Karan Johar cleverly passed on the buck to his novice director Siddharth Malhotra for Abhishek Bachchan's non-presence in the remake...a casting digression that jolted everyone who thought Abhishek was a natural and inevitable inheritor of the Agneepth role.
Says Karan: "When my father (late Yash Johar) produced Agneepath, he left everything to his director Mukul Anand and kept completely away from the project. I'm carrying on the family tradition."
"The casting for the Agneepath remake was decided by the director Siddharth Malhotra. He decided on Hrithik Roshan and Priyanka Chopra. Why Hrithik and not Abhishek? I think Siddharth has his own ideas on how to present the character. I think the protagonist in the new Agneepath would be very different from how he was in the original."
The script for the new Agneepath is also entirely revamped. Priyanka Chopra won't play a nurse, like Madhavi had done in the original. And Mithun Chakraborty's character from the original has been done away with completely.
If there was any tension about the Bachchan scion Abhishek not even being approached for the remake of Agneepath, it was wiped away Wednesday and Thursday last week at fashion show where it was crystal-clear that the Bachchans still treated Karan as part of their family.
At Manish Malhotra's fashion show Wednesday night, Abhishek, more baffled than hurt by not even being asked to do the Agneepath remake, walked up and warmly hugged Karan. The following evening, Karan coaxed the original Agneepath protagonist Amitabh Bachchan to walk the ramp with star of the remake Hrithik Roshan, thereby putting an end to all speculation within the film industry about a strain between the Bachchan parivar and Karan over the Agneepath issue.
Says Karan emotionally: "The Bachchans and my family go back a long way. Our association is not on a film-to-film basis. It doesn't matter how many films we work in or don't work in. For the record I will be doing at least 10 more films with Abhishek in my lifetime. He has already done two films with our banner Dharma Productions. He's doing 'Dostana 2' next year."