Released in 2016, the Indian black comedy crime drama, Udta Punjab, created hype and a lot of controversies for its content. However, despite the resistance, the movie turned out to be one of the best performances of the lead cast including Shahid Kapoor, who appeared in a completely different avatar. However, it was recently learnt that Shahid was not the first choice for Udta Punjab.
In the Abhishek Chaubey directorial, Shahid Kapoor played the character of a drug addict and successful Punjabi singer, Tommy Singh. His portrayal of the character with a never-before-seen avatar was loved by one and all just like his onscreen character. While we cannot imagine any other actor playing the character of Tommy Singh with the same brilliance, Sudip Sharma recently opened up that they were against casting a Bollywood actor for Tommy Singh initially.
In a conversation with Film Companion, the writer of the movie, Sudip Sharma, said that he wanted to bring Riz Ahmed on board after watching his performance in the American neo-noir thriller, Nightcrawler, and he was trying to convince the director. “We never thought of a Bollywood actor for that role (Tommy Singh). We thought, why don’t we go for a British-South Asian character? Because we really wanted that whole London thing in it. And Riz is a great actor,” he said.
Sudip further stated that Riz Ahmed was not a globally renowned name when Udta Punjab was made. “And I remember walking out of Nightcrawler – he had a small-ish part in that film. He wasn’t that big a star, so we weren’t being that unrealistic and foolish about it,” he added.
However, Shahid Kapoor was later approached to play his part in Udta Punjab and Riz Ahmed found his recognition with the Belgian-American indie film, Sound Of Metal, which went on to win two Academy Awards from six nominations.
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