Awesome Twosomes

The year 2017 is one of many potent actor-director pairings – which winning combo will hit the bull’s eye?


No matter what the audience and the trade feel about the potent chemistry of the lead pair in a film, there’s another equally critical formula that can spell success at the box office – and that’s the chemistry between an actor and a director.

It is crucial for an actor to share a great comfort level with his director and for a director to trust his actor completely. Perhaps that’s why directors are increasingly keen on signing actors who they have already delivered hits with in the past or with whom they have shared a great rapport during shoots.

That’s because when a director is able to convey his vision through his actor, it’s a sure-shot way to win the hearts of the audience. This year, we will see not one, not two but 11 such director-actor duos who have given fabulous box-office returns with their previous films.

And when we talk about successful actor-director combinations in the past, the following immediately come to mind: Amitabh Bachchan and Prakash Mehra, Amitabh Bachchan and Manmohan Desai, Rajesh Khanna and Shakti Samantha and David Dhawan and Govinda, to name a few.

The box-office hit pairs who will release their films this year are Vishal Bhardwaj and Shahid Kapoor, who return with Rangoon after their film Haider; Ram Gopal Varma and Amitabh Bachchan, who bring the successful franchise of Sarkar to the silver screen; and Anurag Basu and Ranbir Kapoor’s much-anticipated Jagga Jasoos.

Kabir Khan and Salman Khan are all set with their film Tubelight, after delivering box-office wonders like Ek Tha Tiger and Bajrangi Bhaijaan. Sabbir Khan and Tiger Shroff, after their impressive outing Baaghi in 2016, will have Munna Michael; Milan Luthria and Ajay Devgn return with Baadshaho, father-son duo David Dhawan and Varun Dhawan team up again for Judwaa 2; and Rohit Shetty and Ajay Devgn bring back the Golmaal series.

There’s also Shankar and Rajinikanth’s mega-project 2.0; Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone with their third outing, Padmavati; and Ali Abbas Zafar and Salman Khan teaming up for Tiger Zinda Hai after their massive hit of 2016, Sultan.

Since this year, we will see 11 actor-director jodis who are box-office favorites, we asked trade insiders to name the combination they are most looking forward to and to explain why. Over to them:


tinku-singh-1Tinku Singh, Group President and Chief Strategy Officer (CSO), SRS Group

Though all the jodi’s are amazing, we vouch majorly for the combo of actor-director Ranveer singh and Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Ace filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali and his enthusiastic partner Ranveer Singh along with Deepika Padukone has always made headlines with their sparkling on-screen and off-screen chemistry. Their release Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram Leela, was a massive hit and audiences are eager to watch them perform again. Bajirao Mastani is Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s most gorgeous and delightful movie with Ranveer. They share a great equation and the result is a blockbuster. Now, they are reuniting for the third time for the movie Padmavati. Since the two share such a great equation on-screen the audience can’t wait them see cinematic magic again.

MR.Rahul Puri ,MD, Mukta A2 Cinemas

Rahul PuriThe success of any film is dependent on many factors like content, direction, actors etc. The chemistry between a director and actor has always been one of the factors in making a film successful, but it is not the only thing. There have been umpteen examples of such Jodi’s like Rohit Shetty-Ajay Devgan, Sanjay Leela Bhansali-Ranveer Singh, Shahrukh Khan-Yash Chopra or Shahrukh Khan-Karan Johar, Vishal Bharadwaj-Shahid Kapoor, Kabir Khan-Salman Khan, Amir Khan, to name a few. When a film of these pairs is expected to release it increases the expectations of people. In most cases these collaboration have always worked wonders both critically as well as at the box office. Looking forward to more films from these exemplary pairs in the year to come.



Thomas-Dsouza1-150x150Thomas D’Souza, Programming Head, PVR Cinemas

The excitement of a lead actor-actress jodi is perhaps matched or sometimes even rivalled by a director-lead actor pairing. This year, everyone is in attendance, and some with experimental films, whereas some are cementing their partnerships within genres. Each pair is attached to exciting as well as varied stories, so it is extremely difficult to pick favorites. Top of the mind is the Kabir Khan-Salman Khan combo with Tubelight, followed by SLB-Ranveer Singh, Shankar-Rajnikanth’s 2.0 and Rohit Shetty-Ajay Devgn.


Manish SinghManish Singh, CEO, Legend Studios

According to me, the director makes a great film and the actor-director bond forms during that process. Here, the director mounts the film and the actor makes all of us believe the in character. For me, Sanjay Leela Bhansali with Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh is the most promising pair, with Padmavati, because they have delivered hugely successful films that have succeeded in all departments whether music, costing, acting, dialogue or screenplay.

