Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Was John Abraham forced out of Bombay Velvet?

Allow me to indulge in some idle speculation. Earlier this year, the media was buzzing with the prospect of John Abraham, hot off his fantastic reviews for the Yash Raj hit New York, reuniting with Dev.D director Anurag Kashyap in a period film to be called Bombay Velvet. In April, the director spoke about the upcoming film to PTI and said, "Yes, after Gulaal, where no body got paid, I am making Bombay Velvet which involves a huge amount of money. As of now we have John Abraham, Naseeruddin Shah and Kay Kay Menon on board."

And in another interview Anurag stated, "I've never handled this kind of budget before. I want to be sure of the script. After No Smoking, John and I want to make sure our film is accessible to the audience." The box office failure of No Smoking, which I attribute to a poorly handled marketing campaign, must surely weigh heavily on both mens' minds. Perhaps it was this fear that drove Anurag to join forces with the internationally celebrated English director of Slumdog Millionaire, Danny Boyle because by June of this year, Anurag had confirmed in the TOI that he was working with Danny Boyle on an upcoming project. No details were divulged then - but it seems that the project turned out to be Bombay Velvet.

Now, the reports in the press emphasize Danny Boyle signing Aamir Khan and potentially Shahrukh Khan for Bombay Velvet, with Anurag Kashyap mentioned tangentially and no information about the change in casting.

Did the notoriously superstar egos of the two Khans force Kashyap to ditch the younger and fitter John Abraham? Aamir, who is still movie-star handsome but looking all of his 40+ years, is rumored to have undergone botox to prepare for his role as a college youth in 3 Idiots. Appearing on screen beside the tall, fit former model would surely not flatter the image of the diminuative Aamir.

Or was the star power of John Abraham not big enough for Danny Boyle? Back in April, when Bombay Velvet was first announced, Anurag said, "I have finally realised that to reach a wider audience one needs to have big names in the film." While John is certainly a big name in Mumbai, perhaps he wasn't big enough for Boyle, despite John's great reviews in films targeted at an international audience like Water and Kabul Express.

Let's hope that Danny Boyle has learned a bit more about Bollywood and the changes made to Anurag Kashyap's film are not too reckless. Don't forget that while Slumdog Millionaire was a success in the west, it performed very poorly in India.

My expectations that I will at all enjoy Bombay Velvet have gone to the basement - I was looking forward to John Abraham and Anurag's new film but a new Danny Boyle film? No, thanks.


rhilex said...

I don't really know what to say, but you have to remember that a lot of this SRK/Aamir stuff might just be made up by the media. As for me, I highly doubt those Khans would ever be on screen together, though it would be a neat idea. I don't know if it's a thing with them not wanting to star opposite each other or not finding a suitable script, or maybe something else? *shrugs*

But anyways, have we heard any official word from Shah Rukh and Aamir? I don't think so, but I may have missed something. Just saying-- don't worry too much until we have official word.

Anonymous said...

Anurag show go with John and Abhishek who have great chemistry together as proven in Dostana and Dhoom.

I'm not looking forward to a Boyle type movie - not a fan. My entire family thought SDM was one of the most overrated movies in 2008.

Anyway, I don't see SRK and Aamir coming together for a movie.

Anonymous said...

John is not really that big of a name even in Mumbai. He cannot open a movie to packed houses as a solo hero. That is what counts. SRK, Aamir, Akshay, Hrithik, and lately Saif, Shahid are the only ones who can be counted on for a good opening. So of course, it makes sense to go for the more bankable stars.

Filmi Girl said...

@Rhilex - I guess I'm just disappointed at the movie I thought was going to happen... not happening. :)

@anonymous 1 You and I are thinking on the same lines. I was looking forward to another Anurag Kashyap movie and now I'm disappointed to find a Danny Boyle movie. :(

@anonymous 2 You make a good point. It's true that John isn't a big name but he was big enough with Katrina to make New York a hit. If they had gotten a big enough actress for the film, it might have been enough star power....

Oh well... I guess we'll never know the real reason... :)

Anonymous said...

New York is a different scenario, though. It was the first big movie to release in India after a long strike, and people were starved for movies. Even YRF were surprised that it opened so well. And the fact that it was well made carried it through. I don't think it would have got such an opening in a 'normal' season. It was a relatively low budget movie too.

Filmi Girl said...

@Anonymous You make some good points... but I still that John Abraham would have been big enough for this film. His profile has certainly been raised after Dostana and New York, for one thing.

And Anurag Kashyap has Kunal Kapoor as the solo hero of Doga - which has to be a bigger budget than this film - and John has a much bigger name than him.

If it was Kunal Khemu or even Neil Nitin Mukesh or Abhay Deol, then I'd say you were right about not enough Star Power... but paired with a bigger name heroine, I would bet John could open this type of dramamtic film.

Note from Filmi Girl:

I love Bollywood - and all the ridiculous things that happen in Bollywood - but it doesn't mean that I can't occasionally make fun of various celebrities and films.

If you don't like my sense of humor, please just move on by - Trolls are not appreciated and nasty comments will be deleted.

xoxo Filmi Girl
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