17 years of Dhadkan: Many stars still angry for not casting them, says Dharmesh Darshan


The on-screen love triangle between actors Suniel Shetty, Akshay Kumar and Shilpa Shetty made director Dharmesh Darshan’s film, Dhadkan, a hit at the box office. As the film completes 17 years of its release on Friday, Dharmesh recalls how he went ahead with the film despite many oppositions.

The filmmaker had carved a niche for himself with the successful Aamir Khan-Karisma Kapoor starrer Raja Hindustani (1996) and many people were eager to work with him. This made it difficult for him to lock the cast for Dhadkan. “ The expectations from me were massive. Every big name was at my door step,” says Dharmesh. However, despite the intense pressure, he decided to cast Akshay, Shilpa and Suniel. “I believed in these three people. With all due respect,and I don’t want to come across as patronising, but at that time it was very daring to cast them as lead actors because they were all going through a certain extreme low,” he adds.


His final choices cost him some relationships in the film industry. “ Powerful stars were, and are still very angry with me because they wondered why I was doing this kind of a thing [casting actors going through a low phase] and what was I trying to prove. I wasn’t trying to prove anything,” he says.

The filmmaker admits that a lot of people intimidated him by saying that his decision to cast Akshay, Suniel and Shilpa was not an intelligent one. “I faced a lot of flak for the cast initially and even through the making of the film. Most people play safe after so much success but I had faith in my actors and my script. I worked very sincerely with them,” says Dharmesh.

17 years of Dhadkan: Many stars still angry for not casting them, says Dharmesh Darshan

The film’s music, composed by Nadeem - Shravan, too, went on to break records but it wasn’t until the film’s release that people appreciated it. “Initially the music didn’t work. “People told me that the music was not too great and very Indian in the tone. Then when people saw the actors in a full three hour film they also appreciated the music and that felt phenomenal,” he says.