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After reaching a dead-end with her career in Bollywood (her one and only hit was Pyar Ke Side Effects, not counting the cameo with Nana Patekar and Anil Kapoor in Welcome) and with her purported global re-re-re-launch in Hissss showing no sign of release (the date has now gone from August to November) Mallika has signed on the dotted line for the Dhamaal sequel Double Dhamaal with exceptional enthusiasm.
Maybe it's the pleasure of being cast opposite Sanjay Dutt or maybe just the delight of being accepted back in Bollywood. But once known to charge anything from 1 to 1.5 crore rupees (not dollars) in Bollywood, now she has apparently refused to discuss money with producer Ashok Thakeria from Los Angeles (where her tweeted claims to friendship with Hollywood biggies has been roundly questioned).
Says the producer, "Mallika said she will take anything we give her. She's just happy to be a part of brand like Dhamaal and that too opposite Sanjay Dutt."
One hopes Ashok doesn't take that too seriously.
In the meanwhile the other leading lady Kangna Ranaut of Double Dhamaal has also been very generous about the remuneration. Says Thakeria, "Kangna's work is looked after by Rakesh Nath (Rikku). My director Indra Kumar and I go back a long way with Rikku (Rikku was secretary to Madhuri Dixit who starred in Thakeria-Indra Kumar's Beta and Dil). So Kangna said money was not an issue here."
Kangna is teamed up with the talented Riteish Deshmukh in Double Dhamaal.
With two such over-generous leading ladies signed on, Thakeria and Indra Kumar have a lot to celebrate. So they did, when they met up at Riteish's home on Tuesday evening for a script reading.
Says Thakeria, "Instead of having a proper workshop with the actors, Riteish suggested an informal get-together at his home. All of us barring Mallika (who is in LA) and Sanjay Dutt (who is in South Africa) from the Double Dhamaal team - Kangna, Javed Jaffrey, Ashish Chowdhry, Indra Kumar and I met up at Riteish's house for a script reading. We were cracking up after every line. It was that funny."
Let's hope the audience agrees when the film releases.