Rajnikanth and SRK face off with Billoo Barber?
It could be by default and not by design. Or sheer coincidence. South superstar Rajnikanth and Bollywood Badshah Shah Rukh Khan are both remaking the Malayalam superhit Katha Parayumbol. Rajnikanth is in Hyderabad’s Ramoji Filmcity with leading ladies Nayantara and Meena, protagonist Pashupati and director P Vasu, shooting non-stop for the Tamil version Kuselan which is scheduled for release on August 15; while Shah Rukh is working overtime on the Hindi version Billoo Barber, starring Irrfan Khan and Lara Dutta and which is slated for release also in August, at Mumbai’s Film City. A trade source in Chennai said, “If Shah Rukh’s film releases on the same day as Rajnikanth’s, then the Hindi dubbed version of Kuselan will be affected.” After Rajnikanth’s Sivaji — The Boss became a superhit in Maharashtra, Bollywood distributors sat up and took notice of the actor’s popularity outside Tamil Nadu for the first time.
On the face of it, Rajnikanth and Shah Rukh have never had an issue. The only discord between the two happened when Rajnikanth was named Entertainer of The Year by a television channel. Shah Rukh, who was present at the awards function of the channel, asked Rajni how he managed the title. Rajni, of course, took Shah Rukh’s jibe in good humour. But in his acceptance speech, the South biggie who is a big Amitabh Bachchan fan, hit back saying, “There will be many Badshahs but there is only one Shahenshah.” Now there is said to be a dignified coldness between Rajnikanth and Shah Rukh. Theatre owner and leading Tamil distributor in Maharashtra, Nambi Rajan said, “Rajnikanth is a legend. There is so much excitement for Kuselan though its release is nearly three months away.” Rajan also feels that it is unfair to compare Billoo Barber with Kuselan because both films will cater to a different audience. P Vasu, Kuselan’s director, has made many changes in the screenplay and his film will not be a direct lift of the Malayalam movie. On the other hand, Priyadarshan’s Billoo Barber will bear a close resemblance to the Malayalam original.