In 2009, Prabhu Dheva's Bollywood directorial debut, the action-packed Wanted became one of the earliest films to make it to the Rs 100-crore club, successfully marking Salman Khan's comeback to the big league. The film which marked a turning point in the then 44-year-old actor's career was the official remake of the Telugu hit, Pokiri, which was directed by Puri Jagannadh who also wrote the story and screenplay of the Hindi adaptation.
Earlier this year, Puri revealed that he had written an action-thriller with bhai in mind and wanted to discuss it with him. Last month, when Puri approached Salman, the actor surprised him with the suggestion that he take his `Hero' Sooraj Pancholi instead.
"Salman already has a packed slate with back-to-back projects lined up till the end of 2017 and has no dates to spare. So he urged Puri to write a commercial film along the lines of Wanted for his protege Sooraj," reveals a source close to the development.
Sooraj who made his Bollywood debut opposite Athiya Shetty in September 2015 in Hero directed by Nikkhil Advani has yet to sign a second film. He was to feature opposite Parineeti Chopra in Bosco Martis's directorial debut, Circus, in which he was to play a trapeze artiste, but after Pari dropped out, the film has been put on hold.
"For Salman, Sooraj is family.The two even partied together during Diwali when Salman was at a new resort in Goa with his family. He is a part of all his family gatherings and he wants the boy to get back into action, asap," the source added.
It seems excited with the proposition, Puri has jumped into action too. He is currently scripting a film which will be produced under Salman's home banner. Puri's last Bollywood outing was Bbuddah... Hoga Tera Baap in 2011 with Amitabh Bachchan in his Vijay avatar. Puri has however not given up hope of working with Salman. He hopes to cast him in the Hindi remake of his recent super-hit, ISM, the Telugu action crime-thriller which released in October. "The original featured Kalyan Ram in the lead, Puri wants to remake it with Salman in 2018 when he has wrapped up his cur rent commitments," informed the source.