Bollywood Buzz

Preity Zinta to fill in for Aishwarya Rai

They starred in eight films together. Yet, Abhishek Bachchan and wife Aishwarya Rai’s ninth project, Raj Kumar Santoshi’s romantic comedy Ladies and Gentlemen, would have been the first time they would get to let their guard down and have fun together on-screen.

But with the news of a baby on its way, audiences will have to wait a little longer for the couple’s first rom-com to materialise. Unfortunately, Santoshi’s Ladies and Gentlemen will no longer be their platform, as the film goes on floors in July.

The director is back to square one, scouting for a replacement for Ash. She was supposed to play the main female lead in the film, the woman who finally captures the interest of Abhishek’s Casanova character. When contacted, Santoshi confirmed, “The fact that Aishwarya and Abhishek are going to be parents is far more important than anything to do with my film. The nature of the part that she was playing no longer suits her.”

When asked who made the cut, the director refrained from consenting on any one actress. However, a source reveals that Abhishek’s good friend Preity has been approached to fill in for Ash. And being a good friend that she is, the actress is inclined to star opposite her Jhoom Barabar Jhoom co-star. Also, rumoured as contenders are A-listers, Katrina Kaif and Deepika Padukone.

While Abhishek was signed from the get-go, the film’s casting for heroines went through several changes. Initially, there were reports of Salman Khan and Deepika Padukone pairing up for the first time for Santoshi’s venture. It was only later that Abhishek was chosen for the role. Interestingly, Ash had finally come on-board as a favour to her hubby.

Ash might not be able to fulfill her commitment to Santoshi this time, but the director is already chalking out his next project with her in mind. He told us, “It’s a project that I’ve written specially for her. The role cannot be played by anyone else. I will start it as soon as she is ready.”

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