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Well <i>Don</i>e, Akshay!

By: Upala KBR, Mid-Day
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Farhan Akhtar's Don and Sajid Nadiadwala's Jaan-E-Mann were pitted against each other as the big draws of the Diwali season.

Both camps (i.e. Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan) were trying to outdo each other by trying to get the better theatres, better coverage and better publicity for their respective films.

Warm gesture

In fact, trade pundits predicted that the audience would be equally split between the two Khans, as this was the first time in 15 years that the two box office kings would have a release on the same day. Akshay Kumar, the other hero of Jaan-E-Mann, was forgotten in the Khan-drama. But Kumar's performance in the film touched SRK so much that he sought his number out and called Akshay in Dubai, where he was shooting for Feroze Nadiadwala's Welcome.

On Wednesday night, Shah Rukh saw Jaan-E-Mann at a special screening organised by Farah Khan and was blown away by Akki's performance.

Khan's gesture means a lot, considering that he's not even friendly with Akshay. They don't hang in the same cliques or have common friends. The two actors haven't even met socially as Akshay isn't the partying type, and they haven't worked together since Dil To Paagal Hai (1997).

'Film of the year'

So Akshay was pleasantly surprised to receive a call from King Khan praising him for his sterling performance. When we quizzed Akshay about it, he was surprised to know that we'd discovered the news.

"It was extremely wonderful of Shah Rukh to call. We chatted for a bit and he told me how much he liked the film and the performances. It was a really warm gesture on his part. I have immense respect for him, both as a person and as an actor, and after this gesture that has increased. It is always nice to get feedback, and when it comes from your peers, it's even better. And what better than a compliment from SRK."

Sajid Nadiadwala says he's aware of the 'other' camp liking his film and said, "Akshay told me that Shah Rukh had called him in Dubai and told him that he liked Jaan-E-Mann. It's the first time after many years that they have spoken to each other. After watching the film, Shah Rukh told me that Jaan-E-Mann was a very beautiful film.

He even said that it's the film of the year. For me, that is huge praise. What floored me was when Amitji (Amitabh Bachchan) told me, 'Good that you are giving a chance to new talent and letting them perform. I like the film very much.' Both Shah Rukh and Amitji's compliments meant a lot to me."

Last week, Salman was seen praising Don as a "rocking film" and asked audiences to go see it while Shah Rukh had reciprocated the gesture in his TV interviews. After SRK's warm gesture towards Akshay, it seems that competition between heroes no longer exists and it's all about "hum sab bhai-bhai hain".

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