Sajid Khan has always maintained that when it came to Himmatwala, his first and only choice for the central protagonist was Ajay Devgn. Moreover, he was sure that with Ajay in there, the film would truly create the magical era of the 80s.
Smiles Sajid, “Ajay and I have been buddies since our college days. I want to state this on record that Ajay is a director’s delight. I don’t think that there is any role that he cannot do. Now because I love him and the very core of Himmatwala so much, I have gone all out to make it special for both. The way Ajay has been presented in the film is on the lines of Amitabh Bachchan being presented by Manmohan Desai in his many films.”
In that aspect, Tamannaah Bhatia too has turned out to be a lucky girl indeed. After all, she turned out to be the chosen one after she nudged out quite a few other established leading ladies from Bollywood.
“Arrey nahi, aisa kuch nahi hua tha. Yes, I remember that there was a talk about how different Bollywood heroines were approached for the film or how there were some who were quite keen to do the film. Really, all of that was completely false,” says Sajid.
He continues, “As a matter of fact, I never wanted a Bollywood heroine and always had my eyes set on someone big from South. This is something that I was very superstitious about. When I told Vashu (Bhagnani) that, he got in touch with Tamannaah’s father. Within a day she was in his office and without even blinking an eye or me seeing a single South film of hers, she was signed.”
One does wonder though if it was a well calculated risk that he took.
“When you see the kind of reactions that her performance in Naino Mein Sapna is getting, do you think it was risky? You can credit her experience and my gut instincts for that”, smiles Sajid.
A co-production of Vashu Bhagnani and Siddharth Roy Kapur, Himmatwala releases all over on 29th March.
Joginder Tuteja tweets @tutejajoginder