Sanjay and Ghai return with Khalnayak

Subhash Ghai announces that he is reworking his 1993-action thriller, Khalnayak. "It won't exactly be a remake but an adaptation to suit today's audience," he asserted, rubbishing rumours that John Abraham will play Sanjay Dutt's character Ballu Balaram.

October 11, 2014: Mirror learns that Sanjay Leela Bhansali has approached Ghai with an offer to remake the film, a collaboration between his production house and Ghai's banner Mukta Arts. SLB denies this even after Ranveer Singh (Mirror, December 24) says he was waiting for the director to call him for Khalnayak. "I'm ready, after Bajirao Mastani I think I've earned it," he asserted.

July 8, 2016: Subhash Ghai informs that he has joined hands with Sanjay Dutt to produce Khalnayak Returns and the 56-year-old actor will be reviving his iconic character in the sequel.

"We have made an agreement to produce Khalnayak Returns, which will roll by the year end or early next year. I'd met Sanjay when he was out on parole and discussed the idea with him. He made a soundtrack with some voiceover in the background which I'd loved," said Subhash adding that he wants to make an intelligent sequel like that of The Godfather, which today's viewers can connect with.

Khalnayak revolves around the capture of dreaded gangster, Ballu Balaram, by inspector Ram (Jackie Shroff). However, he escapes from jail and Ram's cop girlfriend, Ganga (Madhuri Dixit), goes undercover to reel him in. But then she lets him go and is arrested for aiding a criminal and accused of being in a relationship with him. As she stands trial, Ballu surrenders and swears that Ganga is still pure.

Khalnayak released on May 26, 1993. In April, Sanjay was arrested under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act. The sixminute song, "Choli ke peechhe kya hai", also created a storm over its lyrics. The two controversies ensured plenty of prerelease publicity for the film, which went on to become a box-office hit.

Prod Ghai on the sequel and he reveals that it will take off with Ballu coming out of the jail after 20 years to find himself in a completely different world. Circumstances take him back to the world of crime. "It'll be a multi-starrer with many new characters incorporated. You never know, Ballu might find another khalnayak among them," the 73-year-old filmmaker said.

He will hand over the reins to a younger director but will be creatively involved in the music, characterisation and will conduct a workshop for the actors. Will we get to hear the earlier chartbusters like "Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai" and "Nayak Nahi Khalnayak Hoon Main"? Ghai says the title track will be retained but they are yet to take a call on "Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai."

He dismisses the buzz that Jackie's son Tiger has been roped in for the sequel. "We haven't signed anyone as yet; we're waiting to complete the script first. There is a lot of excitement around the film, we'll announce further developments at the right time," he signed off.