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How Shah Rukh Khan-Salman Khan missed working with each other in ‘Pardes’
Filmmaker Subhash Ghai has revealed that he was under pressure to cast Salman Khan, Madhuri Dixit and Shah Rukh Khan for his romantic drama ‘Pardes’. The 1997 film featured Shah Rukh along with newcomers Mahima Chaudhry and Apurva Agnihotri. For the role of Ganga (played by Mahima) and NRI Rajiv (played by Apurva), Ghai said his production house wanted Madhuri and Salman respectively.
Shah Rukh Khan and Mahima Chaudhary in a still from Pardes
“After several hits, ‘Trimurti’ was Mukta Arts’ first flop. When a film flops, the industry is quick to write you off. I decided to write a film in my own style. When the script was over, we were discussing the casting, which was a big problem. My production house thought Shah Rukh could be in the film along with Salman, playing an NRI, and Madhuri would play the central character.
“I had narrated ‘Ganga’s’ character to Madhuri during ‘Khalnayak’ too. But I wanted newcomers paired with Shah Rukh. His ‘Trimurti’ had flopped and DDLJ (Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge) had worked, so I knew he was a great performer,” Ghai said. ‘Trimurti’ released in 1995, helmed by Mukul Anand, featured Shah Rukh along with Anil Kapoor and Jackie Shroff in the lead. The 72-year-old director said though people in his production house wanted the three superstars together, he was not convinced.
“My office wanted me to make the film with Salman, Madhuri and Shah Rukh because then it would be a big film and losses of ‘Trimurti’ would be covered as well. They were right too. But the director in me wasn’t convinced that we need such a big star cast. “I said three big stars won’t go well in the script that I have. I wanted someone who looked like he has come from foreign for the NRI part. It was a big challenge but I finally managed to get Mahima, Apurva and Shah Rukh,” he said.
The director was speaking at the special screening of the film, which completed 20 years in August. It was showcased at New Excelsior Cinema, which was recently acquired by Mukta A2 Cinema, a branch of Ghai’s Mukta Arts. Ghai said another challenge for him once the cast was locked was to present Shah Rukh in a non-romantic role. “Shah Rukh’s image had turned romantic after DDLJ but this role wasn’t romantic at all. The challenge was to tell Shah Rukh that he won’t be like a romantic hero in any shot. Till the end, there was no hero-heroine romance. It was a wonderful thing,” he recalled.