Sanjay Dutt is Kancha Cheena

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By Hindustan Times

MUMBAI, Dec. 1 -- Sanjay Dutt has been finalised to play the villain in producer Karan Johar's remake of the 1990 film, Agneepath, produced earlier by his father Yash Johar. The actor will be seen as Kancha Cheena, the role essayed by actor Danny Denzongpa in the original. When asked, Johar confirms and says, "Yes, Sanjay Dutt will be essaying the role of Kancha Cheena in Agneepath. All of us at Dharma Productions are extremely excited to work with Sanju. He is a close family friend and one of the nicest guys I know."

Initially, the role had been offered to actor Rishi Kapoor, who was reportedly thrilled about playing a negative role, despite being uncomfortable with them in earlier films like Bol Radha Bol (1992) and Khoj (1989).

Insiders say that Kapoor opted out of the project following a spat with Johar after the Deepika Padukone-Sonam Kapoor episode of Koffee With Karan 3, because he felt that his son Ranbir had been purposely ridiculed on national television.

The role had been offered to Dutt last week and he immediately gave his nod. Apparently, Johar wanted Dutt to go bald for the character, but he refused (though it's said that Rishi Kapoor was willing to shave his head). It's learnt that the filmmaker is flying down make-up artistes from London to give Dutt the bald look required for the film that goes on the floors in January.

When asked why he had cast Dutt in the part after offering the role to Rishi, Johar, without mentioning the 'spat', says, "He is absolutely the best actor today to play Kancha Cheena."

The original movie was directed by Mukul S Anand. The Karan Malhotra-directed remake has Hrithik Roshan playing Vijay Dinanath Chauhan, the role for which Amitabh Bachchan won a National Award in 1990. Priyanka Chopra will be seen in the role of the nurse, played by Madhavi in the original. The search for actors to play the roles that Rohini Hattangadi and Neelam essayed is still on.

Agneepath was set in Mandwa, a village dictated by crime czar Kancha Cheena. The title of the film was taken from a poem penned by Harivansh Rai Bachchan and was recited by the central character throughout the film.