‘Who will fill in the shoes of Amrish Puri?’ The question was asked by many when Sunny Deol announced Gadar 2. The first film in the franchise, Gadar: Ek Prem Katha, had Puri acing his role of Ashraf Ali, a Pakistani father who was against his daughter’s marriage to an Indian man. It was a herculean task for the makers of Gadar 2 to find an actor who could be as menacing as Puri and thus, they couldn’t zero in on the villain of Gadar 2 until the second schedule of the film.
Manish Wadhwa, who was finally cast to play Hamid Iqbal in Gadar 2, recently shared how he was cast for the role after the first schedule of the film was already over. “They were looking hard for a villain. They searched for one in the South also, but they didn’t find the right person to play Hamid Iqbal,” Wadhwa told Bollywood Thikana in a recent interview.
This is when the fight master of the film Ravi Verma was shown a clip of Wadhwa from his film Shyam Singha Roy and Verma liked him instantly. He set a meeting of Wadhwa with Gadar 2 director Anil Sharma. “I met Anil Sharma and he recognised me as Chanakya. He told me, ‘You have good Hindi, you have a good voice, you are exactly what I want. But, you will have to meet Sunny Deol first since he is quite worried about who will play the villain in the film,” recalled Wadhwa.
Before meeting Deol, Wadhwa already shot a couple of scenes of Hamid Iqbal since Sharma was confident that Deol would like him.
When Sunny Deol met Wadhwa, he told him, “Maine aapka kaam dekha hai. Aap ache actor hain (I have seen your work. You are a good actor). But our industry doesn’t have good villains as of now and the impact that Amrish Puri has left with Ashraf Ali, it is a big responsibility. Do you think you can take this responsibility?” Manish Wadhwa assured him that he would ace the role of Hamid Iqbal under the guidance of Sharma and Deol, and got the role.
Ever since the release of Gadar 2, Wadhwa has been applauded for his performance in the film and wished that the film’s success translates into more work for him.
Gadar 2 has been having a good run in the cinema halls. It has crossed the benchmark of Rs 300 cr within seven days and is on its way to writing more box office records to its name.
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