Mumbai, Mallika Sherawat has moved into Tabu's territory, replacing the latter in writer-turned-director Sanjay Chhel's latest venture "Maan Gaye Mughal-e-Azam".
The closest that the two actors have come was when Mallika's "Murder" was released alongside Tabu's "Meenaxi" on the same Friday.
In the past too, the industry has had some incredible casting makeovers, like Tabu stepping into Rani Mukerji's space in Mira Nair's "The Namesake" and Lisa Ray getting into Deepa Mehta's "Water", originally earmarked for Nandita Das.
But how did this one happen? Apparently the producers were unwilling to pay the price Tabu asked for. Obviously the role has undergone critical modifications to suit altered conditions.
Chhel disagrees: "I'm a writer. So I know exactly how to place an actor into a character. Yes, Tabu was to do the role. But the way I look at it now, the role is perfect for Mallika. If Naseeruddin Shah had done 'Black' wouldn't it have been different from the way Amitabh Bachchan played the character?"
Chhel asserts that his film isn't a spoof on the classic "Mughal-e-Azam".
"No one in his right mind would satirise that all-time classic. My film is about a theatrical repertoire. Everyone -- Rahul Bose, K.K. Menon, Mallika -- has a comic role."
Rahul and Mallika hit it off like a house on fire during "Pyar Ke Side Effects". While Pritish Nandy Productions is still planning a sequel, Chhel has gone and got the unlikely pair together again.
It would be interesting to see Mallika do yet another role, after "Pyar Ke Side Effects", where she is not cast in her sex-bomb image.