The Kareena and Deepika War is on
By Subhash K Jha
It's not official yet. But Saif Ali Khan's first production to be directed by Jab We Met director Imtiaz Ali will start shooting in May 2008.
But it won't star Saif's lady-love Kareena Kapoor. It pairs Saif with Deepika Padukone.
The matter in fact became a big bone of contention between producer Saif and director Imtiaz.
Says a source very close to Saif, "If Saif had his way he'd want Kareena in every production starting with his first. In fact he was quite sure that his production house would take off with a film starring Kareena along with Saif.
And since Imtiaz had just delivered a big hit with Kareena Saif saw no problems on that front. Little did he know that Imtiaz had other plans.
The director was sure that Kareena wouldn't suit the female lead this time. He insisted it had to be Deepika Padukone."
Saif and Imtiaz had several heated and prolonged arguments over the matter. But Imtiaz was adamant.
"Saif had no choice but to give in, although Kareena who thought she was a natural choice for Imtiaz after Jab We Met was very hurt about being kept out of a project that's rightfully hers."
When contacted Imtiaz Ali known to speak his mind (he has confessed he signed Kareena for Jab We Met without liking her work in her any of her earlier films) is as usual forthright.
"It's very simple. Deepika suits the role. Kareena who is my absolute favourite, does not. Fortunately or unfortunately my fondness for an actor is not the criteria for casting.
No one knows her worth better than me. I'm sure I'll write a role for her in my next film and happily queue up outside her door for her dates."
Kareena who's known to fight fiercely for her rights was obviously upset about the exclusion from her boyfriend's first production.
"But she has mellowed considerably. All her insecurities seem to have vanished. Proof of this lies in what transpired when Kareena was in Bangkok to spend time with Saif before Christmas.
Not once did she visit Saif's location in Bangkok while he was shooting with Rani Mukherjee for Kunal Kohli," says a source that knows Kareena only too well.