Recently announced film “Rannbhoomi” is the third collaboration between Karan Johar (right), director-writer Shashank Khaitan (center), and actor Varun Dhawan (left). Dhawan plays a warrior in the period war-love drama. (Karan Johar/Twitter photo)

MUMBAI—A Mumbai tabloid has speculated that “Rannbhoomi,” announced as the third collaboration between Karan Johar, director-writer Shashank Khaitan, and Varun Dhawan, is a smart rework of Johar’s pet project “Shuddhi” that was announced in different avatars but shelved each time.

Khaitan, who has directed Dhawan in two Johar productions, “Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania” (2014) and “Badrinath Ki Dulhania” (2017) and is doing Johar’s remake of the Marathi “Sairat,” has reportedly reworked the “Shuddhi” script to suit Dhawan, who plays a warrior.

Johar and Karan “Agneepath” Malhotra, who was the original director, had announced this film many times. In 2013, it was announced with Hrithik Roshan and Kareena Kapoor Khan. Roshan could not do the film because he developed a severe health issue and Khan quit.

Sometime later, the same film was announced with Salman Khan in the lead. But Khan quit the film soon, because of creative differences. Then came a passing announcement with Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt after “Humpty…”’s success.

It is said that Johar was not only attached to the film’s story and felt it would work big-time but also that “Shuddhi” was an ill-omen as a title. The budget too has been reworked to a more realistic level.

As for the Khan-Johar team-up, it seems jinxed even now as their only collaboration “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai” now nears 20 years, that too with Khan in an extended special appearance. Their subsequent team-up in “Kesari” as co-producers also fell through as Khan’s friend Ajay Devgn is making a film on the same subject.

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