MUMBAI — “Tanu Weds Manu Returns” and “Piku” may have become hits, but we can hardly expect Kangana Ranaut and R. Madhavan (they also did the original film) or Irrfan Khan and Deepika Padukone to become hit pairs in films to come. For one, both the heroes are not considered to be in the big star category, and neither are the two heroines known to do multiple films. In fact, there are indications that Padukone’s latest grab, Homi Adajania’s remake of “The Fault in Our Stars,” will feature Sushant Singh Rajput opposite her!

Similarly, “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” has already released, and the Salman Khan-Kareena Kapoor Khan chemistry was seen in “Bodyguard,” though not in “Kyon Ki…,” but Salman Khan does not often repeat established heroines as his co-stars.

But we are talking of films to come in the remaining part of the year. Here then is a look at the standout pairs to come with their potentials marked out of 10.

Once Again:

1) Shah Rukh Khan-Kajol

Film: Dilwale     Popular Quotient: 9/10

The five-hit combo (never mind if their last film “My Name Is Khan” was a hit only internationally) is set to come back with a comic bang in “Dilwale.” SRK is huge overseas, and each of his movies with Kajol has been a top money-spinner there. The special chemistry between them was also due to their personal rapport, not just their well-written characters and ace directors. The only possible hitch is if the film does not measure up (unlikely) and the time lapse since their blockbusters — up to 22 years, with a generational change that might consider them veterans and prefer the youth of Varun Dhawan with Kriti Sanon!

2 and 3) Ranveer Singh-Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh-Priyanka Chopra

Film: Bajirao Mastani                Popular Quotient: 8/10 and 6/10

They have been a hit together in “Goliyon Ki Ras Leela-Ram Lila” and “Gunday,” respectively. Chopra did a song cameo in the first film but not in romantic mode, while Singh played Padukone’s husband (who dies at his wedding!) in a one-scene appearance in “Finding Fanny.”  And yes, Singh and Chopra were siblings in “Dil Dhadakne Do” recently.

The advantage these two teams have is the youthful quotient of Singh, and his real-life relationship with Padukone. Add the same passionate filmmaker (Sanjay Leela Bhansali), a mere two years after their last film together, and the unique subject, and we have a winner. As for Chopra, their sizzle in “Gunday” was almost as good, considering everything.

4) Ranbir Kapoor-Katrina Kaif

Film: Jagga Jasoos        Popular Quotient: 7/10

Real-life lovebirds, however, do not work on-screen when one of them is weak in commercial viability vis-à-vis the other. Nevertheless, Kaif is extremely adroit in her selections and has the greatest hit average among any star who has done multiple films. Two of Kapoor’s only four hits (“Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani” and the ensemble cast “Raajneeti”) have been with his own golden goose, and this film is being directed by Anurag Basu, who directed his third hit “Barfi!” And yes, the music is by the only common-point between his four hits — composer Pritam (“Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani”).

5) Saif Ali Khan-Katrina Kaif

Film: Phantom               Popular Quotient: 7/10

We think that this pair can be popular, looking at the few gritty stills we have seen of the two. For Kaif, it’s a fresh pairing, and her third film with director Kabir Khan, who seems to be on a roll. For Khan, it can be a turning-point after a cavalcade of flop movies — don’t forget Kabir’s hit streak and Kaif’s Queen Midas touch!

6) Salman Khan-Sonam Kapoor

Film: Prem Ratan Dhan Payo                Popular Quotient: 6/10

As of now, we do not know the chemistry, though Khan is ultra-close to Kapoor’s father, Anil Kapoor. This one is also touted as a huge musical biggie, with Sooraj Barjatya returning to Salman-dom after three hits in the past. Something tells us that Khan and Kapoor will also be a pair to watch out for.

7) Imran Khan-Kangana Ranaut

Film: Katti Batti            Popular Quotient: 7/10

Kangana Ranaut’s on a high, and Imran Khan’s at an all-time low. He is a limited actor with a flair for rom-coms (which “Katti Batti” is), while she is adept at changing shades with every role. Both are, essentially, director’s actors and Ranaut’s spitfire character and Khan’s contrasting docile live-in partner are a fresher, younger version of the Saif-Preity chemistry in “Salaam Namaste” a decade back, with a completely different angle.

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