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Deepika in Demand

Rajeev Masand is entertainment editor at CNN News18
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Deepika in Demand • Shahid’s Getaway • A Hot and Heavy History
It’s funny how practically every major new film currently going into production will star or has been offered to Deepika Padukone. Even if filmmakers have not locked in a leading man yet, negotiating as they are among a handful of options, there appears to be little doubt in their minds about their choice of leading lady.

Soon after wrapping Happy New Year with Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika will begin filming Imtiaz Ali’s Window Seat with Ranbir Kapoor. She has also signed Karan Johar’s Shuddhi, which doesn’t have a hero after Hrithik Roshan’s exit (Ranveer Singh is most likely to be roped in), but is nevertheless being rushed to the floors in order to make a December 2015 release. Deepika will also flex her acting chops with Amitabh Bachchan in Vicky Donor director Shoojit Sircar’s next, a no-frills father-daughter drama that will also star Irrfan Khan in a pivotal part. And although Aamir Khan has reportedly walked out of first- timer Nithya Anand’s time-travel movie to be produced by Farhan Akhtar’s Excel Productions, Deepika remains attached to the project, which the makers have now offered to Hrithik Roshan. There’s a good chance Hrithik could also be the Bajirao to her Mastani in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s passion project of many years. What eludes her still is a movie with Salman Khan. If the grapevine is to be trusted, Deepika herself politely turned down Sooraj Barjatya’s offer to appear opposite the star because she wasn’t convinced of the script, making way for Sonam Kapoor to land the project instead.

Last weekend at Filmistan Studio, where she was filming Happy New Year, I met Deepika and enquired if there was a director she’d sacrifice an arm to work with. After much consideration, she replied: “At this point, I’d probably say Rajkumar Hirani.” She was also sporting enough to admit that she wishes she’d been offered Zoya Akhtar’s next (now titled Dil Dhadakne Do), which she describes as a “crazy, terrific script”. The dark comedy about a dysfunctional Punjabi family that takes a luxury cruise together will star Deepika’s boyfriend Ranveer Singh and Priyanka Chopra as brother and sister, and Anushka Sharma and Farhan Akhtar as their romantic interests. “I haven’t even discussed this with Zoya yet, but if I can get a few months off around that time, I’d go and work as an assistant director on that set,” Deepika reveals.

Shahid’s Getaway

Shahid Kapoor spent his 33rd birthday earlier this week in Goa for some sun, sand and R&R, away from the snowy climes of Kashmir where he’s been shooting for weeks now with the unit of Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haidar.

The actor, who tends to take all his girlfriends, and even his casual dates, to the beach capital for quick weekend breaks—Priyanka Chopra, Bipasha Basu and Nargis Fakhri have all been spotted with him in Goa previously— invited a small group of friends to join him there this time.

Pulling his leg about his reputation when it comes to his Goa getaways, Shahid’s Rowdy Rathore co-star Sonakshi Sinha tweeted to him: ‘Happy Birthday @shahidkapoor!! Goa mein gandi baat aur party all night okkk :p Have funnnns!!’

A Hot and Heavy History

A prominent director of new age Indian cinema recently filmed an item song for his new movie on an oomphy has- been actress, best known for her seductive dance numbers in the 1990s. The filmmaker and the showgirl couldn’t be more different than chalk and cheese, but few will remember that they share a secret. Back in the day when she was ‘slumming it’, working in an art-house film during a rough patch in her career, she’d hooked up with the said director, who was at the time an up-and-coming angst-ridden scriptwriter working on the same project. They’d had a passionate fling, away from prying eyes, and the director has confided to close friends that “she taught me things I didn’t in my wildest imagination think possible”. When they met again recently to film the song, eyewitnesses on the set say they quickly got over any awkwardness they may have had, and in fact shared a friendly vibe. The director is reportedly thrilled with what he’s shot with her, and announced that she’s still just as smoking hot as audiences remember her.