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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Yuvraj Singh edges out Akshay Kumar

The cricketer replaces the superstar in the Punjabi version of Jumbo.

Though a Punjabi himself, Akshay Kumar will surprisingly not be associated with the Punjabi version of his forthcoming big-budget animation film Jumbo. In a signing coup of sorts, cricketer Yuvraj Singh has been roped in by the film-makers to be the voice that Akshay had provided in the Hindi movie.

It is believed that Yuvraj’s recent performances against England, his unforgettable on-field feats — including his six sixes in one over in the inaugural T20 world tourney — and his enormous popularity among cricket aficionados were the deciding factors behind signing Yuvraj and dropping Akshay. Yuvraj also enjoys an enviable fan following in North India and among people of different age groups across the country.
Incidentally, the dropped Akshay has been enjoying a great run at the box-office.

“Yuvraj has been signed to do the voice-over in the Punjabi version of Jumbo and will lend his voice for the same character whose voice Akshay Kumar had been in the Hindi version. Akshay is not a part of the Punjabi version. Yuvraj is the star of that,” says Shailendra Singh, head honcho, Percept Picture Company.

He adds: “It is a very strategic move. Though given Akshay’s box-office run and the fact that he can speak excellent Punjabi since he is a Punjabi, it was tough to take the decision to drop him. But this is purely a business move; don’t read anything between the lines.”

Shailendra adds, “Yuvraj is very popular in North India and having him is a boon for the film. He is excited about doing something that Akshay has done earlier. With this move we intend to give Indian cricket lovers - who love Yuvraj’s style and his powerful performances — a chance to watch him on a different pitch altogether. We are trying to draw a large section of cricket fans to the theatres.”

This move could have interesting connotations as Yuvraj had earlier been a part of Percept’s talent pool but things had reportedly gone sour between the two and Yuvraj signed up with another company. Will he return to Percept’s fold? “I diplomatically say that this deal (doing the film) is only a professional agreement between Yuvi and us. We have been very good friends for along time and we are happy he has agreed to do the film. Other deals may follow,” Shailendra ends.

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