Mohit Ahlawat to play Jai in Ram Gopal Varma's Sholay remake
When Sholay producer G.P. Sippy read about Ram Gopal Varma's plans to remake the classic, he made a trip to the talented director's office, hugged him and said he was sure Ramu would do full justice to the film.
"It was a very moving moment. Almost as moving as when (Shiv Sena supremo) Bal Thackeray hugged me after Sarkar for capturing his life," says Varma.
Now that the project has been blessed by the grand-master, Sholay or shall we call it Ram Gopal Varma Ki Sholay, the astute director has begun to look at the casting for the new-age version of the ageless classic.
And though several names are doing the rounds for the other legendary parts in the Salim-Javed script, Ramu has so far locked in on only one character - Jai, played by superstar Amitabh Bachchan in the original.
Varma's choice for Jai in his remake is newcomer Mohit Ahlawat.
Says the star maker: "Though I'm yet to zero-in on the actors for the other characters - there are so many of them and they're all legendary - I'm certain that I want Mohit for Bachchan's character. He has that brooding intensity on screen which is required."
Mohit, whose waiting for the release of his maiden film James, can't believe his luck.
"It's the most exciting thing to have happened to my career so far, even more exciting than James. Imagine getting to play my dream role so early in my career.
"I've watched Sholay repeatedly. And if I had to choose the one role from the film, I'd have chosen Bachchan's. He was awesome. I can't hope to recreate even a bit of his magic. But I'll try. I'll be watching Bachchan's performance very carefully in Sholay. I feel it will be a huge learning experience for me."
Asked if he was aware that Shah Rukh Khan is reprising another legenadry Bachchan role, Mohit answered in the affirmative.
"Yes I'm aware he's doing Don. And now I'm doing Sholay. It's good that we'll have new interpretations of these classics. It makes life more exciting," says Mohit who recently tied the knot with his long-time girlfriend.
"It has changed my life," he says about his marriage.
"I feel so much more confident and ready to face the world. Earlier I used to go back to an empty home. Now there's someone waiting for me."
He adds as an afterthought: "At the end of Sholay, Jai didn't get the woman he loved. Thank god my love story has a happy ending."