Biopic on Rakesh Sharma hangs in ‘space’ with Aamir’s exit


The grapevine got it all wrong! Aamir Khan is not going to be doing Salute after all. This is the biopic on cosmonaut Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian to fly into space, which Aamir was to star in and co-produce with Siddharth Roy Kapur. Salute was one of the big films the actor reportedly planned for 2018 after the success of Dangal. News of Aamir’s collaboration with Siddharth Roy Kapur on this, his second biopic after Dangal, made big news in June.

The film was initially supposed to be titled Saare Jahaan Se Accha – which was Rakesh Sharma’s response to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi when she asked him in April 1984 how India looked from outer space. He was aboard the Soyuz T-11 as part of an Intercosmos programme. But the title got changed to Salute when Aamir came on board. The film was to be the first made under Siddharth Roy Kapur’s newly launched banner RK Films and was to be directed by Mahesh Mathai.

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Now, without any warning, and apparently without any reason, Peeping has learned that Aamir will not be doing Salute. And his role has apparently been offered to Ranbir Kapoor and Ranveer Singh. But there is no confirmation coming from any quarter about this startling information. And if Ranbir or Ranveer are keen on taking up the cosmonaut’s role. When Aamir was on board, the buzz was that Priyanka Chopra would play his wife.

The news excited Bollywood trade sources no end because this would be the first pairing of the two actors. Priyanka, incidentally, was also said to in talks earlier to star in another space biopic, this one being on the Indian-American astronaut Kalpana Chawla who died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster of February 2003. There was also speculation that Fatima Sana Shaikh, who acted with Aamir in Dangal and is currently shooting with him for Thugs of Hindostan, might be playing his wife in Salute.