Pardes released in 1997, and was a hit at the box-office. The film’s music, and Shahrukh Khan were singled out for particular praise. And even though Mahima Chaudhary and Apurva Agnihotri did not have particularly impressive careers in B-Town, they did a fairly good job too, considering it was their first film.
But it was very much possible that this casting decision would have never happened! Yes, Subhash Ghai, in a public appearance recently, revealed an interesting piece of information about Pardes, one that involves Salman Khan and Madhuri Dixit!
Yes, the duo were supposed to play the roles that went to Apurva Agnihotri and Mahima Chaudhary eventually. Subhash Ghai spilled the beans-
“As a director I had to face two challenges while making ‘Pardes’. First as a producer I was facing a challenge as our banner Mukta Arts’ last film ‘Trimurti’ didn’t do well at the box office. So, after delivering so many hit films, if you give a flop film then somewhere the attitude of the film industry, stars, media slightly changes towards you a bit. So, I was receiving a lot of flak at that time that my banner is finished, I am finished, I am now past. There were some who were even happy due to this. But, I didn’t want to let them have the satisfaction. I decided to make a film, and wrote the story of ‘Pardes’. Then, as a producer I faced a challenge, when after writing the story, the discussion about the casting of the film began. That was a very big problem. So, at that time our manager Gupta ji of Mukta Arts, used to discuss about the casting, setup, about the budget, at what price it might be sold, how the distributors will behave for this film, what would be their reaction, etc. So, he suggested me there would be a casting of Shahrukh and the role of NRI boy could be done by Salman (Khan), and Madhuri (Dixit) would be perfect to play the central character. Initially, I had even told the idea of Ganga (the heroine’s character name in ‘Pardes’) to Madhuri while we were shooting for ‘Khalnayak’ and she had liked it. But, I thought of a setup where there should have been a new girl, a new boy for NRI’s role and Shahrukh Khan.”
Now, now. Wouldn’t THAT have been a casting coup!
Call it a quirk of fate if you like, but the trio of Salman Khan, Shahrukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit did come together for the ill-fated ‘Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam’, a few years later