I am also very excited about Ranbir Kapoor and Anurag Basu, who lead unbelievable films with fantastic titles and have made people believe in them. They have worked very hard in the last few years to sustain the dignity of an actor-director duo. Ajay Devgn and Rohit Shetty, who are coming out with Golmaal 4, are super successful together. It is not easy to deliver so many commercial hits but this pair has. They proved themselves with Singham, which was not a comedy film and with the Golmaal franchise, which is comedy. On the other hand, when they don’t work together, they are not quite as successful. This is a real jodi.


vinay-choskeyVinay Choksey, VIP Enterprises, Mumbai

The Shankar-Rajinikanth pairing in the film 2.0 is the most promising this year. They have both delivered films like Shivaji and Enthiran. But the actor-director combination most loved by the audience is Salman Khan and Kabir Khan (upcoming Tubelight) and Rohit Shetty and Ajay Devgn (upcoming Golmaal 4).


b-h-bashaBH Basha, Bahar Enterprises, Mysore

According to me, Vishal Bhardwaj and Shahid Kapoor will create magic at the box office once again, with Rangoon. They have proved that to succeed, one doesn’t always need an out-an-out commercial film. Their films have great content perfectly married with appealing visuals. Also, Sanjay Leela Bhansali with Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh have emerged as a brilliant duo in the recent past. So, Padmavati will feature on the hit list. Lastly, Ram Gopal Verma and Amitabh Bachchan are back together for the Sarkar franchise after almost 9 years, with the release of the second installment.


sunil-bansalSunil Bansal, Yash Raj Jai Pictures, Rajasthan

I think Kabir Khan and Salman Khan, who are coming back together with Tubelight, will be one of the most successful duos this year. The same applies to Rohit Shetty and Ajay Devgn, when it comes to delivering fabulous box-office numbers. Even Ali Abbas Zafar and Salman Khan are among the hottest duos, after the success of Sultan. They will be back with a sequel to Ek Tha Tiger, and nothing could be better. So the probability of many films hitting the jackpot this year is very high.


ram-suryavanshiRam Suryavanshi, MD, Cinemarc

Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Ranveer Singh is one combination I am looking forward to most. The films they have made are not only visually spectacular but have great content, not to mention Deepika Padukone, who has been a part of these films as well. Her magic works well for this duo.

Ali Abbas Zafar and Salman Khan will be working on the sequel to Ek Tha Tiger, titled Tiger Zinda Hai, and this is much-awaited after their massive hit Sultan. I am personally looking forward to Imtiaz Ali and Shah Rukh Khan working together for the first time. I believe this pairing will give all the others a run for their money at the box office.


manish-talwarManish Talwar, Owner, IP

Kabir Khan-Salman Khan, Shankar-Rajinikanth, Ram Gopal Varma-Amitabh Bachchan and Sanjay Leela Bhansali-Ranveer Singh. So, according to me, Tubelight, 2.0, Sarkar 3 and Padmavati will do great business this year. There are high expectations from most of the duos that are working together this year as their previous run at the box office was very successful.


Satyadeep-SSR-e1483718854951Satadeep Saha, Owner, SSR

I think the Kabir Khan-Salman Khan pairing will be the best this year, as well as father-son duo, David Dhawan and Varun Dhawan, that too for a film like the Judwaa sequel. Obviously, during Diwali, it will be Shankar and Rajinikanth sir’s 2.0. This year’s dark horse will be the Ram Gopal Varma and Amitabh Bachchan-starrer Sarkar 3.  Sanjay Leela Bhansali with Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh will also work wonders at the box office. Overall, 2017 promises to be a year with a lot of blockbusters.

sanjeev-viraSanjeev Vira, Proprietor, Sm5 Cinemas

The Kabir Khan and Salman Khan combination for Tubelight is a much-awaited film this year as they have delivered superhit films like Bajrangi Bhaijan and Ek Tha Tiger. Rohit Shetty-Ajay Devgn and Sanjay Leela Bhansali-Ranveer Singh are also a very promising pairing. As Golmaal 4 is an instalment in the Golmaal franchise, Rohit Shetty and Ajay Devgn deliver their best work when they team up. Also, I want to see Sanjay Leela Bhansali with Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh together again in Padmavati this year, the best combination of director and actor.


vinay-jainVinay Jain, Director, EOS Cinemas

Salman Khan and Kabir Khan have together delivered  monumental hits in Ek Tha Tiger and Bajrangi Bhaijaan and expectations from this deadly combo are colossal. I hope Tubelight exceeds both their earlier offerings. Definitely all box-office records will be in danger again this Eid.


prashant-solankiPrashant Solanki, Owner, Cinepark

Two of the most promising actor-director jodis of 2017 are Ranveer Singh and Sanjay Leela Bhanslai, and Salman Khan and Ali Abbas Zafar. Ajay Devgn and Rohit Shetty have succeeded with the Golmaal series in the past but I am not sure if they will be releasing on Diwali or not. The Diwali period has contributed hugely to the Golmaal series. Having said that. we are really looking forward to Rohit Shetty reuniting with Ajay Devgn as the duo never fails to bring fruitful results at the box office.

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