“I Told Him Sorry…”: Director Sriram Raghavan opens up about rejecting Saif Ali Khan, casting Vijay Sethupathi in Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas director Sriram Raghavan has disclosed that Bollywood superstar Saif Ali Khan was upset after being dropped from the former’s directorial venture. Set to be released in 2024, Merry Christmas is a romantic thriller film.

Raghavan, known for films like Andhadhun, Badlapur and Agent Vinod, among others, recently told Pinkvilla about rejecting Khan and picking acclaimed actor Vijay Sethupathi.

The 60-year-old filmmaker admitted that he sought a distinct and unique pairing due to the specific demands of the story. “One should not get any baggage from either of them that what are these people about and so on,” the director said.

Merry Christmas also has Katrina Kaif as the other lead.

Following the director’s decision to cast Kaif in the lead role, he approached Saif Ali Khan for the male lead but eventually concluded that he wasn’t the right fit for the part. “I had met another actor who had liked the role also. Then I told him sorry I want to… because he had worked with her before.”

For the unversed, Saif Ali Khan and Katrina Kaif have worked together in the past in Race (2008) and Phantom (2015).

Raghavan also revealed that Khan was evidently upset. “He was actually a little upset later when I told him no. At that time, I had not cast Vijay [Sethupathi]. I was just saying, I want something fresh. I don’t know what I’m looking for.”

In the past, Raghavan and Khan had collaborated on Ek Hasina Thi (2004) and Agent Vinod (2012).

Merry Christmas is set to release in cinemas on January 12, 2023.

(The article is published under a mutual content partnership arrangement between The Free Press Journal and Connected to India)