By Sarojini Chatterjee
With the recent launch of Vikram Vedha starring two of Bollywood’s most celebrated actors – Hrithik Roshan and Saif Ali Khan – it is hard to ignore that filmmakers are reigniting a formula that is sure to pique the interest of audiences. The recipe – with already proven success in the Tamil version of the same name featuring the mighty talented R. Madhavan and Vijay Sethupathi – has immersed itself into the audience psyche to create an ecstatic viewing experience.
Why is that? The answer could be manifold. Maybe it is the dwindling box office numbers which has recalibrated into the mantra of “two is better than one” to bring back audiences to the theatres. Or in a post pandemic world, friendship and bonding is a luxury and such a partnership on-screen might become the beginning of a long-term alliance and an impressive artistic union. Or simply maybe actors are getting more experimental with storylines and taking risks with scripts.
The two-hero formula is a staple and much-loved theme in Hindi movies, most often used for action thrillers or comedies. Cinema of the 70s through 90s proudly boasts of evergreen hits that are till date watched and remain critically acclaimed. Films such as Deewaar (1975), Ram Lakhan (1989), Saudagar (1991), Andaz Apna Apna (1994), Karan Arjun (1995) and Haseena Maan Jaayegi (1999) have celebrated brotherhood and friendship through varied lenses and grossed box office numbers proving that audiences were truly impressed with the storytelling and star power.
Then came an era of romance and with that the entertainment biggies turned to showcasing the best on-screen pairs and their unparalleled chemistry that inspired audiences to find the perfect love. A quick shift from Yaar to Pyaar, when King Khan opens his arms and sang to the tune of “Tujhe Dekha Toh Yeh Jaana Sanam”, we all felt that the biggest achievement in our lifetime would be to find a partner who speaks our own personal language of love.
But the past few years have also ignited the gossip of why two stars are not ready to work with each other. Rohit Shetty ultimately had to shelve his film – the remake of Ram Lakhan because two actors were not ready to share screen space. Recently on the couch of a much-celebrated talk show, Akshay Kumar discussed his eccentric career which featured a range of multi-star films and how many actors still hold on to the stigma of working with other celebrities. Animosity, past grudges, or lack of compatibility, many actors kept aside their professionalism and chose to turn down the impressive projects instead.
Now for better or worse, we are all on this fascinating journey of films where we get to immerse ourselves in the combined star power of two leading actors in an attempt to craft a successful film and redefine cinema for a whole new generation of cinegoers.
In this list we share some of the most talked about films boasting famous actor duos. And it looks like they made each movie they starred in even better and more interesting!
Vikram Vedha (Hrithik Roshan & Saif Ali Khan)
What is better than two superstars on the big screen? Two superstars with an added bonus of a neo-noir thriller inspired by an Indian folktale! Remake of the 2017 Tamil film of the same name, Vikram Vedha focuses on honest police officer Vikram (Saif Ali Khan) who is out to get gangster Vedha (Hrithik Roshan). When the latter decides to surrender, he tells Vikram a story. This changes Vikram’s understanding of good, evil and everything else in the most unexpected way.
The film is in the news for all the right reasons. Set to have the widest release worldwide, Vikram Vedha has garnered tremendous love and appreciation from the audience and trade alike. The film promises to be much more than a cat-and-mouse chase.
Vikram Vedha (R. Madhavan & Vijay Sethupathi)
The original film by Pushkar-Gayathri starring R. Madhavan and Vijay Sethupathi have garnered cult interest since its launch in 2017. Sincerely acclaimed by the masses and critics unanimously it soon attained must-watch status down south.
Godfather (Chiranjeevi & Salman Khan)
The recently launched political action thriller witnessed megastar Chiranjeevi join forces with Bollywood superstar Salman Khan and display some amazing shots and presentation. A remake of the 2019 Malayalam superhit Lucifer featuring Mohanlal and Prithviraj Sukumaran, the latest version has been neatly tailored to the sensibilities of the Telugu audience.
Ek Villain Returns (Arjun Kapoor & John Abraham)
Directed by Mohit Suri and produced by Balaji Telefilms and T-Series, the action thriller released on July 29. Featuring Arjun Kapoor and John Abraham, the film is a riveting tale of the nuances of what makes a hero and what makes a villain. Making a strong comeback, both actors get to shine and take the cake – with character shades that you can relate with.
RRR (Ram Charan & Jr. NTR)
Director SS Rajamouli’s latest blockbuster RRR, starring Telugu actors Ram Charan and Jr NTR went on to become one of the biggest blockbusters. The epic-mythological-action-superhero-bromance proves that, if you want to be really safe, you cast not just one super-star, but two of them. RRR is one action crescendo after another, never dull but not exhausting either; its heroes are truly the harbingers of a better future.
Vikrant Rona (Nirup Bhandari & Kiccha Sudeep)
Right from the time of Vikrant Rona‘s announcement, the vibes surrounding the project were overwhelmingly positive. This was the first collaboration between Sudeep and Nirup Bhandari. While through his Indiana Jones-esque flair and sophistication, Sudeep offers his fans something to cheer for, Nirup Bhandari surprises the audience with his performance as the prodigal son who returns to his family, blending a fair commercial entertainment that keeps the audiences hooked.
Tiger 3 (Salman Khan & Shah Rukh Khan)
Putting all rumours to a rest, earlier this year, in an interview Shahrukh Khan confirmed his cameo in Salman starrer Tiger 3. Taking the “two is better than one” theory a notch higher, this much anticipated film is going to be a treat for all the fans, as they get to see their Karan Arjun together not once, but twice in 2023.
Pathan (Shah Rukh Khan & John Abraham)
2023 is the year moviegoers across the country are earnestly looking forward to with Pathan all set to hit theatres on January 25, 2023.
The multi starrer film is said to be a high-octane action film. Pathan has been the talk of the town ever since it was announced, and why not the fans are going to see superstar SRK after a long gap. And if the original cast is not enough, the spy thriller crossover movie will also have Salman Khan as Tiger (from Ek Tha Tiger/ Tiger Zinda Hai) and Hrithik Roshan as Kabir (from movie War).
Creating a multi-starrer can be a tricky affair – it requires a thrilling script and directorial depth to bring a vision to life that audiences will cherish amidst a plethora of options. All in all, it isn’t easy putting together a film with multiple lead actors. But winning viewers’ hearts, the disappeared crowd-puller formula is truly back where celebrities are more confident in sharing their screen time. And these movies have created a benchmark when it comes to having all of those factors in place. Be it a gripping story or well-cast leads, these had it all!