Picture: apnaindia.com

The highly anticipated Race 2 was released on Friday, with Bolly fans eager to see how this A-list starrer turned out. OneIndia.com and BollywoodHungama.com report on some of the build-up to the movie’s opening …

ACTOR Saif Ali Khan, who was reportedly very excited about doing the sequel to the action thriller Race, feels the first instalment was a bold offering, while part two has universal appeal.

Race (2008), directed by Abbas-Mustan, explored the themes of sibling rivalry, betrayal and passion.

“I think Race was a brave film, though it had crazy plot points and twists and turns. It was an adult film, it had a lot of intimate scenes… it was a bold film for the Indian audience,” Khan said.

“The makers thought (about) a sequel and wanted a (more) universal film… so, you can watch this film (Race 2) with your mother and sister. It’s a universal thriller film.”

The sequel, also directed by Abbas-Mustan, has an ensemble cast that includes Anil Kapoor and Khan reprising their roles, while Deepika Padukone, John Abraham, Jacqueline Fernandez and Ameesha Patel are new additions to the cast.

“Race 2 starts almost where Race ends. It drives out of one frame and into another.

“It is not important for you to see Race to enjoy the second part,” Khan said.

“It is my first sequel. We were fortunate that Bipasha, Katrina, Akshaye Khanna and Anil were in part one of Race. But Race 2 is a different film and required a different set of actors, and I am happy to work with all of them. I am sure with the kind of story it has, the audience will like it.”

Khan is one Bollywood actor who has been lucky in both his personal and professional lives. Last year, especially, he was very fortunate. Not only did he marry his girlfriend, Kareena Kapoor, but Saif’s Cocktail also did wonders at the box office.

Asked if his life was now “set”, the actor said: “It feels great. It seems my life is quite set… nazar mat lagao yaar (don’t jinx it).”

Speaking about the growing number of sequels in Bollywood, the actor said: “When I did Main Khiladi Tu Anari (1994), we were contemplating a sequel. But then the idea was dropped because at that time, sequels didn’t happen. But things change. There are some films that lend themselves to a sequel, and the Race franchise lends itself perfectly.”

After the success of Race, Abbas and Mustan are all set to take you on an action ride with Race 2. After seeing the promos, we are sure the second version will be more thrilling and sophisticated.

In Race 2, Patel plays Kapoor’s assistant, Cherry. Bollywood hottie Abraham will be seen flaunting his six-pack abs.

Actress Padukone is set to dabble in out-and-out action for Race 2. To make her character more convincing, the 26-year-old decided to shoot the high-octane stunts without a double.

“Abbasji-Mustanji (the two directors) have mastered this genre. I was a bit nervous during the first few days since this is the first time I have attempted an action thriller, but they gave me a lot of confidence and made me feel comfortable,” said Padukone.

Abbas was all praise for the actress and said she fulfilled the requirements of the character because she was glamorous and fearless.

“Despite her romantic heroine image, she had no qualms about playing a character with grey shades. We were keen on casting her as the role required someone glamorous and sexy, yet who would look convincing while pulling off stunts.

“Just like her character, she is equally fearless in real life and looks very convincing on screen. She was even comfortable handling guns. She will easily be one of the hottest action babes in Bollywood.”

Race 2 is set in the lush locales of exotic Europe, with a backdrop of gambling and casinos.

It is a fast-paced thriller that takes the legacy of Race forward, with high-octane action combined with thrills and twists that have a roller-coaster effect, and edge-of-the-seat excitement.