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Esha, Aftab in Vikram Bhatt's Akhir

By Subhash K Jha
September 08, 2005 13:07 IST
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It's got to be the biggest musical shuffle of the season. Vikram Bhatt had announced a project Aakhir, apparently based on a tumultuous phase of his life, to be produced by Shraddha Pagare of Celeste Moi.

But overnight, the film went into Pritish Nandy's hands and now, it is about to roll on September 12 though with a different cast. Sanjay Suri, who was supposed to play Bhatt's alter ego, has been replaced by Aftab Shivdasani.

Busy with the release of his new film Ek Khiladi Ek Hasina, Nandy took time off to explain, "I was in for Sanjay Suri in the cast. However, I left the final casting decisions to Vikram."

More surprising than the ouster of Suri in favour of Shivdasani is the inclusion of Esha Deol in the place of Bengali actress Rituparna Sengupta in the mercurial Other Woman's role.

"It will be a wonderful opportunity for Esha to grow as an actress. I liked her work in Harry Baweja's Main Aisa Hi Hoon. She has an untamed quality needed for the female protagonist's role in Aakhir. Besides, she shared a close friendship with Aftab in the past. That would bring certain amount of fascinating frisson."

Incidentally, Esha is doing another film for Pritish Nandy, to be directed by Meghna Gulzar. Titled Honeymoon, it costars Fardeen Khan.

The third angle of Bhatt's volatile triangle is bound to raise eyebrows. The director's close friend and companion Amisha Patel has been penciled in to play the wife's part in place of Divya Dutta.

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Subhash K Jha