S. Shankar’s Nayak was launched exactly 20 years ago. Although it was not a success upon release, Anil Kapoor’s protagonists Rani Mukerji, Amrish Puri, and Paresh Rawal enjoy cult status now. As we celebrate two decades of the political action movie, we take you back in time and tell you how the main cast was decided. Did you know that Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan were also considered to play Shivaji Rao?
In a previous conversation, the director was candid about the cast of the film and shared some interesting tidbits about the cast. Read on to find out everything.
During an interaction with Filmfare for its August 2001 issue, Shankar talked about how Anil Kapoor and Rani Mukerji came together as leads in the film. While claiming that he first approached Aamir Khan to play the journalist-turned-politician, the director of Nayak said: “But we both faced a huge communication gap. His views on Mudhalvan (1999) did not match mine, so I quickly moved on. “For the unspoken, the film is Shankar’s Hindi remake of Mudhalvan.
Continuing with the casting for the lead role of Nayak, Shankar revealed that after Aamir approached Shah Rukh Khan to play the role, finally rehearsed by Anil Kapoor. He said: “Shah Rukh was more receptive than Aamir, but he refrained saying that since he had played a television reporter in his home production Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani (2000), which had just been released, he was not interested in assuming a similar role in such a short interval. “
Finally shedding light on how Anil Kapoor landed the role, the director said that Boney Kapoor sent him a sensor indicating that his brother would be happy to work with him. The filmmaker said: “I heard that Anil was one of the most disciplined actors in the Hindi industry and I decided to sign him. My bet has paid off. Anil Kapoor completed my film in record time and showed a level of discipline that I thought only existed in the South. “
The Nayak director also shed light on why he decided to cast Mukerji as the film’s female lead. Speaking of going with Rani to the beautiful Manjari village instead of Manisha Koirala from the original film, Shankar said, “Rani Mukerji has the bubbly image that I needed for the character. Manisha is a good actress, but she has been in Hindi cinema for a decade now. In the Tamil version, we could get away with choosing Manisha because she is not as exposed in the south. For Hindi, I needed someone like Rani Mukerji or Preity Zinta. “
Would you have loved to see someone play the lead roles other than Anil Kapoor and Rani in Nayak? Let us know in the comments below.
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