On his 51st birthday, filmmaker Karan Johar unveiled the first look of his upcoming directorial outing, Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani. Along with the character posters of Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt, netizens were also offered a glimpse of their onscreen family members played by veteran actors Dharmendra, Shabana Azmi and Jaya Bachchan, among others. While most details about Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani are still kept under wraps, Johar in a social media post had stated that it is inspired from ‘a real life family anecdote’ that was shared by his father, late producer Yash Johar.
While the Ae Dil Hai Mushkil director had worked with Bachchan in the iconic film, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001), this is the first time that he has directed Azmi in his filmmaking career spanning 25 years. The duo might belong to two completely different schools of cinema, but Azmi in an exclusive chat with News18 a while back, revealed that she had a whale of a time working with Johar. “Doing the film was a ball. I completely surrendered myself to Karan Johar and Manish Malhotra (costume designer). If people like me, it’s to their credit and if they hate me, it will be their fault,” she told us with a laugh.
Interestingly, Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani also marks the first time that Azmi has shared screen space with Bachchan. “Unfortunately, I don’t have much work with her and that’s something I really feel sad about,” she said. For the unversed, these powerhouse performers had earlier worked on late filmmaker Tapan Sinha’s 2001 anthology film, Daughters Of This Century, but they were part of two different short stories in it.
Azmi went on to share that Bachchan is the force that drove her towards becoming a film actor. “Jaya is the reason I joined the film institute (Film & Television Institute of India). When I saw her in a diploma film of the film institute called Suman, I was completely taken aback because I had never seen that kind of acting in Hindi films,” she recalled.
Thereafter, she had watched Abhimaan (1973) co-starring Amitabh Bachchan, and it proved to be an important moment in her life. Talking about it, Azmi remarked, “After that, I saw her performance in Abhimaan, which I have only watched 3000 times, and I tried to apply at the same place (laughs). The amount of strength in that little personality… she comes onscreen and you just can’t move your eyes away from her!” Hoping to reunite soon with her onscreen, the Neerja (2016) and Halo (2022) actor said, “It’s sad that I didn’t get to spend so much time with her and I do hope we’ll get to do more work together.”
A couple of years back, News18 had exclusively reported that Dharmendra, Azmi and Bachchan will be seen caught up in a love triangle in the matured love story, a theme prevalent across many of Johar’s films. However, the production house has not revealed anything yet. While the Guddi (1971) duo of Dharmendra and Bachchan will play Singh’s onscreen grandparents, Azmi will be essaying Bhatt’s grandmother. Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani is all set to hit the theatres on 28 July, 2023.