Salman Khan
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Bollywood: Two better than one!

Salman Khan

By HT

Mumbai, Nov. 25 -- Bollywood isn't new to stars playing double roles in movies. One of the first actors to play such a role was Ashok Kumar in the 1943 film, Kismet. Of late, there has been a sudden rise in the number of movies featuring actors in multiple roles.

This year, we saw Saif Ali Khan play a double role in Happy Ending (HE), Abhishek Bachchan played wo parts in Happy New Year (HNY), and we will soon see Ajay Devgn in two avatars in Pradhudeva's action drama. Now, 2015 will see as many as over half a dozen actors in such roles with Salman Khan leading the way.

Salman plays a prince and a commoner in Sooraj Barjatya's next. Later, he will shoot for Anees Bazmee's sequel to No Entry, wherein all the three leads - Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor and Fardeen Khan - will have double roles. Director Maneesh Sharma's Shah Rukh Khan-starrer will also see the actor in two roles, that of an actor and a fan. Anushka Sharma, too, is rumoured to play two characters in an upcoming Anurag Kashyap directorial, as is Sunny Leone in her next. Kangana Ranaut will also play two roles in the sequel of Tanu Weds Manu.

Explaining Bollywood's interest in double roles, trade analyst Amod Mehra says, "Double roles have always fascinated the industry, as they make for very interesting scripts. Moreover, films with double roles usually have a good success rate at the box office."

Producer of a Jacqueline Fernandez-starrer, which has her in a double role, Bhushan Kumar says, "The script demanded a double role and moreover, these dual characters always add a certain masala to the script."

But creating two characters using the same actor in a film isn't as easy as it seems. Director Raj Nidimoru, co-director of HE, feels while actors love doing double roles, it is tedious for the director to merge the stories and scenes seamlessly. He says, "Movies with double roles are always challenging. It's a great chance for the actors, who get an opportunity to essay another role in the same film, but the onus to build chemistry between the two characters lies on the director."

Abhishek, who enjoyed playing Nandu and Vicky Grover in HNY, admits it takes a lot of work. He says, "Doing a double role is a bit difficult when the two characters come face to face. In HNY, both my characters were diametrically opposite. Farah and I had worked for over a year to get the character right."

With the trend currently in vogue, it looks like a win-win situation for both the audience and the film-makers.