For Karan Johar, remaking Agneepath was more of an emotional decision than anything else. Commercial considerations came only after the decision to remake his father’s production venture had been taken. His assistant, Karan Malhotra, just happened to mention to Karan Johar casually at an informal dinner meeting when Johar’s My Name Is Khan was still being made, that he was a fan of his late father, Yash Johar’s Agneepath, starring Amitabh Bachchan. Hearing this, Karan Johar asked Malhotra a pointed question – would he like to remake the film for his banner? Malhotra nodded in agreement.
Reveals Johar, “It had always been my father’s dream to remake it because he had been crestfallen when Agneepath had failed commercially. Deep down, I wanted to fulfil his dream and here was Karan Malhotra willing to do it.” Even while My Name Is Khan, in the making of which Karan Malhotra was assisting Johar, was being made, Malhotra was secretly working on his version of the script of Agneepath. Recalls Johar, “Soon after the release of My Name Is Khan, Karan narrated me the script of Agneepath, which he had written. I was completely sucked into the narration and I knew then and there that I was going to remake my dad’s film.”
How Hrithik Roshan Signed Up For Agneepath
Both the Karans agreed on the choice of the male lead and before one could say “Hrithik Roshan”, Johar had called him on his cell phone. Hrithik was at that time shooting in Spain for Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and he was taken aback when Johar offered him the role Amitabh Bachchan made iconic, in the remake of the film. He was reluctant, Johar was insistent. Karan Johar then asked Hrithik to hear the story just once before deciding. Off went Malhotra to Spain to give Hrithik a narration and, lo and behold! Hrithik had a change of heart. As Johar puts it, “It was probably the first time in Hrithik’s career that he said ‘yes’ to a film immediately after hearing the script.”
And that was the beginning of the renewed journey of Agneepath. Sanjay Dutt, with whom Yash Johar had made Gumrah and with whose father, Sunil Dutt, Yash-ji shared very cordial relations, came on board Agneepath even before hearing the script. The hardest nut to crack was Rishi Kapoor who was apprehensive about playing a negative role. He agreed to give a screen test – probably a first in his career – because of Karan Johar and also because making his debut with this film was Karan Malhotra, son of Rishi’s very close friend, late Ravi Malhotra. Incidentally, Ravi Malhotra had produced four films with Rishi in the lead – Khel Khel Mein, Jhoota Kahin Ka, Rahi Badal Gaye and Hum Dono. The actor relented after he saw the results of his screen test.