By Taran Adarsh, Bollywood Hungama News Network
This one's a crucial week for the makers of LUCK BY CHANCE and VICTORY. Note the similarities between the two films: Both are helmed by first-time directors [Zoya Akhtar and Ajitpal Mangat, respectively] and both happen to be based on the two major passions of Indians [Bollywood and cricket, respectively]. Coincidentally, the films also happen to be the second release of the lead men [Farhan Akhtar, after ROCK ON!! and Harman Baweja, after LOVE STORY 2050].
But not many are aware that the two films were never meant to star the actors who we see on billboards today. Not many know that Zoya Akhtar was supposed to start LUCK BY CHANCE way back in 2002, with Vivek Oberoi and Tabu enacting principal roles [enacted by Farhan Akhtar and Konkona Sen Sharma eventually]. But the project never went on floors.
Zoya tried to start afresh with several actors, but something would always go wrong at the last minute. "Perhaps, the actors would develop cold feet since the protagonist has grey shades," Farhan confides. Zoya aborted the idea of making LUCK BY CHANCE and decided to make KISMET TALKIES instead. But even this project didn't materialize.
Much later, after watching a private screening of THE FAKIR OF VENICE, starring Farhan in the lead, she popped the question to her bhaijaan: Will you act in my film? Farhan agreed, but insisted that Zoya make LUCK BY CHANCE. That's how the project, which was conceptualized in 2002, eventually took shape in 2008.
VICTORY too was never meant to star Harman Baweja. Ajitpal Mangat had locked the script of the film a couple of years ago. "My friends would always discourage me from making this film. They felt that it would be too tough an experience for a first-time director. Much later, I narrated the subject to Manmohan Shetty. He kept staring at me all through the narration. I felt, he hated the plotline, but at the end of the narration, he simply asked, 'Why were you sitting on this script all this while?' That's how I developed the confidence to start VICTORY," Ajitpal divulges.
However, the casting was entirely different initially. "I had several meetings with another actor initially, but I soon realized that I needed to cast an actor without the baggage of an image. Someone who would look like a cricketer. Manmohan-ji suggested Harman. I met him, sounded off the subject to him, saw his enthusiasm and I knew I had found my Vijay Shekhawat," Ajitpal smiles.
The rest is history!