On Sunday Zayed was unable to attend a huge musical concert in Dehradun by the film's producers Popcorn Entertainment. Only producer Suniel Shetty, director Apoorva Lakhia and actor Nikiten Dheer (who plays the main antagonist) along with the musicians were present. Neither of the two protagonists Vivek Oberoi or Zayed Khan could attend.
While Vivek is shooting in South Africa for a Tips film, Zayed, though in the country and extremely desirous of promoting what he considers to be his most important film so far, was committed to shoot for Subhash Ghai.
And there's no way the Showman will allow his leading man to take time off from the shooting schedules when the film has already suffered innumerable delays. Says a source close to both the projects, "After the film got delayed Zayed's dates for Mission Istaanbul were obtained because of Salman Khan. In-between for whatever reason, Salman stopped shooting for Yuvraaj. So there were chunks of Zayed's unused dates which the makers of Mission Istaanbul used. If Salman hadn't shuffled around his dates for Yuvraaj, God knows what Zayed would've done. So basically, Zayed shot Mission Istaanbul on the time that Salman created."
But now Subhash Ghai, harassed by the delay in his opus's completion is in no mood to slacken the last lap of the shooting for any reason. Says Suniel, "We were aware Zayed couldn't join us in Dehradun. So his non-presence was no shock to anyone. Of course we'd have liked him to be with us. But he was needed for Subhashji's shooting. So we had no choice."
Ironically, Suniel intends to promote Mission Istaanbul in a big way in traditionally neglected promotional areas like Uttaranchal. And these are places where the stars provide face value. "Normally areas like Uttaranchal and Bihar aren't seen as being important for a film's promotion. But I feel we need to push our cinema in the non-metropolitan centres specially an action film like Mission Istaanbul."
Sadly, it will have to be done without either of the film's leading men.