B-town's southern connect!

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By Hindustan Times

Mumbai, Mar. 5 -- An increasing number of Bollywood actors are now sharing screen space with Southern stars. Here is a look at five brand new pairs

Rajinikanth and Deepika Padukone

Deepika Padukone (25) has finally signed her first Tamil film opposite Rajinikanth (61). Initially, she delayed signing on Rana due to prior commitments, but now she made some adjustments and has officially jumped on to the bandwagon. Rana will be directed by KS Ravi Kumar. Deepika was reported saying that her dream of acting with Rajni had come true with this project. She started her career with the Kannada film, Aishwarya, and was also seen in an item number in the Telugu film Love 4 Ever. Due to go on the floors in March, Rana is expected to release in 2012.

Mohanlal and Vidya Balan

Vidya Balan (33) has signed a satirical comedy titled Arabiyum Ottakavum P Madhavan Nairum, also featuring Southern actor Mohanlal (50). Though the film is set in Abu Dhabi and a majority of it will be shot there, the story will start from Thiruvananthapuram. However, director Priyadarshan refused to reveal any details about the project, saying: "It is too early to talk about it."

Kajal Aggarwal and Ajay Devgn

Southern actor Kajal Aggarwal (25) has been finalised as the female lead opposite Ajay Devgn (41) in Rohit Shetty's next. The film is a Hindi remake of the Tamil superhit Singham. Aggarwal, who will be playing Devgn's love interest, has many successful films to her credit. But she rose to prominence with her performance in 2009's Telugu super hit Magadheera. Shetty was quoted as saying: "We are confident about her pulling off the role successfully." Singham is set to go on the floors this month.

Kamal Hassan and Sonakshi Sinha

Dabangg beauty Sonakshi Sinha (23) is expected to play the female lead in a tri-lingual film (Hindi, Tamil and Telugu) opposite Kamal Hassan (56). The untitled film will be directed by Selvaraghavan and will go on floors this April. Hassan is keen on signing Sinha and will soon discuss the script with her. The film is based on 2001's Hollywood release Hannibal, starring Sir Anthony Hopkins and Julianne Moore.

Taapsee Pannu and Amitabh Bachchan

Taapsee (22), who made her debut in K Raghavendra Rao's Jhummandi Naadam, has now shifted her focus to Bollywood and has signed Ram Gopal Varma's forthcoming venture Buddha, featuring Amitabh Bachchan (68). Though Tabu is playing the lead in the film, Taapsee has a pivotal role to play as well. She was recently in the news for exposing a lot in a song sequence for her upcoming film Vastadu Naa Raju