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Ranveer Singh replaces Vicky Kaushal in Ashwatthama? But he’s himself struggled since Padmaavat – Beyond Bollywood

Those merrily tweeting #VickyKaushalcareerdrops seem to have forgotten that the rumoured replacement has himself had a tough last four years.

1. Ranveer Singh in Cirkus [2022]. 2. Vicky Kaushal in Uri: The Surgical Strike [2023]

By Mayur Lookhar

Things can change in quick time in showbiz. Back in 2019, Vicky Kaushal and unheralded director Aditya Dhar shot to national fame with the gigantic success of Uri: The Surgical Strike [2019]. The film, that was made at a budget of roughly Rs25-28 crore, went on to make over Rs250 crore nett in domestic business.

It forged a good bond between the actor and director. The duo was to reunite again for the long awaited Immortal Ashwatthama. It’s Dhar’s ambitious project, which was first announced but then a year later came news that the film has been put on the back burner. Then in July 2022, the film reportedly was back on track with Jio Studios entering the fray. There’s no clarity yet, but the title suggests that the Immortal Ashwatthama could be inspired by the mythological character from Mahabharata.

Forward to April, 2023, social media is abuzz with tales that Vicky Kaushal has been dropped from the project, and is reportedly replaced by Ranveer Singh.  The latter is said to have given his nod to the film, with the shoot expected to commence in October, 2023.  Singh has Karan Johar’s Rocky Rani Ki Prem Kahani releasing later this year.

There is no official confirmation though on Kaushal being replaced by Singh. Efforts to reach out to director Aditya Dhar didn’t yield any response.   While this could still be a rumour, but social media is buzzing with the #VickyKaushalcareerdrops.  Some nasty personal comments are being passed in the garb of banter.

True or false, expect a clarity from Jio Studios, Dhar, Ranveer and maybe even Kaushal in due course of time. However, going by the popular theory that Kaushal’s been dropped because Jio Studios wanted to have a bigger star, Ranveer Singh’s poor form goes against it. Singh has been going through the worst phase of his career. Gully Boy [2019] was critically acclaimed, it did good business but it was no certified blockbuster.  Truth be told, Singh has struggled since Padmaavat [2018] that was a blockbuster garnering over Rs280 crore nett in domestic business alone.

Post Gully Boy, Singh has delivered three successive disasters in 83 [2021], Jayeshbhai Jordaar [2022] and the much-hyped Cirkus [2022]. 83 and Cirkus were big budget films but their poor showing has raised serious questions over Singh being a bankable actor.

Vicky Kaushal meanwhile has hardly done films since Uri: The Surgical Strike [2019]. He did Bhoot: Part One – The Haunted Ship [2020] which proved to be a dud at the box office.  Kaushal was next seen in Sardar Udham [2021] that had to settle for a digital release due to Covid-19. The Shoojit Sircar film and Kaushal’s performance was much acclaimed.  Kaushal was last seen in another digital release, the thriller-cum-comedy Govinda Naam Mera [2022] which evoked mixed views.  Early this year, he was seen in a cameo role in Anurag Kashyap’s Almost Pyaar with DJ Mohabbat [2023]. That film failing though had nothing to with Kaushal.

So, going by recent form, both Singh and Kaushal are sailing in the same boat. In fact, it is Singh who has had to endure the bigger losses with 83 and Cirkus having huge budgets. Jio Studios is reportedly said to have pumped in over Rs200 crore for Immortal Ashwatthama.  Clearly, it’s another punt by the marquee studio. 

If the news is true, it is another big opportunity lost for poor Kaushal.  The actor was Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s first choice to play the role of Raja Ratan Sen in Padmaavat. It was then rumoured that lead actress Deepika Padukone had reservations over Kaushal’s casting.  The role then went to Shahid Kapoor, who enjoyed the biggest success of his career then. Ranveer Singh had played the antagonist Allaudin Khilji in that film.

Unfortunately, after investing so much time, Kaushal’s rumoured exit from Ashwatthama is naturally disappointing for him and his fans.  We have great respect for both Kaushal and Singh. If true, it is simply an unfortunate turn of event.  We hope fans show respect and resist from indulging into any needless, tasteless social media trolling.

One opportunity maybe lost, but Kaushal does have the much-awaited Sam Bahadur [2023] that is based on the life of the late great Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw.

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