The Devotion Of Suspect X: Kareena Kapoor’s husband Saif Ali Khan and Kangana Ranaut were supposed to play the leads; Drishyam was considered to be an unofficial remake of the Japanese bestseller
Written by Swaati on March 17, 2022
Yesterday, film lovers woke up to the big news that Kareena Kapoor Khan has bagged a Netflix film, to be directed by Kahaani (2012) and Badla (2019) director Sujoy Ghosh. It is based on Japanese author Keigo Higashino’s book, The Devotion Of Suspect X. Besides Kareena, Jaideep Ahlawat and Vijay Verma also star in this film, which is going to be a thriller. Interestingly, Sujoy Ghosh has been trying to make this film for almost 9 years. Interestingly, at one point, Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor Khan’s husband, was finalized to play one of the leads.
As per the original casting, Saif Ali Khan was supposed to play one of the leads – a mathematics professor – in the film adaptation of The Devotion Of Suspect X. The novel tells the story of a man who goes to extreme lengths to cover up a murder committed by his neighbour and her daughter. Vidya Balan and Katrina Kaif’s names were reported by the media after which it was being said that Jacqueline Fernandez might be finalized. Afterwards, Kangana Ranaut was a serious contender for the female lead. In an interview with a tabloid in February 2015, she had confirmed on record that she’s considering the project.
Meanwhile, Vidyut Jammwal was in advanced talks for the second male lead. But in March 2015, he said that he has declined the part because “while it did sound interesting, it wasn’t a genre I saw myself in, to be honest.”
In April 2015, there were reports that Saif Ali Khan, Kangana Ranaut and Nawazuddin Siddiqui might be the star cast in the film. But Kangana, too, decided to not sign on the dotted line due to certain reasons. She, however, made it clear that she had never bagged a part in the film, “I’m not sure if I can walk out of a project I am not committed to. I haven’t signed a contract and there’s no commitment made from my side.”
Around May 2015, there was a story that Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is now in talks. In fact, the actress confirmed she was doing a movie with Sujoy during Cannes Film Festival that year, though she didn’t name the film. It would have been a casting coup as both Saif Ali Khan and Aishwarya had never been paired before. While the casting woes were being reported frequently at that point, murmurs also began at that point that Sujoy Ghosh asked producer Ekta Kapoor to double the budget, which was supposed to be Rs. 20 crore. Sujoy, however, had vehemently denied any such development. After a while, it was said that The Devotion Of Suspect X has been indefinitely pushed to next year.
One of the reasons behind this postponement was also because Drishyam was released in cinemas on July 31, 2015. Reportedly, the Ajay Devgn-starrer, which was the remake of the 2013 Malayalam film starring Mohanlal has several similarities with The Devotion Of Suspect X. Interestingly, Ekta Kapoor had bought the rights of the Japanese bestseller in October 2013 and Drishyam’s original version hit the cinemas the same year in December. The original film turned out to be such a cult film that its remake rights were soon sold in various languages.
In 2014, the legal teal of Balaji Motion Picture sent out a caution notice which meant that any production house planning a film whose plot is similar to The Devotion of Suspect X, will invite a case of alleged copyright infringement. Tanuj Garg, the then CEO of Balaji Motion Pictures had said, “As the remake rights of the book The Devotion of Suspect X have been officially licensed by us, we are already evaluating legal options. Numerous reports are pointing to similarities between the novel and the Malayalam film. We have also issued a caution notice to this effect to sound off the industry.”
Drishyam ultimately was remade in Hindi and became a huge hit. A month after the release of the Ajay Devgn starrer, when Saif Ali Khan was asked about it, he had stated, “I have a feeling that if we had done that, we should have done it before Drishyam came out. The story is very similar to Drishyam.” But when asked if The Devotion Of Suspect X is shelved, he clarified that “I don’t know and nobody has told me about it.”
Sujoy Ghosh then got busy with Kahaani 2, which was released in 2016 followed by Badla. The Devotion Of Suspect X, which was in the news for more than a year, became a distant memory.