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When Priyanka Chopra Was Replaced By Aishwarya Rai To Play Umrao Jaan

Did you know, Priyanka Chopra was initially supposed to play Umrao Jaan in JP Dutta's film? She was replaced by Aishwarya Rai. Read on

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When Priyanka Chopra Was Replaced By Aishwarya Rai To Play Umrao Jaan
Priyanka Chopra’s memoir Unfinished where she has spoken about her initial struggle in the film industry, reminded me of an unpleasant experience that she went through in her early days in Bollywood. I was a mute spectator to this. This was the time when she was eagerly reaching out to influential filmmakers. One of them was none other than J P Dutta who was riding high as a Movie Moghul fashioning war epics like Border and LOC Kargil. JP, a dear friend, now wanted a change of image. He wanted to remake Umrao Jaan. I recommended Priyanka Chopra. He met her, liked her and decided she was his Umrao Jaan.

A big break for a newcomer. Priyanka began her preparations. She took Kathak lessons for the dances and began reading up on  the era that Rekha occupied so effortlessly in Muzaffar Ali’s Umrao Jaan . Now it was Priyanka’s turn. Before she could digest the  fact that she was stepping into THE Rekha’s dainty jootees, she was replaced.

Overnight, Aishwarya Rai, who had become a known face in the industry by then, was brought on board for this film. I remember Priyanka’s disappointment. Her father had rung me up asking why this happened. I had no clue. But later, Priyanka replaced Aishwarya Rai in Rohan Sippy’s Pocketmaar and that too overnight.

Image source: SpotboyEarchives
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