One of the greatest films of all time, Munnabhai MBBS (2003), completes 19 years today, on December 19. Over the years, we have brought to the readers some very fascinating and not-so-known trivia about the film. Last year, on the 18th anniversary, we unveiled the fact that Divya Dutta was offered a part. But later, the character was tweaked and was played by Mumaith Khan. Also, Bollywood Hungama exclusively spoke to Sajid Samji, who played a cameo in a scene featuring Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Sunil Dutt. The writer-director brought to the fore some fascinating episodes regarding the shooting of the movie.
19 Years of Munnabhai MBBS: Rajkumar Hirani reveals that Anil Kapoor was the VERY first choice; also BREAKS silence on why Shah Rukh Khan couldn’t play the lead part despite showing interest
Now, on the 19th anniversary, we bring to you an anecdote that never got spread the way it should have. In an interview, director Rajkumar Hirani confessed that his first choice for the role of Murli Prasad Sharma aka Munna was none other than Anil Kapoor.
Rajkumar Hirani said, “My first choice was Anil Kapoor because he had played a lot of ‘bhai’ roles in films like Tezaab (1988). At that stage, I thought that he might be the right guy to do this role. But then, the film went through a huge journey, even after Vinod (Vidhu Vinod Chopra) stepped in as a producer. (We also approached Shah Rukh Khan) and finally, at one stage, Sanju (Sanjay Dutt) seemed just right for the part. This is because he has the physique where he can look like a ‘bhai’. Also, with his dropping eyes and charming smile, he seems like someone whose heart is in the right place. Now, I look back and can say that he was the right choice.”
• Anil Kapoor was Raju Hirani's first choice for Munnabhai MBBS.
• VVC suggested Srk's name to Hirani.
• Srk liked the story, but initially he was not confident of Hirani.
• After 6 months (surgery) Srk asked Hirani to wait for 2 more years.
• They went with Sanjay Dutt. pic.twitter.com/pY231gpulr
— (@spot_boyy) July 28, 2021
In another video, he opened up on why Shah Rukh Khan didn’t get the opportunity to play the lead in Munnabhai MBBS. The blockbuster director revealed, “When I narrated the story to Vinod, he told me, ‘Shah Rukh ko kahani sunaao. Woh yeh role accha karega’. I reasoned, ‘Shah Rukh meri film kyun karega? I am a newcomer and he has not seen my work’. He insisted, ‘Suna toh do kahani’. I remember he was shooting for Devdas (2002) when I met him. I wished to narrate to him. But he said that since he’s busy, I should leave the script behind. I was dejected as I really wanted to give him a narration. Nevertheless, I dropped the script and left.”
Rajkumar continued, “Thankfully, Shah Rukh read the script and called me the next day. He told me to meet him. I did and he told me that he loved the script. But he kept wondering if I’d be able to make this film. Finally, he agreed.”
But a problem arose. Rajkumar Hirani stated, “This was a time when he had to fly to London for his neck surgery. He didn’t take up any work for 6 months. Meanwhile, he already had many films lined up like Chalte Chalte (2003), Main Hoon Na (2004), Veer-Zaara (2004) etc. He informed me that he’ll finish these pending films and only then he can begin work on my film. It meant that I would have had to wait for 2-2 ½ years. Vinod didn’t think it was unfair to wait for such a long time as the songs were ready and other prep work was also completed.”
This is how Sanjay Dutt came on board and the rest is history. Munnabhai MBBS became such a huge sensation that 3 years later, the second part, Lage Raho Munna Bhai (2006) was made and it generated a much bigger craze and also box office numbers. There have been talks of Munnabhai 3 but it hasn’t materialized yet.
On the other hand, Shah Rukh Khan and Rajkumar Hirani finally got a chance to collaborate. At present, they are busy making Dunki. It’ll be released exactly a year later, on December 22, 2023.
More Pages: Munnabhai MBBS Box Office Collection , Munnabhai MBBS Movie Review
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