Promotion of Players may be currently centred on Abhishek Bachchan, Bipasha Basu and Sonam Kapoor but not many are aware that there is a surprise element in store as well. This remake of The Italian Job required a veteran actor to play a very important part in the film and directors Abbas-Mustan were convinced that Vinod Khanna was the man for the job. The veteran actor isn’t known for doing too many films but Players turned out to be one of those films to which he couldn’t refuse.
“Amongst the senior actors, the ones who are still active are Amitabh Bachchan, Rishi Kapoor and Dharmendra. Though Abbas-Mustan have worked with Rishi Kapoor earlier in Daraar, they are yet to rope in the other two. However, they threw a surprise by reaching out to Vinod Khanna instead. The senior actor has been on a retirement of sorts and seldom does any films. The only films that he has done in recent times are Tell Me O Kkhuda that started two years back while he had a miniscule role in Dabangg. It was a gamble to zero down on him for a role as one should be prepared to hear ‘no'”, says a source.
Still, Abbas-Mustan took a chance and were totally convinced that Khanna senior was the man for the job due to his debonair conduct and a stylish persona. They felt that for a film with gold heist as the central element, the master mind had to be a powerful personality who also had an air of mystery around him.
“When you plan something with Vinod Khanna, the role has to be all powerful”, says Abbas, “In fact he was very happy with the story and immediately agreed to do the film. He feels that the role really goes well with his age and personality.”
There was a hiccup though in this association to turn into reality. As luck would have it, Khanna fell ill at the same time when he was required for the shoot. Resultantly, he requested Abbas-Mustan to excuse him from Players since he didn’t want to hold up the shoot due to his illness. He also promised them that he would do their next film for sure.
“We just told him ‘nothing doing'”, says Mustan in an animated tone, “For this pivotal character it had to be him and only him. He has this action hero image for decades and audience have seen his intensity. We altered the schedule by shooting other portions of the film first. We also requested him to let us know whenever he is fine so that we can plan a schedule with him.”
For the suave actor, it was an emotional moment for sure since in Bollywood today, one can hardly be seen waiting for an actor, especially when there is a multi star cast involved.
“Once he was fine, he called to say that he was all set for the shoot and was also glad that we waited for him. Now you have to watch his performance in the film. We are sure the audience would end up remembering the Vinod Khanna of yore after seeing what he has done in Players“, concludes Abbas.
Well, with sons of Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra already as the younger players, one wouldn’t mind seeing a senior player to be driving the show here.