'Ikkis': Sriram Raghavan replaced Varun Dhawan with Agastya Nanda for this reason; Read on
Sriram Raghavan reveals the casting shift from Varun Dhawan to Agastya Nanda in war drama 'Ikkis.' Here's why he felt the need for such a change
Renowned Indian filmmaker Sriram Raghavan, known for his successful projects like Badlapur, recently shed light on the decision to replace Varun Dhawan with newcomer Agastya Nanda in his upcoming war drama, Ikkis. The director, who recently marked his Tamil debut with Merry Christmas, revealed the reasons behind the casting change during a recent interaction.
Raghavan, who previously collaborated with Varun Dhawan in Badlapur, initially planned to work with the actor again for Ikkis, a biographical war drama centered around the life of Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal PVC. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a subsequent discussion, the decision was made to opt for a different lead. Raghavan explained, “Initially, it had Varun Dhawan, and then after the pandemic, we had a chat about how he won’t suit (the part).”
Speaking about the film itself, Raghavan highlighted its grand scale, featuring tank battles and other elements typical of a war film. However, he emphasized that Ikkis is not merely an action-packed spectacle; it is a human story, a poignant drama that delves into the coming-of-age journey of its characters.
In addition to the casting change, Raghavan shared insights into the film's ensemble, mentioning veteran actor Dharmendra's involvement. Dharmendra plays the role of Arun Khetarpal's father in the movie, marking a reunion between the director and the senior actor since their collaboration on Johnny Gaddar. Raghavan elaborated on the experience, stating, “It is wonderful. We have shot a bit of the film. He is playing Arun’s father. When Arun died at the age of 21, his father was 51 years old or so, and in the year 2000, his father was in his early 80s.”
The lead role eventually went to Agastya Nanda, the grandson of Bollywood icons Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bachchan. Nanda recently made his acting debut in Zoya Akhtar’s The Archies, where he portrayed the character of Archibald Andrews (Archie) alongside Khushi Kapoor, Suhana Khan, Vedang Raina, Mihir Ahuja, Aditi Saigal, and Yuvraj Menda.