Shah Rukh Khan’s debut film Deewana released 30 years ago, on June 25, 1992, and it gave the industry the man who’s ruling hearts even today. The film also starred Rishi Kapoor and Divya Bharti and it was an interesting romcom that was loved by audiences. Bollywood Hungama exclusively spoke to Guddu Dhanoa about the film and of course, Shah Rukh Khan.
We asked him if he remembered that it was Deewana’s anniversary on June 25. He straight away replied, “Of course. Deewana main bhool hi nahi sakta yaar!”
It’s a known fact that Armaan Kohli was supposed to play the part essayed by Shah Rukh. He left the film and reports state that he had even shot for a few portions. Guddu Dhanoa made it clear that this was not true. He explained, “Lalit Kapoor, Raju Kothari and I jointly produced the film. Raju Kothari’s wife Shabnam Kapoor was making another film, Insaaf Ki Devi (1992). That’s how we learnt about Armaan. Shabnam told us, ‘Aap log isko le lo. Ladka theek hai’. I don’t know what happened exactly, but he was removed from Insaaf Ki Devi. Then Rajkumar Kohli (Armaan Kohli’s filmmaker father) called me and told me that Armaan won’t do Deewana as well because Shabnam’s husband is my partner in the film. That’s how Armaan Kohli left Deewana.”
Shah Rukh Khan, meanwhile, nailed the part of Raja Sahai and catapulted him to stardom. Has Armaan Kohli ever expressed his regret of not doing Deewana? “No, that has never happened,” replied Guddu.
Another popular fact is that filmmaker Shekhar Kapur suggested Shah Rukh’s name. An IMDb trivia also states that Guddu’s cousin Dharmendra asked him to sign SRK. Guddu Dhanoa clarified that the Dharmendra trivia is false. He narrated, “Shekhar Kapur and I were going to Madras to check out the special effects of Mani Ratnam’s film, Anjali (1990). I confided in Shekhar about Armaan Kohli’s exit. He told me, ‘Aap Shah Rukh Khan ko le lo’.”
Guddu Dhanoa met Shah Rukh along with director Raj Kanwar at Host restaurant, located at Connaught Place, Delhi. Guddu, at this point, remarked, “Shah Rukh Khan Deewana se star nahi bana. Shah Rukh Khan Deewana ke pehle se hi star tha. When I was sitting in the Host restaurant and waiting for Shah Rukh, I asked Raj Kanwar, “Raj ji, yeh ladka kaun hai? Mujhe yaad dilao’. Raj asked me, ‘Fauji aur Circus yaad hai? Usme tha yeh’. I remembered both the TV shows but couldn’t recollect his face. Then, as soon as Shah Rukh Khan entered, I had made up my mind that I’ll sign him.”
When asked why was that so, he said, “The moment he entered our restaurant and till the time he walked towards our table, murmurs began among other restaurant guests. ‘Shah Rukh Khan hai yeh, Shah Rukh Khan hai yeh’ is what I could hear in hushed tones. It reminded me of Dharam ji (Dharmendra). When Dharam ji would walk at the airport or any public place, the people around would murmur, ‘Dharmendra, Dharmendra, Dharmendra’! I saw the same kind of response for Shah Rukh. Log pehle se hi Shah Rukh ko bahut zyada pyaar karte the.”