Believe it or not, Neeraj Pandey's untitled film which is yet to go on the floors will be released simultaneously with Sanjay Leela Bhansali's production of Gabbar which too stars Akshay Kumar. Neither of the two big projects is willing to move out of the coveted January 23, 2015 slot.
A source very close to Sanjay Bhansali says, "We decided that Gabbar is perfect as Republic Day release. We took a call on the release 3 months ago. Its theme is socio-political reform. It's the story of one man's crusade against corruption. Akshay, who has been doing a string of action-adventure entertainers, would be doing a film very relevant to the nation's conscience. And what better slot for this film than Republic day?"
Livid at Neeraj's film "jumping in" out of the blue, the source close to Bhansali fumes, "They haven't even shot a single frame and they decided to barge into our release date without any consideration for our film? It's highly unethical. We are not moving out at any cost. But we want to know how a film's release can be announced without shooting a single frame?"
Neeraj Pandey, who is currently in Mauritius, hunting for locations for his untitled Akshay Kumar starrer, says, "Fortunately or unfortunately, release dates are a great event in the box-office calendar. We've chosen to reserve January 23 as the release of our film although we haven't even started shooting the film."
When informed of the Gabbar release on the same day, Neeraj replies, "I am not aware of which other films are releasing that day. If Gabbar is also coming, we are fine with that."
Pandey also confirms that Tapsee Pannu would be playing the female lead opposite Akshay. "At the moment, I can only confirm Akshay and Tapsee. The rest of the cast is yet to be finalized."
Some interesting sidelights to the impending Akshay Versus Akshay clash:
• Although during the year 1994, Akshay had 11 releases, this would be the first time two Akshay starrers releases on the same Friday.
• Salman Khan's Jai Ho which released for Republic Day 2014 was also about socio-political cleansing. In both Gabbar and Jai Ho, the hero urges the masses to become more proactive in bettering the social system.
• Both Gabbar and Neeraj Pandey's film star actresses from Tamil cinema trying to establish a foothold in Bollywood. Shruti Haasan and Tapsee Pannu are the Tamil queens seen as the rising stars in Bollywood.