The casting of supporting actors or second leads in biopics often generates more curiosity than the protagonist's role. That's what happened for Sangeeta Bijlani's character in 'Azhar'. A look at similar instances...
Emraan Hashmi will be seen essaying the role of India's ex cricket captain Mohammad Azharuddin in Anthony D'Souza's upcoming biopic, but what made headlines more than the actor's preparations were speculations on who will play his second wife. Earlier, reports suggested that Kareena Kapoor was offered the role, but she had turned it down. Then there were rumours that Kriti Sanon would play Bijli in the film. Finally, the makers made an official announcement about Nargis Fakhri having been signed for the film, which has already gone on floors.
Much like this instance, the casting or performance of supporting actors/ second leads in biopics have often created more buzz than anticipated. So much so, that they have stolen the protagonist's thunder. hitlist takes a look at a few examples from the past...
Role: Sakshi Dhoni
Project: 'MS Dhoni: The Untold Story' (upcoming)
Lowdown: That Sushant Singh Rajput will play India's most successful cricket captain in Neeraj Pandey's biopic was revealed through the film's first look on Instagram, leaving no scope for any speculation about actors being considered as the protagonist.
Parineeti Chopra (right) is likely to essay Sakshi Dhoni's character in 'MS Dhoni: The Untold Story'
However, the guessing game over the casting for Dhoni's reel wife continues. Names of Alia Bhatt, Shraddha Kapoor and Kriti Sanon have been tossed around, but there is no confirmation from the makers yet. Our sources say it is none of the three actresses, but Parineeti Chopra who is most likely to play Sakshi Dhoni in the biopic. As per reports, the director has also incorporated the cricketer's late ex-girlfriend into the script and casting for this prominent character is also keeping the gossip mills busy.
Role: Dalbir Kaur
Project: Sarabjit Singh biopic (upcoming)
Lowdown: Two biopics on the now dead prisoner had been announced, one by Subhash Ghai and another by Hansal Mehta. There was talk about Sonakshi Sinha being cast for Ghai's project as Kaur, who fought a long but unsuccessful battle to have her brother taken off death row (he was convicted in Pakistan on espionage charges).
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (left) has been cast as Dalbir Kaur (right) in the Sarabjit Singh biopic
However, it was shelved in view of Indo-Pak tension earlier this year. Mehta, on the other hand, had signed Kangana Ranaut to play Sarabjit's sister. In a sudden move, the filmmaker was unceremoniously ousted from the proposed biopic and Omung Kumar came on board. Kangana opted out of it soon after. Now Aishwarya Rai Bachchan will be seen as Dalbir Kaur while Randeep Hooda will play the titular character in the biopic that will start rolling in Punjab in October.
Role: Dawood Ibrahim and Haji Mastan's girlfriend
Project: 'Once Upon a Time In Mumbaai' (2010)
Lowdown: The Milan Luthria film was loosely based on infamous gangster Haji Mastan, which was played by Ajay Devgn.
Emraan Hashmi stole the limelight from Ajay Devgn in 'Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai'
The film did well at the box-office, and more than Devgn, the characters of Emraan Hashmi and Kangana Ranaut were talked about — Emraan's role was modelled after most wanted don Dawood Ibrahim while Kangs played a yesteryear actress who was allegedly involved with Mastan.
Role: Monica Bedi
Project: 'Gangster – A Love Story' (2006)
Lowdown: The film was allegedly based on gangster Abu Salem who was arrested by Indian authorities in Lisbon for his role in 1993 Mumbai serial blasts and murder of music baron, Gulshan Kumar.
Kangana Ranaut (right) won accolades for her role inspired by Monica Bedi in 'Gangster'
Though director Anurag Basu didn't admit that the film was inspired by Salem, similarities between the real and reel couldn't be ignored. Emraan Hashmi played a much-in-love gangster and Kangana Ranaut essayed his actress-girlfriend Monica Bedi on screen. It was the Queen actress who arguably stole the limelight when the film became a blockbuster hit. Critics raved about her performance and she even took home a couple of best debutante awards.