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Updated January 28th, 2024 at 20:10 IST

Not Alia Bhatt, These Actresses Were Initially Approached To Play The Lead In Gangubai Kathiawadi

Not one or two but three actresses were approached to play the lead in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Gangubai Kathiawadi, a role that eventually went to Alia Bhatt.

Reported by: Republic Entertainment Desk
Gangubai Kathiawadi
Gangubai Kathiawadi | Image:IMDb
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Alia Bhatt's performance in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Gangubai Kathiawadi earned the actress widespread acclaim and solidified the film's status as a blockbuster success. Yet, the journey to finding the perfect lead for this grand movie involved consideration of several popular actresses before Alia took on the role.

Who was the original choice for Gangubai Kathiawadi?

Initially, director Sanjay Leela Bhansali explored the possibility of collaborating with Deepika Padukone, a celebrated actress who had previously worked in blockbuster SLB films like Ram Leela, Padmaavat and Bajirao Mastani.

Deepika Padukone in Ram Leela | Image: X

Speculations arose in 2019 when Deepika was spotted outside Bhansali's office igniting rumours of her potential involvement in Gangubai Kathiawadi. However, this collaboration didn't materialise and the baton eventually passed to Alia Bhatt.

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Rani Mukerji who is known for her collaboration with SLB in Black (2005), was also considered for the lead role in Gangubai Kathiawadi. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, the pairing did not come to actuality. According to an insider, the initial plan was to cast Rani Mukerji in the lead but when things didn't work out, Priyanka Chopra was approached during the filming of Bajirao Mastani.

Rani Mukerji in SLB's Saawariya | Image: Youtube screengrab

Unfortunately, the project faced challenges with her as well and it was put on hold.

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How did Gangubai Kathiawadi fall into Alia’s kitty?

Several media reports suggested that when SLB’s Inshall got shelved, Bhansali had Gangubai ready to take on floors. With Alia’s dates booked for the dumped film, SLB decided to greenlight Gangubai with her. SLB is also known to revisit his films again and again. His films Ram Leela and Bajirao Mastani were also on the shelf for the longest time before they finally began rolling after Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone came on board.

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Alia Bhatt in Gangubai Kathiawadi | Image: IMDb

As fate would have it, the film that underwent several contemplations and revisions finally found its lead in Alia Bhatt. Her commendable portrayal of Gangubai contributed largely to the film's success and emerged as a cult classic for years to come.

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Published January 28th, 2024 at 20:10 IST

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