Not Deepika Padukone but Priyanka Chopra was the first choice to play the lead in Ram Leela

Ram Leela made headlines for its dream casting and the fact that Sanjay Leela Bhansali was finally signing Kareena Kapoor Khan after their spat over Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Though Bebo had given a screen test for Aishwarya’s role in the Salman Khan-starrer and was close to even signing it, the director felt that Aish would justify the role better. The Veere Di Wedding star was pissed at him at the time but their fans were jumping with joy when the duo finally announced a project – Ram Leela together. However, Kareena later had some date issues and decided to walk out of the project. So this is the story that we all know, right? Nothing shocking so far. But the fact that Priyanka had come on board after Bebo is startling indeed.

In Bharathi S. Pradhan’s new book, Priyanka Chopra: The Dark Horse, the author narrates how Priyanka Chopra was replaced by Deepika Padukone at the last minute for Ram Leela. An excerpt from the book, that was released on The Telegraph, revealed why casting PeeCee for Mary Kom was a task considering her bad rapport with SLB after Ram Leela. The excerpt read: Before Mary Kom took off, Bhansali had begun filming the large and lavish Goliyon Ki Rasleela…Ram-Leela (2013), a film that had originally been planned with Ranveer Singh and Kareena Kapoor in the lead. But at the last minute, Kareena had walked out of it, leaving Bhansali in a dilemma. With his set erected and a shooting schedule all planned and ready, who could he get to step in and play the lead opposite Ranveer? He had to finalise an alternate heroine quick. He turned to Priyanka Chopra and even though she knew she was a replacement, she agreed to do Ram-Leela. However, just before filming started, Bhansali did an unbelievable switch and brought Deepika in as the heroine. PeeCee was obviously furious with the Devdas filmmaker but that didn’t stop her from signing Mary Kom – a movie produced by SLB under his banner.

Priyanka thought the biopic’s subject was more important than her personal equation and she signed the movie without having any second thoughts. Later, the director-cum-producer was so impressed with her that he offered her a sultry number, Ram Chahe Leela – an item song into which she infused rustic sensuality. The song is as popular as Ranveer and Deepika’s hot chemistry

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