Editor's Comment: The 'Shuddhi' — 'Bajirao Mastani' merry go round
Sanjay Leela Bhansali is a man on a mission. The hotshot, eccentric director who was all but written off bounced back, and how, with his Ranveer-Deepika starrer Goliyon Ka Rasleela Ram-leela at the fag end of last year. The film wasn't just critically acclaimed, but made a fair bit of dough at the box office too, shattering the myth that SLB couldn't make a film that was commercially viable.
Now that he's proven a point, he's decided to rekindle a war that's been simmering under the surface for a while. In a surprising move, the reclusive director has decided to revive his most ambitious venture to date, Bajirao Mastani — a project long considered jinxed, recounts the doomed love story of Bajirao, a noted Marathi general who served as a Peshwa (Prime Minister) to the fourth Maratha Chhatrapati (Emperor), and his love story with Mastani, the daughter of Maharaja Chhatrasal of Panna by a Muslim wife.
The story is said to be one incredibly close to Bhansali's heart, and he's tried to kick start for ten years but to no avail. Post Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, the film was all but confirmed with Salman Khan and Aishwarya Rai, but after their real life story went bust, Kareena Kapoor sashayed into the titular part. At one point Ajay Devgn and Shah Rukh Khan were considered for the part of Bajirao too, but even then the film just refused to take off.
The surprising part in all this? He's planning to pit his magnum opus against the equally jinxed Dharma venture Shuddhi, which is to be helmed by Karan Malhotra, and for which producer Karan Johar has already zeroed in a release date of Christmas 2015.
For the media savvy amongst you, you might recall how Bhansali was super miffed with Kareena Kapoor, after Karan Johar 'cajoled' her out of Ram-leela, and got her on board for last years epic dud, his own Gori Tere Pyaar Mein.
With this latest move, however, It seems SLB was just biding his time so that he could bite back and dish it back to Karan. Not only has he finalised the same release date as KJo's venture, but he's even managed a casting coup of sorts by getting 'it' couple Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone on board for his magnum opus.
The glitch? Both stars were nearly on board, (in fact Deepika had even signed on) for Karan's Shuddhi after its original leads Hrithik Roshan and Kareena Kapoor walked out of the venture.
Obviously, it's producer Karan Johar who's now been left out in the cold, with no stars on board for one of Dharma's most ambitious ventures.
Priyanka on board as Kashibai
As things stand, Bhansali is clearly on a roll. As if getting Ranveer and Deepika on board wasn't enough, the filmmaker has also convinced Priyanka Chopra to play the third angle in his dramatic love story. Apparently, the role is small but has enough gravitas and meat to it, which is why PC's agreed to be a part of it. According to the grapevine, Priyanka plays Bajirao's first wife, Kashibai.
Naysayers would argue why PC has agreed to take on the part, when clearly it's Deepika who's playing the titular role as Mastani, but history depicts, that even in the past, when actresses haven't played the lead, in many instances their parts have had equal prominence to the ones of the leads, and in some cases they've even gone on to steal their thunder. Cases in point: Priyanka in Aitraaz, Urmila in Judaai, Karisma in Dil To Pagal Hai, Madhuri in Devdas, Rani in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.
So Sanjay's on track, but what next for Karan Johar's Shuddhi?
Get someone else on board I say.
Shuddhi, apparently is an intense love story with a reincarnation theme, and requires actors who can bring the desired intensity to their parts. Going by that alone, it's obvious Karan's after someone who has both critical acclaim and experience by their side.
The female candidates:
Shraddha Kapoor: I don't know why but I feel Shraddha would be great for the part. She has eyes that could melt a million hearts (case in point: Aashiqui 2), and she has the added advantage over say an Alia Bhatt (who may be a bit Western for the part), or Parineeti Chopra, who despite being super talented, seems to be lacking the glam quotient.
Sonakshi Sinha: Why is it that Sonakshi never gets her due? She can act, and I think she could do justice to a part of this magnitude. Or is it that she refuses to hound producers for films and expect them to come to her? You guess is as good as mine.
The male candidates:
Shahid Kapoor: Shahid's talent has never been questioned and he has both the looks and the talent to pull of the part. Should he come on board for Shuddhi?
Varun Dhawan: Very inexperienced, but has star quality and an intensity about him, and I feel he did show a few flashes of brilliance in both Main Tera Hero and Student of the Year.
Or rank newcomers?
So as things stand, it's Sanjay Leela Bhansali: 1, Karan Johar: 0.
I for one am really keen to see how this one unfolds!
Are you happy with the cast for Bajirao Mastani? And who would YOU like featured in Shuddhi? Read and share this article and do let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!
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