Salman Khan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan were Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s original choice for Bajirao Mastani
But the history has it that the film has undergone several changes in its casting ever since it was conceptualised. The film was first announced in 2003. Bhansali initially wanted to cast Salman Khan and Aishwarya (his lead pair from ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’) for the titular roles, but could not cast them together after their highly publicised break-up. Later, there were reports that Bhansali had cast Salman and Kareena Kapoor as the lead pair which was finally scrapped apparently after the pair signed another film together.
Eventually, Bhansali shelved ‘Bajirao Mastani’ at that point of time and went on to direct ‘Black’ (2005), ‘Saawariya’ (2007), ‘Guzaarish’ (2010), and ‘Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram Leela’ (2013). Bhansali’s friends had revealed that Sanjay was restless because one of his dream projects had remained unfulfilled, and throughout these 10 years or so, media speculation continued about the production and casting of ‘Bajirao Mastani’.
Several actors were rumoured to be linked to the project, including, Shah Rukh Khan, Ajay Devgn, Hrithik Roshan, Katrina Kaif and finally, in July 2014, it was confirmed that Bhansali had revived the project with Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone (the lead pair of Bhansali’s ‘Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela’) playing the titular roles and Priyanka Chopra playing Bajirao’s first wife, Kashibai.
Ask Aishwarya, who was meant to be the original ‘Mastani’, whether she’s seen the film’s teaser, and while evading the question, the actress says, “Sanjay and me will always smile with each other. In between also he has met me a couple of times this year and I keep teasing him that, ‘So you have got your fix? And he would laugh and say, ‘Ya’.”
The actress continues, “It is a very close bond with Sanjay, creatively and because of that personally. My relationships with certain filmmakers have been personally so strong; it has never been only about the work. We have obviously discussed it, even before the start of the movie, there was a certain casting he was looking at and if that was to come to be…as everybody knows that there was a possibility of me being ‘Mastani’ if there was a certain ‘Bajirao’ that he was trying to cast but if that didn’t come to be… and he had openly talked about it. We both knew what the casting would be.”
And Aishwarya sums up saying, “It is natural, it is nothing to fret about and think over. Every film lives its own destiny and finds its reality the way it is meant to be.”
Tagged Aishwarya Rai Bachchan