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Some off screen titbits about 'Main Hoon Na'

By Subhash K. Jha, IANS

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Before the mega movie of the year "Main Hoon Na" hits the screens this Friday, here are some interesting titbits about it.

Shah Rukh Khan plays an army man in "Main Hoon Na" for the first time after doing so in "Army" with Sridevi.

He had been offered a soldier's role in J.P. Dutta's "LOC", which he couldn't do for health reasons and also because he didn't want to indulge in Pakistan-bashing.

But now, playing an overtly patriotic role, he says, has been a completely gratifying experience.

A month after him, Hrithik Roshan will also play a soldier in Farhan Akhtar's "Lakshya", and so will Bobby Deol and Akshay Kumar in Anil Sharma's "Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyon".

For the first time since his debut film "Dil Ashna Hai", where he was directed by Hema Malini, Shah Rukh is being directed by a woman.

In the 12 years that he has spent in the film industry, he hasn't worked with a single woman director after Hema. He was offered roles in Kalpana Lajmi's "Darmiyaan", in Meghna Gulzar's "Filhaal", and in Deepa Mehta's "1947: Earth".

Incidentally, Tamil actress-director Revathi was keen to have Shah Rukh in her Hindi film "Phir Milenge". But he declined.

In "Main Hoon Na", he is being paired with Sushmita Sen for the first time. Though the main conflict in this film about brotherly bonding doesn't involve her, the two sizzle whenever they come together for a spot of romance.

In fact, worried director Farha Khan thought there wasn't enough romance between the two and has shot a hot romantic duet with the couple just two weeks before release!

Suniel Shetty plays a complete villain for the first time.

He has played a role with negative shades before in Dharamesh Darshan's "Dhadkan", but never an out-and-out villain. His climactic fight with Shah Rukh has distributors in northern India drooling in anticipation. His role was offered to Kamal Haasan who declined.

Zayed Khan plays the role of Shah Rukh's sibling. The role was earlier offered to Hrithik Roshan and then Sohail Khan, both of whom backed out at some point in the pre-production phase.

So desperate were the director and leading man to get the right actor to play the sibling that Shah Rukh offered to step into the part and let Sunny Deol play the elder brother. Farha Khan even toyed with the idea of casting director Farhan Akhtar as Shah Rukh's sibling!

Anu Malik's psychedelic qawwali in the film is also unique. Not only has there never been a fusion qawwali before, but also Shah Rukh has never been seen performing a qawwali on screen before.

"Main Hoon Na" is Farha Khan's tribute to the formula films of the 1970s and 1980s. From Nasir Husain and Manmohan Desai to Ramesh Sippy and Mukul Anand, the film takes pleasurable peeps at all mainstream cinema.


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