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Jun 29, 2011 at 05:23pm IST

'Heroine' Ash out, what's next for Bhandarkar?

New Delhi: After a grand first look release at 64th Cannes Film Festival, Madhur Bhandarkar’s self proclaimed magnum opus – Heroine – has been stalled due to Aishwarys Rai Bachchan’s pregnancy.

The announcement from the first family of Bollywood came through a tweet from the Big B and Bhandarkar was reportedly in jitters. After apparently spending four crores on the project already, the director now must either stall shooting till Rai is fit enough to return to the sets or choose another heroine and start from scratch.

According to media reports, UTV has said in a press release that the shooting has been stopped for the script requires the female protagonist to smoke, be under the waterfall and run and it is vital for Rai to be in good health now. The grueling demands of the movie that was supposed to wrap up by the 30th of July does not seem to be making any allowances for the pregnant star. The house has declared that she is no longer a part of the movie.

'Heroine' Ash out, what's next for Bhandarkar?

After spending four crores on the project, the director now must either stall shooting or restart the project.

There have been loads of speculations about who may replace her, with the rumor scales dipping towards Priyanka Chopra, who has worked with Bhandarkar in ‘Fashion’. She was apparently rather keen to be a part of the project and the word goes that she approached the director for the role. Priyanka has however put the gossip to rest by tweeting that she would love to work with Bhandarkar again- but this is not it. She wished the star and the film all the best and the matter was laid to rest.

The movie is about the life of a once successful actress called Mahi Khanna and is loosely based on the life of divas such as Marilyn Monroe and Madhubala.

The movie has been controversy plagued from the start when apparently Kareena Kapoor was approached for the role and she turned it down some parts of the script had uncanny resemblances to her own life. And reports also say that Kareena was not comfortable sharing romantic screen space with five separate men.

The casting for the young male lead, besides Arjun Rampal, was also a matter of huge speculation and gossip till Arunoday Singh, of ‘Yeh Saali Zindaagi’ fame, bagged the role.

Media reports claim that Bhandarkar is rather depressed for having to stall the progress of a film that was already 50 per cent done. And he apparently has not congratulated Rai for the good news. Rai on the other hand is supposedly rather upset with Bhandarkar’s single-minded obsession with the movie and the schedule.

Rai is scheduled to deliver in November and she has given the project time till the 30th of July. If dates are to be calculated, Aishwarya must have been well aware of her pregnancy and should have informed the director about it well ahead critical time. With one month to go for the shooting to finish – the announcement seems rather harsh for the production house.

Even if she manages to wrap up the scenes, she will be unavailable for the post-production. It is believed that the scene that requires her to run has already been shot and she can rather easily complete the rest.

The director obviously thinks otherwise. While Rai is supposed to take a sabbatical from Bollywood post the shooting, Bhandarkar is worried about her look in the movie.

Bhandarkar is known for National Award winning films like ‘Traffic Signal’, ‘Fashion’, ‘Chandni Bar’ and ‘Page 3’. He is a critically acclaimed director and every movie of his rides on exceedingly high expectations and ‘Heroine’ – which looks critically in to the massiv world of glitz, glam and money – was no different. Besides the reported four crore sum, much more was pegged on the movie.

Though as one knows, Labor Laws do not allow an employer to fire an employee on the grounds of pregnancy. However in this case, the weight lies heavy on Bhandarkar who will potentially face severe losses. Perhaps it is time for a ‘pregnancy clause’ in Bollywood agreements.