both that, the producer and the role is good, then how does it matter? Definitely, if you have another star who is fantastic, popular, successful and a good actor, it overall makes the project even more exciting,” he tells us.

Sidharth Malhotra has done quite a few two-hero films in his career- Kapoor & Sons, Ek Villain, and now Thank God with Ajay Devgn. He says, “I have done so many films which have had so many characters, whether its lead roles or character roles for them to do. So I am very comfortable sharing space with other actors and heroes. I feel I have never shied away from trying different genres and sharing the screen with other actors where they have a lot to do. So I think it only lends itself to an interesting watch.”

In the earlier times, there were a lot of multi-hero films made, which is pointed out by trade expert Atul Mohan as well when he says, “If you see any Amitabh Bachchan, Vinod Khanna, Rishi Kapoor or Dharmendra film, they were always a complete package, never solo hero films. Now, it’s changing, the new heroes feel what if the other hero gets more importance than him, his character should be stronger than the other, the ego clashes. Most importantly, it also invites heavy investment. Nowadays each big actor asks for 25-30 crores. That makes the budget high, and not every producer can afford it. I agree with Bejoy, it’s difficult to manage two heroes.”

Bachchan Pandey, an Akshay Kumar show all the way, will also have Arshad Warsi on board. He says that the problem lies in satisfying the egos of two heroes. “That’s what the issue is. We don’ have that, let me clarify, in Bachchan Pandey, Akshay is the hero, I have got nothing to do with that, I am just playing a role. Two-hero films are difficult, I agree, you need to balance both ehroes out, which becomes the issue because everybody wants to look better than the other. It’ hard to write scripts like that,” says the actor.

Interact with the author on Twitter/ @RishabhSuri02

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