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The curious cases of lead actors doing similar roles in two films without realizing or revealing intentionally. (A bobbytalkscinema EXCLUSIVE)

26 Jul, 2016 | Articles on Cinema

When we consider the term ‘Professionalism’, then at one end it specifically means strictly not disclosing details of any ongoing project to the others, particularly to the ones working in the similar profession. But at the same time, the term also means that if a second project is offered to an actor, quite close to the one he has already done in the past or is currently involved in, then ideally that needs to be clearly conveyed to the writer/director making the offer, leaving the decision on him that whether he still wishes to continue with the same or decides to drop it.
Toofan-JaadugarA few recent Hindi releases forced me to think about these two ‘tricky’ meanings of the word sharing it honestly and the subject once again took me back to the late-80s controversy between two famous duds of Amitabh Bachchan namely TOOFAN and JAADUGAR releasing in close succession in the same year of 1989. Based on a common unconventional subject revolving around magicians, both these films did have Amitabh playing the key role of a Jaadugar (though with completely different story plots), which was exactly the point raised by Prakash Mehra that his leading man didn’t tell him about the similarity during the entire making. Now how and why the fact didn’t get revealed in time avoiding the messy clash cannot be guessed rightly. But the truth remains that both these film actually got made, released and rejected too (at the same time with TOOFAN releasing first) for the very reason of similarities apart from the mediocre making.
Ironically even Amitabh’s SHAHENSHAH releasing a year before in 1988 had a similar theme like TOOFAN focusing on a super-human kind of figure fighting the evil at night and another similar looking character playing the comical part in the daytime entertaining the viewers (though it wasn’t the case of a double role).
Adding another worth mentioning fact about MKD films, just like COOLIE (1983), TOOFAN is also mostly quoted as a Manmohan Desai film, whereas the first was directed by Prayag Rag (sharing the credits with Manmohan Desai) and the latter was the second directorial venture of his son, Ketan Desai.
Wazir-Te3nComing back to the present, the recent example is of two major films releasing at the gap of 4 months namely WAZIR and TE3N in the first half of 2016 based on a similar theme. Interestingly in this case too we have Amitabh Bachchan only playing the lead role in both the films as an old man who has lost a girl in the family to an unfortunate event and now is willing to take his revenge from the known killer. Despite being contrastingly different in the mystery involved and its treatment, amazingly both WAZIR and TE3N have Amitabh only as the main conspirator behind the games being played like a shrewd criminal fooling his close associates Farhan and Nawazuddin respectively. Now was this acute similarity actually known or conveyed to the respective makers or not (working simultaneously) is certainly a backstage mystery to be solved by asking the makers themselves.
Admittedly many a times two or more films do get made on a similar theme by different directors. But the mystical question is that when a same lead actor is doing both these projects at almost the same time, then does professionalism allows him to remain silent and hide this crucial fact from both the makers or it rightly demands to reveal the truth at the earliest and let them decide for the rest.
Darr-AnjaamQuoting a couple of examples of the same, PREM SHASTRA and ISHQ ISHQ ISHQ both had the mention of a bold subject of incest with Dev Anand and Zeenat Aman playing the lead, releasing in the same year of 1974 (and none of the two worked). In the mid-90s, Shah Rukh Khan repeated his stalker act of DARR (December/1993) in a much brutal manner in ANJAAM released just a few months later in (April/1994), clearly indicating that they both were into the making almost simultaneously in the year 1992-93.
The above examples are of the films that were being made around the same time - featuring the same lead stars - revolving around the same theme, that’s indeed quite amusing and intriguing to even think about.
However there are other instances when a lead star featured in a film that was quite similar to what he had earlier done in the past too in another venture.
To begin with we have a very recent case of Irrfan Khan playing the lead role in DEADLINE – SIRF 24 GHANTE (2006), JAZBAA (2015) and MADAARI (2016) having an identical theme of a kid getting kidnapped in all the three.
Now in JAZBAA, there is a sequence where the kidnapped girl gets sick and the kidnapper makes a call to the mother (Aishwarya), to bring the medicine at a particular place leaving the packet at a specific spot. An exactly similar sequence is there in DEADLINE too where the kid girl gets an attack of asthma and the kidnapper has to bring in the mother to take care of her for a while. No doubt the sequence is tackled in a much better manner in DEADLINE where Irrfan himself plays one of the kidnappers (in contrast to the inspector in JAZBAA), but whether he recalled or pointed out this similarity to his writer/director of JAZBAA or not remains an exciting mystery.
Deadline-MadaariAmusingly another important fact related with both these films reamins that where JAZBAA was an official remake of a Korean thriller SEVEN DAYS (2007), DEADLINE was an unofficial version of an English film TRAPPED (2002) having an exactly similar sequence like a weird co-incidence.
Talking about the most recent MADAARI (2016), here too it’s again Irrfan Khan playing the forced criminal kidnapping the kid of an influential figure of the society. And the only difference is that where in DEADLINE he kidnaps the daughter of a doctor/surgeon blaming him for the death of his young child, in MADAARI he picks up the son of a Home Minister, who was the key person, passing a faulty flyover causing the death of his only child. However the question still remains the same that did Irrfan honestly inform or discuss these exact similarities with the writer-director of MADAARI or not?
Giving some similar references from the past, in the 80s and 90s, most of the films of Dharmendra and Mithun Chakraborty often generated the feeling of Deja-Vu in a vague manner.
Besides, Rajesh Khanna and Hema Malini featured in two films based on a similar reincarnation theme namely MEHBOOBA (1976) and KUDRAT (1981).
VAASTAV (1999) had its seeds in a similar act by Sanjay Dutt in his HATHYAR released in 1989, with the entire transformation beginning from a road side food stall only.
Anil Kapoor played an innocent adult with an underdeveloped mental state in YUVRAAJ (2008), which was quite identical to what he superbly played two decades back in EESWAR (1989).
And on a lighter note, cannot really guess that while shooting for the last shot of LAGAAN (2001) playing the winning sixer, did Aamir Khan recall that he had earlier played an exactly similar sixer in the climax of Dev Anand’s AWWAL NUMBER (1990) too, though playing modern cricket in a stadium instead of the pre-independence era against the Englishmen.
Anyway the question still stands tall as an unsolved mystery that, whether the lead stars actually spotted these similarities and discussed with their directors too or they just decided to let it go……. posing as some different kind of professionals remaining silent?
(Note : Do let me know if you recall another similar instance of the past that deserves a mention in the article.)

