Priyanka Chopra’s announcement on Thursday that she would no longer be doing Salman Khan’s home production Bharat has put the entire Khan clan/team into a state of shock. A source close to Salman Khan on condition of anonymity said, “This is madness. Considering, it was Priyanka Chopra who was keen to be in the film. She approached Salman and his director Ali Abbas Zafar at a time when they had almost finalized Katrina Kaif. Priyanka told them she wanted to come back to Bollywood. Now, when Bharat has gone on the floors she has second thoughts?”
In his tweet announcing her exit, director Ali Abbas Zafar has broadly hinted that Priyanka exited Bharat to get married. However, sources close to Salman describe this marital alibi as a “whitewashing job”.
Says an informed source, “The director, who is a close friend of Priyanka, doesn’t want any ugly controversy about Priyanka’s exit. So he’s making it sound like an amicable parting, which it is not. Salman is hardly going to be pacified by the marriage alibi. Considering, it was she (Priyanka) who wanted to be part of the project. And, now she’s had second thoughts because of marriage? Nonsense! If she was getting married, she’d have planned it for after shooting for Bharat. This is not small film and opting out of it more or less seals her plans for a Bollywood comeback.”
While it’s too early to get a clear picture on the aftermath of the crisis, early indications are that Salman’s trusted friend Katrina Kaif will step into the part. “She was the first choice. And she’s also a close buddy of the director from the time she played the lead in his directorial debut Mere Brother Ki Dulhan. Perhaps, she was destined to be Bharat ki Bharati all along,” says a source closely associated with Bharat.