The news that took the film industry by surprise this week was the casting of choreographer-director and TV hostess Farah Khan as the female lead in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Shirin Farhad. Boman Irani will play the male lead in the film to be directed by Sanjay’s sister, Bela Sehgal.
The casting assumes significance for two reasons: firstly, Farah is not an actress; secondly, Farah and Bhansali had got into an ugly verbal spat in the media three-and-a-half years ago when the former’s Om Shanti Om and the latter’s Saawariya were about to be released (on Diwali 2007). Sanjay thought of casting Farah since she is a half-Parsi and ‘Shirin Farhad’ is the timeless love story of two Persians.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali is also producing a film jointly with UTV and dress designer Shabinaa Khan, in which Akshay Kumar and Sonakshi Sinha play the lead roles. Titled Rowdy Rathore, it is to be directed by Sanjay himself.