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Rajeev Masand is Entertainment Editor and film critic at CNN-IBN

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First among Sequels

First among Sequels • Mr Decisive • Tubby Trouble
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Sushant Singh Rajput

His daddy Boney Kapoor is prepping a sequel to Mr India, but beta Arjun Kapoor feels it is not a good idea. The 27-year-old actor, who made his debut in Ishaqzaade earlier this year, told me he thinks Mr India should be left alone. “That’s a film too many fans are closely attached to. It’s one of those films than fans feel an ownership towards. I don’t think one should attempt to make a sequel. But my father feels differently. And since he’s older and wiser, I will respect his decision,” he said.

However, Arjun has a different opinion on the No Entry sequel that his father is set to produce next year. “That film was very popular and very entertaining. But it definitely lends itself to a sequel, if done well. I think fans may embrace that.” Titled No Entry Mein Entry, the sequel will see Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor and Fardeen Khan return as the three male leads, along with Bipasha Basu, Lara Dutta and Celina Jaitley. There is no word yet on whether recently-married Esha Deol will reprise her role as Salman’s missus.

Boney has also said he intends to raise the stakes with the sequel and plans to add at least three more actresses, who did not feature in the earlier film, to the cast. Also returning to helm the sequel is director Anees Bazmee, who had a highly publicised fallout with Salman Khan over Ready last year. Boney says he has orchestrated a patch-up between his star and the director, and the project will take off next year when Salman Khan has completed his other commitments.

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Mr Decisive

You have to hand it to Aditya Chopra. He promptly dropped Shahid Kapoor from Band Baaja Baraat director Maneesh Sharma’s film when the actor reportedly became too difficult to handle and began ‘poking his nose’ in every department of the film. Then, Chopra proceeded to replace Shahid not with another big marquee name, but with a newcomer.

The buzz in Bollywood is that TV actor Sushant Singh Rajput (who shot to fame with the serial Pavitra Rishta) has been signed on by Chopra to play the lead in Sharma’s film, which will star Ishaqzaade’s Parineeti Chopra. Rajput’s film debut, however, will be Rock On!! director Abhishek Kapoor’s next, Kai Po Che, based on the Chetan Bhagat bestseller 3 Mistakes of My Life, which is expected to release in February. In that film, he co-stars alongside fellow TV actor Amit Sadh and Love Sex Aur Dhoka’s Raj Kumar Yadav.

According to insiders in the trade, Rajput has also been handpicked by Rajkumar Hirani to play a ‘key character’ in the 3 Idiots director’s next, P.K., which stars Aamir Khan and Anushka Sharma in lead roles. After names like Ranbir Kapoor and Imran Khan were tossed around for the part (both actors allegedly declined on the grounds that they didn’t want a ‘small’ role in an Aamir Khan film), it appears that Hirani may have settled on Rajput.

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Tubby Trouble

A prominent director who has close relations with a top acting family in Bollywood is said to be ‘concerned’ and ‘worried’ about his next film. The movie is a sequel to a successful film the director made some years ago. In that film, the director killed off the character played by a well-known star son. But for the sequel, he intends to bring the actor back into the story as the son of another important character in the film.

The problem, however, is that the actor in question—who is expected to look much younger and more fit than he did in the last film, since he is playing a much younger character now—has reportedly gotten chubbier around the waist in the years since that film. Despite repeated requests made by the filmmaker to get into shape for the film, the actor is said to be looking ‘rounder’, thus creating a solid problem for the desperate director who has had to postpone the commencement of his film at least twice on this account.

The prolific filmmaker has twice busied himself with other quick projects, but he is keen to start the sequel soon. Assistant directors working on the film have revealed that the director is rethinking the script now, and might well write that actor’s role out of the story, replacing him with another character for which he could cast an actor who does not bring such baggage.