Two macho men pretending to be lovers or an endearing mobster with an equally loveable Man Friday...these unusual male pairs of Bollywood have enough spark to carry off a film on their muscular shoulders.
Be it John Abraham and Abhishek Bachchan in Dostana or Sanjay Dutt and Arshad Warsi in the Munnabhai series or Ranvir Shorey and Vinay Pathak in Bheja Fry, the male bonding story has certainly turned a page in the Hindi film industry.
These men are putting onscreen hero-heroine couples in the shade.
"In case of Arshad and Sanjay, they might not have been very good friends before coming together in Munnabhai, but the madness in their characters created magic on screen and their friendship grew," said director Tarun Mansukhani.
The impeccable comic timing of Sanjay as Munnabhai and Arshad as Circuit in the franchise made them a much-sought-after pair. Both also worked together in Dhamaal and Anthony Kaun Hai.
They are teaming up again for Double Dhamaal and Munna Chale Amrika, which is the third in the Munnabhai franchise.
Sagar Ballary, who had cast Ranvir and Vinay in Bheja Fry, now wants to work with Arshad-Sanjay.
"I was having a discussion with Arshad about which actor to cast opposite him in my next film. I told him that I am a director who likes to improvise with characters, to which he replied, 'I can't improvise with anybody other than Sanjay Dutt. It just clicks with him'," he said.
Ranvir-Vinay have known each other since the time they anchored OYE for Channel V together. Directors tried different permutations and combinations with the two on big screen with Dasvidaniya and Khosla Ka Ghosla.
Their next is Winds of Change, based on Salman Rushdie's 1981 novel Midnight Children.
"They are very good friends and know each other since their VJing days and that adds to the camaraderie they share, which creates magic on screen," Ballary said.
Even action star Akshay Kumar has given a string of hits with brawny actor Suniel Shetty - Mohra, Hera Pheri, Dhadkan, Phir Hera Pheri and Thank You, to name a few. Not to forget that the Salman Khan-Govinda pair turned out to be a hit formula.
Director Rajkumar Santoshi is planning to recreate the magic of the 1994 movie Andaaz Apna Apna with Aamir Khan and Salman Khan reprising their roles as Amar and Prem in a sequel.
Mainstream directors have even experimented with gay relationships on screen, but in a humorous way.
Writer Niranjan Iyengar and filmmaker Karan Johar blended humour and drama deftly in Kal Ho Naa Ho to show mock intimacy between Saif Ali Khan and Shah Rukh Khan. The script had good gags and director Nikhil Advani executed it to perfection, giving male pairing a new meaning.
Karan then took things to a higher level with Dostana, where Abhishek and John were forced to pose as a couple in love who hugged and kissed. Director Tarun Mansukhani scripted the story.
"Both the actors are good friends off-screen and their personal rapport came out nicely on screen. Both of them are poles apart physically and performance-wise. While John is more mature Abhishek is a bit childlike, but both of them complement each other very well," said Mansukhani.
The two, first seen together in action thriller Dhoom, will once again be seen in Dostana 2.
"After we starred together in Dostana, Abhishek has nicknamed me as his 'jiggly poo'. He sends me messages on my birthday, saying 'Happy Birthday Jiggly Poo'!" said John.
"Cinema is undergoing a realistic change and there are male couples in real life that swear by each other's love. They (filmmakers) see that happening in real life and try to put similar things in their films," said Taran Adarsh.
The Amitabh Bachchan-Dharmendra camaraderie in Sholay, after all, remains unforgettable.