Ram Gopal Varma: I wanted Shah Rukh Khan for Dawood’s role in Company

RGV also said that he had Kamal Haasan in mind initially for the character ultimately played by Mohanlal in the film
Ram Gopal Varma and Shah Rukh Khan
Ram Gopal Varma and Shah Rukh Khan

Filmmaker Ram Gopal Verma recently revealed that he had initially approached Shah Rukh Khan for the role of underworld don Dawood Ibrahaim (called Mallik in the film), which was ultimate played by Ajay Devgn in his 2002 gangster-drama Company.

The director also said that he initially wanted Abhishek Bachchan to play Chhota Rajan’s character, which was played by Vivek Oberoi and had Kamal Hassan in mind for the role of Mumbai Police Commissioner which was ultimately essayed by Mohanlal.

In a video shared on his YouTube channel RGV spoke about several key scenes in Company, and discussed the casting process. Asked if Ajay Devgn was always the first choice for the role of Malik, he said, “At one point of time, I wanted Shah Rukh. I met Shah Rukh, he was excited. I wanted Shah Rukh for Dawood. But I felt that he’s very hyper; his energy, the way he is… That’s what people like. I thought, to make him very subtle – not moving at all and very silent — I thought it would look very odd on screen. Which is the reason I didn’t pursue. I just had one meeting with him, but I didn’t pursue him because I just felt that his body language is wrong for the part.”

He continued, “There is an actor and there is a performer. Shah Rukh is a performer. He’s hyperactive, which is what endears the audience to him. So, this lazy guy, sitting in the back… This is Ajay’s natural body language. So, that’s when I thought Ajay is more perfect for the role, and that’s when it happened.” For the role of Chandrakant (based on Chhhota Rajan), RGV said that he wanted Abhishek, but he was occupied with other projects.

Talking about Mohanlal’s role he said, “Very initially, I actually wanted to approach Kamal for that role. I met him also. But there also I felt the same problem I had with Shah Rukh. Their natural stardom, in a realistic film, it’ll just look off. Because of that I changed my mind, and then I approached Mohanlal,” he said.

Company is part of a spiritually connected trilogy by RGV which started with Satya (1998). It also has D (2005), directed by Vishram Sawant but co-written by Manish Gupta and Ram Gopal Varma.

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