When Sunny Deol Was Considered A Disastrous Choice For Damini, But Rishi Kapoor Lost To Paaji's 12th Reel Challenge & Confessed, "I Was The Hero, But He Was More Bankable"
Sunny Deol & Rishi Kapoor Rewrote Darr’s ‘Cheat’ History For Damini But Tables Turned! (Picture Credit: YouTube)

We all know Sunny Deol and his famous tale of getting cheated upon by Yash Chopra, who promised Sunny to be the hero of Darr but made the film all about Shah Rukh Khan and presented it as an anti-hero film. However, good things happen to honest souls.

So, in a very karmic sort of way, Sunny Paaji got all the attention and his due as the hero in a film that changed the way his career was proceeding. And the film where everyone thought that the Gadar actor’s casting was a disastrous choice.

Sunny Deol was the supporting lead for Rajkumar Santoshi’s Damini. The duo had previously worked together in Ghayal, and when Santoshi was making Damini, Sunny was not the obvious choice. In fact, Om Puri was the original choice of the lawyer in the film.

As a filmmaker, Rajkumar Santoshi always wanted a cinematic face-off between Amrish Puri and Om Puri, and the two lawyers in Damini were decided. However, things could not materialize with Om Puri over finances. Later, Rajkumar Santoshi casually pitched a film to the Gadar actor where neither the actor entered before the 12th reel nor was he the hero of the film since that role was offered to Rishi Kapoor. But Sunny Paaji accepted the challenge.

When Rajkumar Santoshi rolled the film with Sunny Deol, everyone was wary of the choice. As quoted by Mumbai Mirror, the director said, “Sunny was better known then as an action star, and many, including my producers and his friends Aly and Karim Morani and Bunty Soorma, had apprehensions about casting him in a role that was all about dialoguebaazi, but I knew he’d pull it off and he did.”

Years later, in his book Khullam Khulla, Rishi Kapoor admitted how the Darr actor walked off with all the fame for Damini since he grabbed the maximum attention with his loud portrayal. He mentioned, “Although I was supposed to be the hero of the film and Sunny had a guest appearance in it, in the end, he walked away with the accolades and the applause.”

Defending his portrayal of a man torn between the duties of a husband and love for his family, the actor wrote, “Underplaying a character and still standing out is a tough act to pull off. Perhaps Sunny was better than me; perhaps his role resonated more with the audience, but my character was more difficult to essay.”

Concluding the discussion, the actor also wrote that perhaps Sunny Deol was the more bankable star, so despite him being the hero, the Gadar actor became the star of the film. The star he thought he would be with Yash Chopra’s Darr but could not be.

For more such throwbacks, stay tuned to Koimoi.

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