Tags : Lead actors doing similar roles in two films, Inspired Films, Copied Films, Similar Themes, Articles on Inspired Hindi Cinema by Bobby Sing, Articles on Cinema by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Toofan and Jaadugar, Darr and Anjaan, Deadline and Madaari, Wazie and Te3n, Lagaan and Awwal Number, Backstage stories of Bollywood films.
26 Jul 2016 / Comments ( 8 )
Karanpal Singh
Kya baat a sir ji .. jio !!
Bobby Sing

Glad that you enjoyed the articles Karanpal.
Keep visiting and writing in,

Jai Shah
Waheeda Rehman\'s roles in JYOTI BANE JWALA & JWALAMUKHI were the same. Both films released in 1980; both had the same theme. Vinod Mehra played her second son in both films. Jeetendra who produced the former film actually sabotaged Prakash Mehra\'s latter film by making a quickie on the same subject & took the same actors.
Bobby Sing

Thanks a lot Jai Shah for a new probable entry.
I will surely look into both as in another mail too I have received the info that there was indeed a controversy between these films in the years of their making.


I have a few actors doing similar roles.

1.Dharmendra playing a CID/Under cover officer in3 movies:
Aankhen(1968), Charas (1976) and Shalimar.

2.Sunny Deol playing similar role of Police Officer who is Suspended.
Tridev and Viswatma. Both were directed by Rajiv Rai.
Indian and Maa Tujhe Salaam(Patriotic with a similar theme)

3.Pran playing Informer/Eye Witness who helps the Hero in the Clilmax.
Majboor, Don And Dostana.
all three movies had Amitabh Bachchan as the hero and 2 had Zeenat Aman as the heroine.

