PeepingMoon Exclusive: Shashank Khaitan to helm Karan Johar’s debut film for Shanaya Kapoor, Gurfateh Singh Pirzada and Lakshya


There’s been a big and exciting development at Dharma Productions. Karan Johar has passed on the directorial baton for Shanaya Kapoor’s launch film to his trusted filmmaker Shashank Khaitan. It is a young franchise film that’s going to be very massively mounted. And with Shanaya, exclusively learned that KJo will also launch Gurfateh Singh Pirzada and Lakshya in this film.

KJo announced the ambitious launchpad for Sanjay Kapoor and Maheep Kapoor’s daughter in March with the plan to take it on floors by July. However, the film was delayed after the second Covid wave swept the country and put Bollywood on the back foot again. With normalcy returning and shootings resuming in full swing, the Dharma Productions venture is all geared up to get off the ground. And breaking news is that Khaitan will helm it with Shanaya, Gurfateh and Lakshya in the leads.

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Khaitan had also directed Shanaya’s cousin Janhvi Kapoor’s debut film Dhadak for Dharma Productions. This new film is a light-hearted, urban triangle love story and will see Shanaya pairing up with Guilty actor Gurfateh Pirzada and newbie Lakshya Lalwani who was earlier supposed to make his debut with KJo’s now-deferred Dostana 2 co-starring Janhvi Kapoor.

The three actors are said to have attended several acting workshops over the last seven months and will kick off the shooting in December in Mumbai. The film has apparently gone through a major change in the last few months. Sources have said that the rom-com was earlier supposed to be directed by Paras Chakravarti while Khaitan was attached just as a producer. Now, Khaitan has taken over the project and will soon dive into its preparation.

Chakravarti’s replacement is believed to have been an amicable and mutual decision. Sources said that KJo wanted an experienced director to launch Shanaya and asked Khaitan to helm it considering he was also involved with the creative aspects of the film and had successfully launched Janhvi and Ishaan Khatter in 2018 with Dhadak.

Meanwhile, Khaitan has completed his yet-untitled commercial entertainer starring Vicky Kaushal, Kiara Advani and Bhoomi Pednekar. It’s the same film that was earlier planned with Varun Dhawan, Janhvi Kapoor and Bhumi Pednekar with the title Mr. Lele before it was indefinitely put on the backburner over script issues. It was revived with Vicky early this year and has been majorly shot in Mumbai. Khaitan is expected to head to foreign shores soon to do a recce for Shanaya's film.

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