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Bollywood awaits hit heterosexual male pairs
By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
Akshay Kumar has his fingers crossed. He hopes for a hit pairing in "Mujhse Shaadi Karoge?" - not with Priyanka Chopra but with Salman Khan.
Akshay earlier gave more than a dozen hits in the macho company of Suniel Shetty and with Saif Ali Khan in "Main Anari Tu Khiladi", "Yeh Dillagi" and other breezy products.
In the 1960s, Raj Kapoor and Rajendra Kumar were a great combination in "Sangam" as rivals in love. The two teamed up many decades later in a film called "Do Jasoos". By then the audiences had forgotten the magic of the Kapoor-Kumar blend.
Hit pairs in Hindi cinema are not always about the man-woman thing. Audiences love to see two successful male stars as co-stars.
Anil Kapoor did more films with Jackie Shroff than he did with any of his leading ladies so much so that a section of the gossip press began to link them together romantically!
The Jackie-Anil combos, in which the younger actor Jackie usually played the elder brother, included blockbusters like "Ram Lakhan", "Parinda", and damp squibs like "Andar Baahar" and "Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja".
Another successful male pair was that of Amitabh Bachchan and Vinod Khanna in the 1970s. In films like "Amar Akbar Anthony", "Parvarish" and "Hera Pheri", the two played off each other to perfection and were considered maestros of one-upmanship.
Bachchan also made a super-successful pair with Dharmendra in "Sholay" where their Veeru-Jai act had the audiences purring with pleasure. Strangely, the two did only one other film, Vijay Anand's "Ram Balram", together.
Years later Hrishikesh Mukherjee brought the Dharmendra-Bachchan pair together in the comedy "Chupke Chupke".
There were also the veterans Ashok Kumar and Pran whooping it up in the two hit comedies "Victoria 203" and "Chori Mera Kaam". Here the two character actors were far more important to the plot than the official lead pair -- Navin Nischol and Saira Banu in the first instance and Shashi Kapoor and Zeenat Aman in the second.
Bachchan also formed very successful male combinations with Shatrughan Sinha ("Dostana", "Kala Patthar") and Shashi Kapoor ("Deewaar", "Kabhi Kabhie").
With love stories superseding action films and comedies in the 1990s the two-hero concept began to fade from the limelight.
Even in the 1990s, there were the male co-stars far exceeding the importance of the conventional lead pair in films like Rajkumar Santoshi's "Andaaz Apna Apna" (Salman-Aamir Khan), Indra Kumar's "Ishq" (Aamir-Ajay Devgan) and more recently "Hello Brother" and Garv with real-life brothers Salman and Arbaaz Khan as co-stars.
"Mujhse Shaadi Karogi?" could revive the era of the hit male heterosexual pair that made films like "Sholay" and "Main Khiladi Tu Anari" rock.