John Abraham
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Now: Sequels with a difference!

John Abraham

By HT

New Delhi, Feb. 26 -- A whole lot of upcoming sequels in Bollywood are getting a makeover - an all-new ensemble cast, new directors, lead replacements and complete turnabouts in the plot vis-a-vis their originals.

Cases in point: Akshay Kumar has been replaced by John Abraham in the next outings of Hera Pheri and Welcome; Manish Paul will step into Ali Zafar's shoes in the sequel to Tere Bin Laden (2010), and Aftab Shivdasani will fill in for Riteish Deshmukh in the third installment of Kya Kool Hain Hum (2005).

"I did not like the story and don't want to be typecast in any particular genre," Akki told us earlier, on saying no to Hera Pheri 3.

Welcome director, Anees Bazmee, was quoted as saying, "John is not stepping into Akshay's role ... we have created a new role for him." John, on his part, had added, "When I signed the film, the first person I called was Akshay. He was happy for me." Meanwhile, in the same film, Katrina Kaif will be replaced by Shruti Haasan.

Tere Bin Laden director Abhishek Sharma explains, "There are two kinds of sequels - conceptdriven and character-driven. Ours is the first; it is the most original sequel ever."

Trade analyst Atul Mohan feels this may adversely affect business. "People identify the sequel of a film with its original lead pair, and the absence of any one of the stars means loss of interest. It's almost like re-creating a new brand. Some films have justified the exit of its protagonist, but some haven't. At the end of the day, what matters is how entertaining it turns out."