Akshay Kumar revives sequels to Hera Pheri and Welcome franchises

Akshay Kumar is helping to revive his franchises’ third films, Hera Pheri 3 and Welcome to the Jungle. Photo: Publicity Photo / Dabboo Ratnani

Showbiz is always replete with rumors and rejoinders, and very often, when something controversial happens, the truth is never known, or comes out as completely different.

The same was the case with the Hera Pheri (2000) franchise, whose sequel, Phir Hera Pheri, directed by Neeraj Vora, the writer of the first film, was released in 2006.

For the longest time, Hera Pheri 3 was being planned, and was even announced twice. One version had a change of cast, but nothing came of it. Then another was being planned with the original trio of Akshay Kumar, Suniel Shetty and Paresh Rawal, but Neeraj passed away.

And in late 2022, we came to know that Kartik Aaryan would replace Akshay. However, Paresh Rawal, who played the iconic Baburao in both films, clarified that Kartik was playing a “different role with a new energy and perspective.”

Similarly, Welcome Back (2015), the sequel to Akshay’s Welcome (2007), was made with John Abraham in place of Akshay.

Reports the bollywoodhungama.com portal now, “After all the ups and downs, Akshay Kumar is finally committed to act in Hera Pheri 3 and Welcome to the Jungle, the third parts of cult comedy franchises produced by (common producer)Firoz Nadiadwala. While Welcome’s next, with a star-studded ensemble, launches soon, Hera Pheri 3 will go on floors in 2024.

The portal reports that according to a source close to the development, Akshay Kumar has gone out of the way to bring both the cult comedies to life.

Akshay has signed a profit-sharing deal with Firoz Nadiadwala after realizing the reactions of fans and the media to the new Akshay-less movies in their beloved franchises. “He decided to sort out all the differences with Firoz Nadiadwala, and thereby return to the franchise. He has done it for all his fans, who wanted to see him (back) as Raju (in Hera Pheri) and Rajiv (in Welcome),” said the source.

According to this report, Akshay knew that Firoz Nadiadwala was not in the best of financial conditions, but was very well aware that the basic idea of Welcome 3 and Hera Pheri 3 had potential to emerge as humongous blockbusters. “To start with, Akshay first decided to completely sacrifice his fees, and entered into a profit-sharing model with Firoz Nadiadwala on entire revenue. Firoz wanted to retain the IP, and hence he has complete control over the IP, however, he will be sharing revenue with Akshay in a pre-decided ratio,” the source revealed.

After this, Akshay sat down with Firoz to carve out an exit plan by getting a studio on board. He personally spoke to Jio Studios and got them on board to partner with Firoz Nadiadwala. Once Jio came on board, Firoz got out of his debts and the franchises were revived. Akshay will now be getting his share of profit from Jio, without any risk of the films getting shelved.

As a token of appreciation for Akshay going out of the way, Firoz has reportedly given him two checks of Rs. 9 crore each as a token amount.

But, meanwhile, Welcome writer-director Anees Bazmee¸ who has claimed that he yet has to receive his dues for Welcome Back, has opined that the new film, minus Nana Patekar and Anil Kapoor, will never be the same, as the franchise and these actors are inseparable for fans. And Nana Patekar, speaking at the trailer launch of The Vaccine War, wryly stated that maybe the producers felt that he had now become purana (outdated or aged).




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