When director-actor pairs go awry

Mumbai, Oct 18 It has happened so many times before. Avant-garde directors who start off with committed actors suddenly start bothering about commercial considerations and change loyalties.

Thursday, October 18, 2007 | 10:33:42 AM IST (+05:30 GMT)
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Mumbai, Oct 18 (IANS) It has happened so many times before. Avant-garde directors who start off with committed actors suddenly start bothering about commercial considerations and change loyalties.

It happened when Prakash Jha crossed over from Anu Kapoor in 'Damul' to Ajay Devgan in 'GangaaJal'. Poor Anu kept quiet. But the volatile Naseeruddin Shah was far more vocal when Ketan Mehta decided to make his dream project on the life of Mangal Pandey with Amitabh Bachchan. The film finally got made with Aamir Khan in the lead.

Naseer blasted Mehta for deserting those who supported the cause of meaningful cinema. So did Om Puri. He felt betrayed when his favourite director Govind Nihalani switched from the Om-Naseer brigade to Ajay in 'Takshak'. This, after Om provided Nihalani with infinite inspirational energy in 'Aakrosh', 'Ardh Satya' and numerous other films.

Now perhaps it's Rajpal Yadav's turn.

Having been a prominent and pivotal part of Chandan Arora's first two fine and relevant feature films, 'Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon' and 'Main Meri Patni Aur Woh', it was expected that Rajpal would naturally be an intrinsic part of Chandan's third film.

But Chandan's new venture, 'Striker', features Tamil superstar Siddharth in the lead.

'Rajpal and I share a tuning that goes beyond one film. If I had my way I'd cast him in all my films. But after 'Main Madhuri...' and 'Main Meri Patni Aur Woh' didn't work out, coming together for a third film would have made both of us look like losers drifting together. Rajpal has proved himself as an actor. I need to get my credibility level high,' Arora told IANS.

Rajpal laughs off any question of betrayal.

'Chandan and I have done two films together and they've been decisive to my career. Whatever work I'm doing today is because of 'Main Madhuri...' and 'Main Meri Patni Aur Woh'. In the future whenever Chandan and I come together, it would be with majbooti (strength) not out of majboori (lack of choice),' said Rajpal, who no longer insists on leads.

'I can create my space even in a cameo, as I've done in my new release 'Bhool Bhulaiyaa'. Or it can be the lead, like in 'Dhol'.

'In fact, I'm the lead with Govinda in 'Chal Chala Chal' and in Rakesh Roshanji's 'Krazy 4'. I've listened to 45-50 scripts in the last few months. Of these I've chosen to be in just four-five films,' he said.

Tell him how his presence in the otherwise-disastrous 'Go' brings the house down and Rajpal is delighted.

'I'm blessed. I came into the industry only to be an actor. How was I to know audiences would love me so much? If today they start laughing the minute they see me on screen, I want to pay them back for their love by not making false moves. No more films like 'Undertrial' for me.'

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