'Dostana 2': Pay hike demand started Kartik Aaryan, KJo fallout?
Kartik Aaryan's sudden ouster from Dostana 2 and Karan Johar's Dharma Productions vowing to never work with him easily qualify to enter the book of the biggest Bollywood fallouts. While neither of them gave a solid reason, previous reports had suggested Aaryan's unprofessionalism to be the reason. But now, a portal reveals that Aaryan demanding a pay rise might have sparked tension between them.
Quoting an insider, Bollywood Hungama reported that Aaryan had signed Dostana 2 in 2019, when his fee was Rs. 2-3cr. But within the last two years, Aaryan's market value escalated sharply, and his fee now stands at around Rs. 10cr. Since the shooting of the film started recently, the actor demanded he be paid his current rate. Reportedly, this took Johar by surprise.
Despite the shock, the Dharma honcho apparently understood where Aaryan was coming from, and promised him a second movie, Mr. Lele, as compensation. "Kartik also agreed to come on board the said film and was all charged up for a quirky ride. But to his surprise, he found himself replaced all of a sudden by Vicky Kaushal without being notified," the insider added.
Aaryan was reportedly upset when the studio did not approach him for Shashank Khaitan's Yoddha, which later went to Shahid Kapoor. To compensate, Johar offered the actor a Sharan Sharma-directed cricket drama. To avoid a Mr. Lele repeat, Aaryan apparently asked Dharma to sign a contract with him first. "Kartik was clear he wouldn't shoot for Dostana 2 till he signed Sharan's next."
However, Johar felt there was a "total lack of trust and couldn't commit to the film until the script and screenplay were locked." Keeping Dostana 2 in limbo, he instead decided to start Mr. Lele with Vicky Kaushal and Janhvi Kapoor from April. Upon knowing this, Aaryan stated that his shooting diary has free dates starting from April, effectively upsetting Johar beyond repair.
"Johar felt it was unprofessional on Aaryan's end to arm-twist...[while Aaryan] felt he was horribly underpaid...as he was definitely the biggest selling point of the film and Karan was not keeping up his promise of a second film," an insider said.
While the real reason behind the controversy still remains a mystery, Aaryan made his comeback on social media last week. In what was his first post since the fallout news broke, the actor asked for medical help for a friend on Twitter. Also, he uploaded a dashing selfie on Instagram, urging fans to don masks. Separately, Dharma is on the lookout for Aaryan's replacement.