It was a do-or-die fight to the finish between Shahid Kapoor and Arjun Kapoor to wangle the coveted title role in the Hindi remake of Sandeep Vanga’s Telugu game-changing blockbuster Arjun Reddy.
The battle-lines were very clearly drawn. The producers of the Hindi remake wanted Arjun Kapoor. But Vanga who was invited to direct the remake was sold on Shahid.
Vanga’s first choice was Ranveer Singh for the role of the out-of-control drug-addicted surgeon that Vijay Devarakonda owns in the Telugu original. In fact Vanga very clearly told this writer some months ago, “I wanted Ranveer Singh. When that didn’t work out I approached Shahid Kapoor .We met and discussed the remake at length. Now I’ve been informed the film will be made with Arjun Kapoor. I am not sure it’s right for me to direct the film with another actor after I’ve discussed it with Shahid. It is a very embarrassing situation for me. I don’t know how I’ll face Shahid. I am new to all this.” Apparently Vanga refused to direct the Arjun Reddy remake if the producers insisted on signing Arjun Kapoor. Says a source close to the development, “They had a choice between signing Arjun Kapoor as the lead and Sandeep Vanga as director, as Vanga insisted on Shahid. The producers opted to retain the director and the actor of his choice.”
Interestingly Shahid has already played a similar wild out-of-control character in Abhishek Choubey’s Udta Punjab. So why the insistence on Shahid rather than Arjun Kapoor? “Because Arjun would have to lose 20 kgs to play Arjun Reddy,” says the source.