Meet producer who refused to delay film for World Cup, theatres denied him tickets, 13 stars rejected film, it earned…

Meet producer who refused to delay film for World Cup, theatres denied him tickets, 13 stars rejected film, it earned…

This filmmaker refused to delay his film to avoid a clash with the Cricket World Cup

In 1999, the ICC Cricket World Cup was scheduled to be played in the summer. The tournament was returning to England after 16 years and there was a massive hype for it. Given the presence of stars like Tendulkar, Ganguly, and Dravid in the Indian team, desi fans were also looking forward to the tournament. Hence, many filmmakers were worried releasing films during the summer could spell doom for them. But one maker persisted and refused to delay his film’s release. But he had to go through a lot of hardships to see it through.

The filmmaker who paid no heed to the World Cup

Vashu Bhagnani was producing am ambitious comedy in 1999 with David Dhawan attached to direct it. The film was based on the issue of extramarital affair and was titled Biwi No 1. Bhagnani was advised to delay his film from an early-May release to June, after the World Cup. He told Bollywood Hungama in an interview, “I reminded that the World Cup is taking place in England and it’s 4 ½ hours behind us. Our matinee show would start at 12 noon and end at 3. Hence, there’s no problem with the first show. The first innings used to start at 3 or 4 pm and some of the matches will commence in the evening.” Eventually, the film did release on May 15 and was a roaring hit.

When Vashu Bhagnani was denied tickets to his own film

As the advance bookings for Biwi No 1 picked up pace, Bhagnani decided to show the film to journalists. He went to Mumbai’s Metro cinema to ask for 150 tickets but was surprised to see a long queue there. When he reached the counter, the ticket seller denied him. “The manager refused! I think his name was Nelson. He said, ‘Aapko sirf 4 tickets milegi’! I was like, ‘Arre, meri picture hai yaar’,” Bhagnani told Bollywood Hungama.

Biwi No 1’s various rejections

Biwi No 1 starred Salman Khan, Karisma Kapoor, and Sushmita Sen in the lead roles, along with Anil Kapoor and Tabu in the support cast. But neither of these actors were the first choice for their roles. The film was rejected by 13 actors. Salman’s role was initially offered to Govinda who did not do the film. Karisma’s role was rejected by Juhi Chawala, Aishwarya Rai, Raveena Tandon, Pooja Bhatt, andManisha Koirala. Anil Kapoor’s role had been offered to Kamal Haasan and Sanjay Dutt before him. Sonali Bendre and Pooja Bhadra were considered for Sushmita Sen’s role before they passed it on. Even Tabu’s role was initially offered to Rambha. Saif Ali Khan did a cameo in the film but even that was originally offered to first Bobby Deol and then Suniel Shetty.

In the end, Biwi No 1 released to record opening numbers and grossed over Rs 50 crore at the box office. It was the second highest grossing Hindi film of 1999, beating the collections of Taal, Badshah, and Safrarosh.

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