Not Shahid Kapoor, but Oscar-nominee Riz Ahmed was the first choice to play Tommy Singh in Udta Punjab – Eagles Vine

If team ‘Udta Punjab’ had their way, they would have had Oscar nominee Riz Ahmed playing the role of Tommy Singh in the hugely successful film.

About 5 years after the film’s release, Screenwriter Sudip Sharma didn’t just reveal that Shahid Kapoor was not the first choice for the film, but even went as far as saying that the team didn’t even think of a Bollywood actor for the part.

In a recent interview, the screenwriter said that the makers ‘dabbled’ with the idea of casting Riz Ahmed as the male lead for the film. Wanting to stay true to the character’s roots in London, the team thought it would be best to cast a British actor of South Asian descent.

According to the report, it was Ahmed’s role in ‘Nightcrawler’ that impressed the writer who then called director Abhishek Chaubey to watch Ahmed’s performance in the film.

‘Udta Punjab’ featured an ensemble cast comprising of Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Diljit Dosanjh.

Riz, who was last seen in the critically acclaimed film, ‘Sound of Metal’ earned his first Oscar nomination this year for his stellar performance. Ahmed also became the first Muslim to be nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role in the history of the Academy Awards.


The Times of India

The Times of India is an Indian English-language daily newspaper and digital news media owned and managed by The Times Group. According to Audit Bureau of Circulations, it is ranked 9th in the world by circulation and 3rd in India.

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