4.Raaj Kumar playing Mentor/Guardian in 2 movies
Marte Dam Tak and Jungbaaz. Both movies he mentored Govinda.

5.Rajesh Khanna playing similar roles of Old man whose children leave the parents.
Avtaar and Amrit

6.Jeetendra played similar roles in movies produced by South Indian Movies industry primarily family oriented movies. Can\'t name all.

7.Amitabh Bachchan acted in 2 movies both directed by Yash Chopra.
Kabhi Kabhie and Silsila. Both movies he plays similar role. Poet in KK and Writer in Silsila. Both movies he does not get the heroine and she marries someone else.

8.Dilip Kumar- Dil Diya Dard Liya and Ram aur Shyam. Sagina Mahto and Sagina.Dastaan and Bairaag.Duniya and Mashaal (released in same year).

9.Randhir Kapoor-Raampur ka Lakshman,Ponga Pandit and Ram Bharose,
Jawani Diwani and Dil Diwana.

I am sure I missed a few. Will write again.
Bobby Sing

Dear Kenny,
Thanks for your detailed comment, but you are actually thinking in two vague terms as many other mails I receive.
So please think and let me know keeping in mind the following points.

Firstly please note that apart from JAADUGAR and TOOFAN, that were mainly quoted due to the controversy, this is not just looking for the general similarities of playing a cop or witness or poet or else. So we have to see more exact similarities in storyline and theme of the movie too to be included as SUPRISING examples.

Secondly the article is not considering the same directors repeating the same character in their other films, as that again has a logical relation of being written/directed by the same mind. Here we are talking the cases when the same actor is doing almost identical roles in two different films made by two different directors. For instance majority Manoj Kumar films can be called patriotic but they are not similar.

Thirdly, Dharmendra, Mithun and to some extent Govinda too in 80s or 90s gave us the feeling of DEJA VU in too many films that have vague similarities but not exact. So please let me know about the EXACT if any.

And lastly please keep in mind the LEAD ACTS only and not supporting cast as in our films the supporting cast is typecast in a usual manner like Iftekhar and Jagdish Raj almost same roles of a Police officer many times.

SO as per the criteria, please see if you have any more films in mind as these cannot be included for the reasons mentioned above, with only one I need to check again ie DUNIYA and MASHAAL.

TILL NOW the two new entries I have got are of :



Very good article. Some points and more examples.
1. Mahaan also had Amitabh playing a funny \'nautankiwala\' character which was similar to those 2 magician characters.

2. Ajooba is also similar to Shahenshah. Isn\'t it? Also the character and the backstory of Shahenshah/Vijay is blatantly like Batman!

3. How did you miss the most hilarious example of Rishi Kapoor doing the same role in Daraar and Yaarana around the same time in the late 90s! Both remakes of \'sleeping with the enemy\'.
4. Raj Babbar also did the same stalking the heroine which drives the plot in Yaarana and Itihaas. again in the late 90s.
5. Rishi Kapoor also did eerily similar reincarnation movies in the late 80s - Janam Janam and Banjaran.
6. Rishi Kapoor repeated his role from \'Deewana\' in a film called \'Inteha pyar ki\'. SRK was replaced by newcomer Imran Khan. Not exact but similar. You can also compare it to Daraar where the heroine has a past he doesn\'t know about.
7. Madhuri Dixit in a very similar love triangle in Saajan , Mohabbat and Aarzoo. Her lover fakes his own demise in the latter 2 films. Saajan and Aarzoo was by same director. not Mohabbat.
Do confirm the similarities before writing them off.
Bobby Sing

Hi Chris,
Thanks for your kind appreciation and submissions too.
Though they all not exactly fit into the format but I would soon update the article with many new additions and reference of Mahaan, Ajooba, Rishi Kapoor for sure.

So thanks a lot for writing in.
Keep Visiting.

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