Why Subhash Ghai refused to cast Salman Khan in Shah Rukh Khan’s Pardes

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Filmmaker Subhash Ghai revealed that he was under pressure to cast Salman Khan, Madhuri Dixit and Shah Rukh Khan for his 1997 film Pardes.
Pardes cast Shah Rukh Khan in the lead role and also marked Mahima Chaudhry and Apurva Agnihotri’s debut.
For the role of Ganga (played by Mahima) and NRI Rajiv (played by Apurva), Ghai said that his production house wanted to cast Madhuri and Salman respectively.

“After several hits, Trimurti was Mukta Arts’ first flop. When a film flops, the industry is quick to write you off. I decided to write a film in my own style. When the script was over, we were discussing the casting, which was a big problem. My production house thought Shah Rukh could be in the film along with Salman, playing an NRI, and Madhuri would play the central character,” Ghai revealed.
“I had narrated Ganga’s character to Madhuri during Khalnayak too. But I wanted newcomers paired with Shah Rukh. His Trimurti had flopped and DDLJ (Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge) had worked, so I knew he was a great performer,” Ghai said.

Trimurti, which released in 1995, was directed by Mukul Anand, and featured Shah Rukh along with Anil Kapoor and Jackie Shroff in principal roles.
The 72-year-old director said though people in his production house wanted the three superstars together, he was not convinced.
Although Ghai’s production house wanted to cast three superstars in Pardes, the 72-year-old director was not convinced.

“My office wanted me to make the film with Salman, Madhuri and Shah Rukh because then it would be a big film and losses of Trimurti would be covered as well. They were right too. But the director in me wasn’t convinced that we need such a big star cast. I said three big stars won’t go well in the script that I have. I wanted someone who looked like he has come from foreign for the NRI part. It was a big challenge but I finally managed to get Mahima, Apurva and Shah Rukh,” he said.

Subhash Ghai was speaking at the special screening of the film, which completed 20 years in August. It was showcased at New Excelsior Cinema, which was recently acquired by Mukta A2 Cinema, a branch of Ghai’s Mukta Arts.

To present Shah Rukh Khan in a non-romantic role was also another challenge for Ghai.
“Shah Rukh’s image had turned romantic after DDLJ but this role wasn’t romantic at all. The challenge was to tell Shah Rukh that he won’t be like a romantic hero in any shot. Till the end, there was no hero-heroine romance. It was a wonderful thing,” Subhash Ghai said.
Subhash Ghai is known for his films such as Karz, Taal and Yaadein.