No more speculation, Shah Rukh Khan has indeed opted out of Saare Jahaan Se Achcha

Writer Anjum Rajabali had earlier dismissed it as fake news, but it can now be confirmed that the superstar Shah Rukh Khan is not doing Saare Jahaan Se Achcha, the biopic on the first Indian astronaut to go to space, Rakesh Sharma. Saare Jahaan Se Achcha is co-produced by Roy Kapur Films and RSVP. 

A reliable source close to the film confirmed that the Zero (2018) actor is no longer doing the film. “Shah Rukh Khan had agreed in principle to do the film. However, he had never signed the film. There was never any announcement by the producers, barring that they are looking to cast an A-list star,” said the source.

In 2018, Roy Kapur Films had announced a host of films, including Saare Jahan Se Achcha, the release had merely mentioned that the producers were eyeing an A-list star. 

The source added, “Earlier, the producers were looking at star power, but the said star decided not to be on board; now the producers will look at an actor who fits the bill in terms of age, and acting talent. Rakesh Sharma was in his 30s when he went to space. So, the makers are looking at a 30 plus actor. Media reports are speculating on various names, but at the moment, the film is not likely to start any time soon. Not having a star, works better for the script. I think in 2020, the Indian government is going to be sending its first manned spacecraft, and this movie will be released in 2020, so it bodes well for whoever is going to play Rakesh Sharma.”

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With Shah Rukh Khan out, there has been speculation over whom the producers will cast in the lead role. Names like Sushant Singh Rajput, Rajkummar Rao have been going around in media circles and social media, but they are speculations for now.

Though neither Shah Rukh Khan nor his camp has spoken on the matter, it is perceived that the failure of Khan’s last film Zero (2018) has led to the actor choosing not to be part of another space film. In the Aanand L Rai film, Khan had played the dwarf Bauua Singh, who offers to go to space in order to get a star for his lover Aafiya (Anushka Sharma), whom he hurts. 

Speaking of hurt, it appears producer Ronnie Screwvala has been disappointed by Khan’s decision to opt out of Saare Jahaan Se Achcha. His latest tweet appeared to hint at the same, and aimed a veiled dig at Khan. 

“Most times the difference between Success and Failure is not a better Idea or ability but the courage to BET on the idea, PRE PLAN to perfection, take the calculated RISK and then STICK WITH IT,” tweeted Screwvala. 

Saare Jahaan Se Achcha was earlier slated to go on floors in February, but the film has now been pushed further. Before Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan had first agreed to do the film, but the superstar then opted out. Back then, it was rumoured that Aamir had creative differences but writer Anjum Rajabali had flatly refused these rumours.

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Interestingly, Aamir was also linked with the epic Mahabharata, to be produced by Mukesh Ambani’s upcoming content production venture, but the actor has taken up the Gulshan Kumar biopic first.

With Shah Rukh Khan no longer doing Saare Jahaan Se Achcha, the actor has been strongly linked with Don 3. At the trailer launch of Gully Boy, Farhan Akhtar,  producer, director of Don 3, had hinted that soon they are going to make a big announcement. It does appear that Akhtar and Khan could make an official announcement on Don 3.

Written by Anjum Rajabali, Saare Jahaan Se Achcha is to be directed by Mahesh Mathai, who had earlier directed Bhopal Express (1999). 

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