Bipasha Basu or Priyanka Chopra: Madhur Bhandarkar's dilemma
Director Madhur Bhandarkar's plans to cast Aishwarya Rai in Corporate, the ambitious second part of his trilogy of exposés after Page 3, has come a cropper.
Ash was unable to work out the dates, though she tried. Now Madhur is in a fix, since he was looking for a top star for the role.
And his choices are down to Bipasha Basu and Priyanka Chopra.
"This is exactly what happened during Page 3," he moans. "Kareena was my first choice. She heard the role, liked it, but declined."
Konkona Sen Sharma stepped in at the last minute, and the rest is history.
"I need a very saleable, strong, sensuous and powerful presence," he says. "I can't obviously cast a newcomer, but I can't get a top-notch heroine right way."
Madhur says he needs to cast the main part immediately, disclosing that Corporate has even more characters than Page 3, which had 40! "I have already started casting for the other roles. I want to take unknown and little known faces from theatre and television. Therefore, the central character has to be a really strong presence."
Madhur has zeroed in on Bipasha and Priyanka. Priyanka has the dates (she can squeeze in the film in December), but after Aitraaz she is reluctant to play a steel-willed ruthless entrepreneur again.
Bipasha, with her corporate queen image rectified in Suneel Darshan's Barsaat, seems the perfect candidate.
It looks like Madhur might finally opt for Bipasha. With her new svelte and voluptuous look, she is currently shopping for roles with a vengeance.
"I have to take a call in the next few days," says Madhur.