When Salman Khan wanted brother-in-law Ayush Sharma to play Sidharth Malhotra’s role of Capt. Batra in ‘Shershaah’

Sidharth Malhotra has been riding high on the success of his recently released film ‘Shershaah’, which also stars Kiara Advani. Sidharth has received immense praise from fans and critics for his portrayal of Captain Vikram Batra. But do you know that initially, superstar Salman Khan wanted his brother-in-law, actor Ayush Sharma to play the lead role in the film?

During a conversation with Mid-Day, ‘Shershaah’ producer Shabbir Boxwala revealed that Salman Khan wanted to partner with him on the movie and also suggested Ayush’s name to play Captain Vikram Batra. Ayush is Salman’s sister, Arpita Khan’s husband.

“Salman approached me at a stage when I was in talks with Junglee Pictures. He wanted Shershaah to be Aayush’s [Sharma] debut film, and wanted to partner with me on it,” Shabbir said.

However, by the time Salman went to Boxwala, Sidharth’s name was already put forward to the Batra family who ‘unanimously seconded’ on the idea of the ‘Ek Villain’ star essaying the role of the Param Vir Chakra awardee. Moreover, a meeting between the family and Sidharth had also been set up. 

“It would have been highly unethical to drop him for another actor. When Captain Batra’s family gave me the rights, it was a big moment for me. They showed immense trust in me, and I didn’t want to go wrong at any step. I explained [my predicament] to Salman, who was understanding. Aayush was sweet and sportingly said that playing a double role in his debut movie might be [a tall order],” Boxwala said. 

It was in 2016 that Shabbir acquired the rights to narrate Captain Vikram Batra’s inspiring life story on screens. The producer shared his long journey of filming ‘Shershaah’.

“From Junglee Pictures, the film went to Dharma Productions [in 2019]. It didn’t take Karan [Johar] more than five minutes to say yes to the project. Director Dennis Lee came from Los Angeles to helm the film, but things didn’t work out. Vishnu Varadhan [director] was suggested by my writer Sandeep Shrivastava,” he concluded.

Apart from Kiara and Sidharth, ‘Shershaah’ also starred Shiv Pandit, Nikitin Dheer, Himmanshoo A Malhotra and Anil Charanjeett in key roles.

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