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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Bunty Aur Babli 2: Fans conflicted as Saif Ali Khan replaces Abhishek Bachchan as OG conman

Abhishek Bachchan won hearts in Bunty Aur Babli. His acting chops and incredible chemistry with Rani Mukerji made his OG Bunty a fan favourite.

Written by Mimansa Shekhar | New Delhi |
November 19, 2021 8:18:55 am
abhishek bachchan in bunty aur babliAbhishek Bachchan got replaced by Saif Ali Khan in Bunty Aur Babli sequel. (Photos: YRF)

When Abhishek Bachchan’s Rakesh left Fursatganj and his monotonous small-town existence for a life as a con artist in Bunty Aur Babli, it was evident that he was on the road to an image makeover. His “Kajra Re” with dad Amitabh Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai remains a chartbuster. Now, 16 years on, Rakesh Trivedi aka Bunty is back, but with a new face in Bunty Aur Babli 2. There isn’t any doubt that Saif Ali Khan has brought in his signature charm to the fan favourite character, but something is amiss. And that something is definitely the OG Abhishek Bachchan.

Ever since the trailer of the sequel released, social media is abuzz with reactions about how Abhishek is being dearly missed in a role he inhabited so seamlessly. That’s because until 2005, Abhishek hadn’t done anything as flamboyant as Bunty. From Refugee to LOC Kargil, Yuva, Run, Phir Milenge and Dhoom, he was a sedate, straight as an arrow hero. And then, Bunty happened.

In the trailer of Bunty Aur Babli 2, we saw Saif and the original Babli, Rani Mukerji living a middle-class life in their domestic bubble. From weight lifting with cylinders to playing the con game once again, Saif is pulling all stops to find a place in our hearts. While many pointed out the absence of Abhishek, others wondered if Saif can replace him.

While one fan tweeted, “Saif as Bunty feels so out of place. That role is made just for Abhishek Bachchan,” other user wrote, “How can you have any Bunty aur Babli without Abhishek Bachchan? The endearing, innocent charm of Bunty was all Abhishek!”

Bunty Aur Babli 2 Rani Mukerji and Saif Ali Khan in a still from Bunty Aur Babli 2. (Photo: Yash Raj Films/Twitter)

Abhishek’s chemistry with Rani was effortless. From the romantic “Chup Chup Ke” to the small-town vibes of “Dhadak Dhadak” and the foot-tapping “Nach Baliye”, each track strengthened the belief that Abhishek and Rani were the perfect casting. Even the title track had a local feel, perfectly introducing the two character’s dreams and aspirations. No wonder the film’s songs continue to find place in our playlists.

In 2019, soon after the cast of the sequel was locked, Rani Mukerji released an official statement. It read, “Abhishek and I were both approached by YRF to reprise our roles as the originals in Bunty Aur Babli 2 but, unfortunately, things didn’t work out with him and we will miss him dearly.”

When everything about the film remains so strongly etched in our memories, it is but difficult to see the character being played by a new actor. However, Saif — who has had successful collaborations with Rani in the past — is the one playing the lead role. All eyes are on the prize now as the film releases today.

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