Ever since we heard the name of Kaalakaandi, we’ve associated only Saif Ali Khan with the film. All we’ve known is the film is a dark comedy based in Mumbai, and that it is Saif starring in it. However, as it turns out, Saif was never the first choice for the dark comedy. As revealed by the film’s writer and director Akshat Verma, when the film earlier belonged to UTV Movies, they were in talks with Fawad Khan to star in Saif’s role.

“Fawad was supposed to be one of the actors we talked to when the project was with UTV. It was around 2013… He was going to play the role Saif plays. But ultimately everything happens for a reason and for the best. No one could have done the role better than Saif,” Akshat tells PTI. Kaalakandi, which tells the story of the lives of six complete strangers that intersect within 12 hours’ time. Akshat believes his “instinct for Saif was right” as he had written the character itself keeping him in mind. However, Fawad, who last starred in Kapoor & Sons and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil performed with aplomb in the films. And with all due respect to Saif’s portrayal, wouldn’t Fawad have been great as well? ALSO READ: FCAT Passes Saif Ali Khan’s Kaalakandi With Just 1 Cut From 72, Film Also Receives A U/A Certificate

“When I first messaged Saif, I didn’t get a reply from him. When I finally met him, it was almost two years to the date I had texted him, and I still have the message saved. This time, he had read the script because Ashi (Dua, one of the producers) had sent it to him. He said ‘ok we are on’ in five minutes. So the time period was, on one hand two years and on the other, just five minutes to get Saif,” added the director.

Kaalakaandi also stars Deepak Dobriyal, Vijay Raz, Kunal Roy Kapoor, Sobhita Dhulipala, Akshay Oberoi, Isha Talwar, Shenaz Treasury, Shivam Patil, Amyra Dastur and Neil Bhoopalam.  After acquiring a U/A certificate, the film is now slated for a release on January 12.