Dear Mr Chopra,
Hope “Allz well” with you… Just thought of writing to you to tell you what I feel about your films ‘Munnabhai’ and ‘3 Idiots’. I have been a huge fan of all your films, for they are driven by quality content and a fine star cast. Out of all your films, the Munnabhai series and ‘3 Idiots’ are my favourites. Let me thank you for giving us these films that have less of glam quotient and talk more of morality and righteousness.
However, I do have something to complain about. I am sorry to say but I did not appreciate your statement about how keen you were to approach Shah Rukh Khan to play Munnabhai and Rancchod Das Chhancchad and even for ‘Ferrari Ki Sawari’ that now has Sharman Joshi playing the lead role. This straight-faced confession of yours in public has deeply hurt me… and I am sure fans of Munnabhai and Aamir would be equally depressed to have heard this from you.
You know what, I am glad Shah Rukh was unavailable every time you approached him for these films… for whatever reasons. No one else can portray the flamboyant and effervescent Munnabhai but Sanjay Dutt. Look how beautifully he has given life to the character that instantly struck an emotional chord with followers of the Munnabhai franchise. And Aamir in ‘3 Idiots’ was “perfect” as Rancchod Das Chhanchhad aka Phunsuk Wangdu. He looked literally like a college going kid with every action of his reminding us of how we behaved in our teens - his body language, his screen presence and the way he exhibited the character.
Every time I see Sanju Baba as Munnabhai, I feel there’s really someone called ‘Munnabhai’ around. He has done complete justice to the character and has left no stone unturned to transform himself into the lovable Munnabhai. Same is the case with Aamir in ‘3 Idiots’. As we all know he is a hardcore perfectionist and has done all possible things to look convincing as a brilliant student who is quite childlike and is a thorough prankster.
I really wonder how could you say, “Shah Rukh was offered `3 Idiots`, `Ferrari Ki Sawari`, `Munnabhai` and other films. He is our first guy - we go to him first and if he says no, then we move on.” Does that mean you would approach someone else ONLY if Shah Rukh was unavailable? Agreed producers and filmmakers have certain reservations and choices but that certainly doesn’t mean you would blatantly speak about your preferences that might end up hurting people. And that’s like undermining the worth of actors who finally worked in your films.
Yes, I do know for a fact that Aamir and Sanjay must have really liked your scripts hence they decided to team up with you…but I am sure they wouldn’t ever like to play second fiddle to someone. So what if Sharman Joshi is not as big a star as Shah Rukh, he is undoubtedly a fine actor. I am sure he has done a great job in ‘Ferrari Ki Sawari’.
Having studied films in college, I do know what goes on in the mind of a director-producer like you and I have a lot of respect for the seat you occupy. But please refrain from making such statements for you never know you might end up not finding the best actor for your films in future.
I am sorry if I am being blunt, but this is how you sounded while saying, “He (SRK) is our first guy - we go to him first and if he says no, then we move on.”
But I am glad you said, “Today, I feel Sanjay is perfect as Munna and same way Sharman fits the central role in `Ferrari Ki Sawari`.” You reportedly are also keen on casting Aamir and Vidya Balan in a film. I hope this time around Aamir was your first choice!
But what is the point in clarifying now Mr. Chopra? Stop mincing words and put it straight - you couldn’t have found a better Munnabhai in the form of Sanjay Dutt, Rancho in Aamir Khan and Rustam in Sharman.
Trust me, I have nothing personal against you or Shah Rukh Khan but I thought of venting my angst so that sincere feelings of mine and many others could reach you through this piece.
(Disclaimer: I ain’t an enemy of Shah Rukh Khan. He is a brilliant actor and someone I adore. So please, fans of Shah Rukh Khan do not slam me for not favouring him in this case, though I know I am bound to face severe criticism from all of you for writing this.)