Here's How Arjun Kapoor replaced Akshay Kumar in Namaste England
Barring the Salman Khan-Ajay Devgn starrer London Dreams (2009), Vipul Amrutlal Shah has always collaborated with Akshay Kumar for his directorial ventures.
Naturally then, eyebrows were raised when he roped in Arjun Kapoor for Namaste England. More so, since the prequel - Namastey London (2007) - featured the superstar and was a runaway hit.
The filmmaker reveals it was Kumar's idea to take the franchise ahead.
"Akshay came up with the story of Namaste England. I had planned to make it with him. However, things did not work out due to his busy date diary. In fact, it was Akshay who suggested that I roll the film with someone else," recalls Shah.
It was then that he considered roping in an actor from the younger crop. "When I approached Arjun, I told him at the outset that the film had been conceived for Akshay. But he loved the subject and agreed to come on board."
Given their long-standing friendship, it was not surprising that Kumar even gave away the title - that was registered with his production house - to the filmmaker for the Parineeti Chopra starrer.
Shah says he has no patience for rumours that suggest a fallout between the duo.
"My relation with Akshay and Amitji [Bachchan] goes beyond work. They were part of my Hindi debut film [Aankhen], so there is an emotional connect. Just because Akshay did not do my film does not mean we have fought." He pooh-poohs the buzz by citing an example. "A few days ago, we were doing a photo shoot at Mehboob Studios. Akshay was also at the studio, shooting for an ad. We both met each other warmly; Akshay even insisted on taking pictures with Arjun and Parineeti."