Before the now iconic Chulbul Pandey landed in the lap of Salman Khan who has immortalized this cult character and film forever, the role of Pandey was offered to a number of actors. First it was Shiney Ahuja who received the offer. However, as soon as Shiney found himself a part of his domestic rape case, director Abhinav Kashyap decided to switch gears after he couldn’t wait.
And now, apparently it was then that the film went to Randeep Hooda. After many conversations with the director, Randeep was prepared to get into the soul of Chulbul Pandey and although, Hooda himself refuses to discuss Dabangg, a source close to the actor claims, “Randeep was very serious about playing the cop Chulbul Pandey. His only reservation was he was also doing a cop’s part in Risk and didn’t want it to clash with Dabangg. But then Randeep began preparations and interpreted the role in a totally different way.” However, this all occurred when Dabangg was set to be produced by UTV. When it didn’t work out with the ace production house, Abhinav Kashyap took the film to Arbaaz Khan who was more than happy to be a part of the film as producer and actor. “But when UTV and Randeep were doing Dabangg it was a totally different mood and script. Grim, gut-wrenching, and hardhitting and serious look at corruption at the grassroots. Randeep can’t recognize this Dabangg as the one he was supposed to do,” the source added.
On a side note, Hooda’s track record constantly shows that a number of films he has rejected have gone on to become huge hits. Whether it was Arjun Rampal’s role in Rock On! or a role in Rang De Basanti, Hooda showed no hassles in saying no to films that made waves and changed careers.
However, when it comes to Chulbul Pandey, it was always meant to be Salman’s shining glory. One can’t imagine Dabangg being as big as it is with Shiney or Randeep.