Dostana, a Dharma Productions film, emerged as a major success when it released in theatres in 2008
The 2008 film Dostana can be regarded as an instrumental outing not just for actors Abhishek Bachchan, John Abraham and Priyanka Chopra but for Karan Johar's Dharma Productions as well. While the studio earned the repute for ushering in a new brand of commercial cinema through Dostana, the lead cast of the film was able to strengthen its respective careers by virtue of the box office yield.
A lot of the film's success, of course, stemmed from the 'chemistry' that Abhishek Bachchan and John Abraham shared on screen but not many would know that the makers had a slightly different combination in mind initially. While Abhishek was part of the plans from the word go, it was Saif Ali Khan who was originally billed to play the second half of the duo in the film. The Bollywood Nawab would walk out of the project eventually owing to undisclosed reasons, making way for John Abraham instead. The latter would then famously "flash" his talent and make quite a name for himself with his role in the film.
Abhishek Bachchan would himself reveal on Koffee with Karan that Saif was the original casting choice and even praised the Being Cyrus actor's comic timing, which he felt would perfectly complement his own brand of humour.
As far as Saif Ali Khan is concerned, Dostana wouldn't perhaps be the only Dharma movie he passed up because years later, he would be eyed by director Shakun Batra for a principal role in Kapoor & Sons. Saif was originally meant to play the role of Rahul Kapoor in the film but his reluctance would allow Fawad Khan to take up the opportunity instead. Interestingly, Kapoor & Sons would mark the beginning of a new phase of Dharma Productions much like Dostana did and Saif was almost part of both phases.