Priyanka replaces Kareena in Bhansali's next


By Hindustan Times

A few days ago, Kareena Kapoor called Sanjay Leela Bhansali, “the truest successor to Raj Kapoor’s legacy.” Of course, Bebo was excited to work with Bhansali in his upcoming biggie, tentatively titled Ram Leela.

But now, in a major twist, the Heroine actor has been ousted from the film, and replaced with Priyanka Chopra. “We aren’t aware of the exact reasons why, but Priyanka has been roped in by Mr Bhansali. Although no one is ready to divulge details yet, Priyanka was confirmed for the role a couple of days back,” says an insider close to the project.

The film, which also stars Band Baaja Baraat (2010) actor Ranveer Singh, was initially supposed to go on the floors in July but now it’s believed to have been pushed back.

It seems that Kareena’s wedding to long-time beau Saif Ali Khan — reported to be on October 16 — could be the reason for the switch.

Since Bhansali plans to shoot his film at a stretch, he wanted bulk dates from Kareena. But she needed to take a break to prepare for the high-profile wedding. As a result, she was unable to commit to dates in advance.

“Whatever the case, Priyanka has been chosen because Bhansali wanted a completely fresh pairing. Priyanka is also excited because it’s one of Bhansali’s most prestigious projects. It’s an author-backed role,” says the insider, adding that the movie’s new leading lady will start preparing for the part in August, once she returns to India from a vacation in Europe. “It will be quite a challenge for her since Bhansali wants his actors to prepare extensively before shooting begins,” the source adds.

“It’s a full-on masala movie and is in the Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999 ) space. I am going to have a blast. Plus, with 11 songs and great locales, I feel the chemistry between Ranveer and Kareena is going to rock,” Bhansali had told HT Café a few days back. At that time, the filmmaker had revealed that he planned to take the film on the floors in July.

Priyanka remained unavailable for a comment while her spokesperson declined to make an official statement on the latest developments.