Finally, Ekta finds her Aishwarya Rai!

By Hindustan Times

MUMBAI, Oct. 19 -- It's an open secret that Ekta Kapoor is set to produce a lavish TV show based on the historical love story of Mughal Emperor Akbar and his wife, Jodha Bai. But what has been creating more excitement is the casting of actors for the lead roles. Now, we have heard that after eight months of a rigorous nation-wide search and auditions, the doyen of Indian soap operas has finally found Jodha - Indore girl Paridhi Sharma.

"This will be Paridhi's first lead role after she appeared as part of the supporting cast in another TV show, Ruk Jaana Nahi. Ekta feels that Paridhi can carry off the part perfectly because she has the innocent and simple persona, in addition to a beautiful face. Paridhi, of course, is very excited about her big break," says an insider close to Ekta. In 2008, director Ashutosh Gowariker had brought the story to the big screen in his magnum opus, Jodhaa Akbar, where Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan had portrayed the Rajput princess's character.

Ekta, in a bid to find the right actors, had gone all out: she kick-started a countrywide search for the lead faces and personally attended auditions. "She has gone through nearly 7,000 auditions and finally found her Jodha in Indore. She wanted to personally handpick the right actors for the roles," says the insider. In fact, she also changed her Facebook status saying that she is looking for fresh faces for Jodha and Akbar.

"Since Ekta put up the message on her Facebook page, it was jammed almost instantly. Her email account has also crashed because of the overflow of mails with requests and pictures. But it shouldn't come as a big surprise since it's a huge production from Ekta's company," adds the insider.

When contacted, Ekta says: "After a nationwide hunt, I have finally found my Jodha. It was a long and tedious process but totally worth it, since Paridhi represents everything I have been looking for." For those still practicing their sword fighting skills, the search for Akbar is still on!

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