Mahesh Bhatt apologises for ‘Aashiqui 2’ casting ‘sham’

The veteran filmmaker is disappointed that his idea of casting actors for his forthcoming film through a YouTube audition contest didn’t work out the way he wanted

Mahesh Bhatt’s Vishesh Films has become almost a sequel factory, and a successful one at that. The Bhatts recently announced a part deux to their ’90s superhit musical, Aashiqui. Rumours about who will replace Rahul Roy and Anu Aggarwal in Aashiqui 2 had begun making waves, when the makers announced an online contest in which aspiring actors could upload their audition clips on YouTube. The announcement caused a great deal of excitement in the clique of young actors who dreamed of being launched by a prestigious production house.

Their collective happiness was curtailed when the Bhatts announced that they had cast Aditya Roy Kapur, Shaad Randhawa and Shraddha Kapoor in the leading roles for the sequel. The makers of Aashiqui 2 had to take the flak for the ‘casting sham’, that was labelled a PR gimmick. When Bhatt Sr was confronted, he said, “We apologise to those who participated in the contest, but it was definitely not a PR stunt. We genuinely wanted to cast a fresh face, but the entries that we saw were not up to our standards. We wanted to cast people from Fiji or America in Aashiqui 2. Sadly, the response was anything but inspiring. It seems that people are afraid of public rejection, some cynical actors didn’t bother to audition, and some were just not talented enough. We are especially sorry for those who had to borrow money to shoot their videos.”

Wethinks it is honourable of the veteran filmmaker to apologise in public. Now we wait to find out if the Bhatts manage to recreate the magic of the original musical with the new actors they have chosen.