Nawazuddin Siddiqui
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Bollywood Movies: Offbeat pairings!

Nawazuddin Siddiqui

By HT

New Delhi, Oct. 20 -- Even back in the '70s and '80s, the Hindi film industry had a certain pattern when it came to casting. Names like Om Puri and Naseeruddin Shah that were largely associated with art-house cinema at the time were paired with actors such as Smita Patil and Shabana Azmi, who, too, were known for a similar brand of cinema.

On the other hand, stars who were considered more 'commercial' - Amitabh Bachchan and Rajesh Khanna, for instance - were invariably teamed with mainstream heroines like Rekha, Hema Malini and Zeenat Aman.

Although some of these art film actors did cross over to movies that were more mass-y, they didn't receive the warmest welcome from the commercial quarters, and therefore, never tasted as much success.

However, a current casting trend emerging in Bollywood seems to be challenging the norm. Instead of playing it safe and relying on star status, an increasing number of makers are sticking to the script's character requirements and opting to pair actors who are considered commercial with those known for their offbeat choices.

For instance, Richa Chadda, who has played memorable roles in films like Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! (2008), Gangs Of Wasseypur and Fukrey (2013), will soon be seen opposite Saif Ali Khan in director Reema Kagti's Mr Chaalu. "Just the fact that two actors, who belong to completely different spaces, are coming together for the first time, is enough to interest the new-age audience," says Richa.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui will be seen romancing Chitrangda Singh in director Kushan Nandy's Babumoshai Bandookbaaz. Rajkummar Rao and Sonam Kapoor will team up for the Arbaaz Khan-produced Dolly Ki Doli. Imran Khan and Kangana Ranaut are set to star in director Nikhil Advani's next, Katti Batti.

"Today, filmmakers are increasingly relying on the merit of the script. If the script becomes the foundation of any film and not the star system, and if it demands a novel casting decision, so be it," says Advani.

While director Sriram Raghavan has also cast Varun Dhawan opposite Huma Qureshi in his next, director Shoojit Sircar will bring Irrfan Khan and Deepika Padukone together on the big screen. In two other films, Irrfan will be seen opposite Kangana Ranaut and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.