This Tamil Star, Not Sunny Deol, Was Director’s First Choice For Ghatak
In the 90s, Sunny Deol was churning out one hit after another and was one of the most bankable stars in the action genre. One of those hits was the Rajkumar Santoshi directorial Ghatak, which was released on November 15, 1996. The film featured Sunny Deol as a village simpleton who travels to the big city for his father’s treatment, only to come to loggerheads with a feared goon of the area, played by Danny Denzongpa. Ghatak turned out to be a big hit and became the fourth highest-grossing movie of that year by doing a business of Rs 44 crore.
It seems almost impossible to imagine someone else in the lead role of Ghatak now but you will be surprised to know that Sunny was not the first choice for the film. Rajkumar Santoshi wanted Tamil star Kamal Haasan to play the lead in the film. Kamal Haasan even gave his nod to the script.
Haasan, who earlier appeared in Hindi films like Ek Duje Ke Liye and Sanam Teri Kasam, was supposed to make a comeback to Bollywood after a long time. In this context, large posters were printed by Rajkumar Santoshi for Kamal Haasan with ‘Welcome back to Hindi screens’ printed on them. However, at the last moment, Kamal Haasan backed out for unknown reasons.
Rajkumar Santoshi was left in a fix and then approached Sunny Deol once again, with whom he had worked in Ghayal and Damini. Meenakshi Seshadri, who was also part of the films mentioned above, was cast again as the female lead. Rajkumar Santoshi made certain modifications to the script to make it suitable for Sunny Deol. Amrish Puri was signed to play a positive role as Sunny’s father after playing the villain opposite him in Damini and Ghayal.
It is interesting to note that Ghatak was not the first Hindi film Kamal Haasan opted out of. Earlier, Subhash Ghai wanted to sign Kamal Haasan in Hero but he did not have dates and newcomer Jackie Shroff was signed instead. Haasan also signed the film Joshilaay in 1983. He later opted out and was replaced by Anil Kapoor.
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