Priyanka, Kareena in race for Heroine

Madhur Bhandarkar’s desperate search to find Aishwarya Rai’s replacement for Heroine has become a race between long-time rivals Priyanka Chopra and Kareena Kapoor.

While Bhandarkar has been pursuing his Fashion leading lady Priyanka Chopra, currently on holiday in the United States, to sign on the dotted line, UTV head honcho Ronnie Screwvala is in talks with Kareena Kapoor.

Aishwarya had to leave the film after she got pregnant, resulting in a war of words between the Bachchans and Bhandarkar over why she did not break the news before shooting began.

“When the film was shelved, owing to Aishwarya’s pregnancy, Madhur Bhandarkar went into a shell.

But some he has decided to go ahead with it, and there are various names floating around – Katrina Kaif, Vidya Balan, Kareena Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra.

But the race is now between Priyanka and Kareena,” a source close to the project told Mumbai Mirror.

The dates are being worked with both. Kareena is busy with Bodyguard, followed by Agent Vinod.

Priyanka, on the other hand, is committed to a film by Kunal Kohli and Anurag Basu’s Barfee. “Ronnie is trying to work the schedule around them so that the film can go on the floors soon.

Ronnie had called Kareena but since she was busy shooting for Bodyguard with Salman Khan, they could not meet immediately.

Priyanka is in LA and Madhur has spoken to her. He is waiting for her to get back.”

Bhandarkar’s dream project, Heroine, has been in the news ever since the proud grandfather-to-be, Amitabh Bachchan, announced Aishwarya’s pregnancy on Twitter. Though wishing her well, Bhandarkar admitted to being shattered by the news.

Aishwarya was required to portray the rise and fall of an actress in the film and the role would require her to be at her fittest best.

Further, Aishwarya had refused to do any smoking scenes early on, but Bhandarkar added that since the other characters would be smoking, the passive smoke could affect the actress and her baby’s health, a risk he could not take.

The chaos was followed by an official statement by UTV that the production house and Bhandarkar had shelved the project.

However, with search for a leading lady on in full swing, all that is awaited is the official announcement of the film getting back on track.

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