Aishwarya Rai steps into J.P. Dutta's Umrao Jaan
Movie mogul J.P. Dutta has decided to cast Aishwarya Rai in the coveted role of the Lakhnawi temptress in Umrao Jaan.
Priyanka Chopra's dream of playing Umrao Jaan will have to remain in the pipeline. How and when did this casting revision happen?
Revealed Dutta: "Somehow Priyanka was just not working out because of her clogged dates diary. We sat down to try to work it out. But we could never go beyond the dates issue.
"I had reached a stage where I had to take a decision. I wanted to work with Priyanka. I saw her as Umrao Jaan. But we were at a dead end.
"When I came to London and met Aishwarya for (a film on erstwhile Jaipur maharani) Gayatri Devi, she seemed keenly interested in Umrao Jaan'. Which actress wouldn't be?
"At that stage she had no clue about my talks with Priyanka. When she showed an interest I saw Ash as another ideal choice for Umrao Jaan's role," Dutta added. The film will probably be shot this year.
"There's a Walt Disney production that Ash was supposed to be doing but isn't doing any longer. We'll probably utilise those dates of hers to do 'Umrao Jaan' before moving on to Gayatri Devi early next year," Dutta said.
He was confident Ash can pull off two disparate biographical characters one after the other.
"From Umrao Jaan to Gayatri Devi is a big leap. She can pull it off, I'm sure. She has the grace. I can see her as Umrao because Ash is also a proficient dancer," Dutta felt.
It would be interesting to see what Aishwarya Rai does with a role that has already been taken to the outskirts of immortality by Rekha.
Priyanka, who has lost her dream role, is hardly sulking over her loss.
"Umrao was something I was looking forward to. I had great plans about how to play the role. JP Saab wanted 90 days of my dates at a stretch which I couldn't give him. If it didn't work out, then I guess it wasn't meant to be.
"I can't brood over what didn't happen when there's so much that's happening. I'm sure Ash will make a fantastic Umrao," Priyanka said.