Remember all the talk about how Shah Rukh Khan would replace Ranveer Singh as Alauddin Khilji in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Padmavati?
With those stories proving to be so much talk (last heard, Ranveer was visiting Bhansali's home, and moving to a new apartment to be closer to the Padmavati shoot location), here's something that does explain those SRK-Bhansali association reports.
The auteur also has a clear idea in mind about who he wants to cast as SRK's leading lady: Kangana Ranaut.
While there has been no formal announcement or any confirmation from Bhansali, Khan or Ranaut, industry observers have already expressed excitement over this 'fresh pairing', calling it a 'casting coup'.
Shah Rukh and Bhansali haven't worked together after Devdas, although in an interview given to IANS just this July (on the film's 14th anniversary), the director spoke of his star in glowing terms:
"He was flawless. Shah Rukh Khan understood the character without losing his spontaneity. Obviously, the pressures of matching up to Saigal sahab (KL Saigal) and Dilip sahab (Dilip Kumar) were there. But he never allowed them to bog him down. I don’t know what to say about him. He has left me speechless. I had my doubts before working with him. But it’s his most endearing and honest performance. After seeing him you’d want to embrace him. The performance came amidst all his personal problems. He was able to project the personal turmoil on screen. If I were to make Devdas again I’d still cast only Shah Rukh Khan."
Bhansali had also spoken of his desire to work with SRK again, although, in an interview dated this April, he said speculation that his next film would feature the star wasn't grounded in truth: "No. Not right now. All these reports floating in the media are baseless speculations," Bhansali told NDTV.
The affection between SRK and Bhansali has persisted despite the fact that two of Khan's films have clashed with the director's at the box office: Om Shanti Om with Sawariyaa and Dilwale with Bajirao Mastani.
With work on Padmavati underway, and with his lead pair — Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone — asked to set aside 200 days for the project, does this mean Bhansali is also planning the project that will come after that? And what exactly does he have in mind for SRK and Kangana?
Watch this space for more details.