Sanjay Leela Bhansali has made up his mind regarding his next after the Salman Khan starrer Inshallah got shelved last month. And it's not a film with Shah Rukh Khan, Ranbir Kapoor or Hrithik Roshan as speculated. The filmmaker who has lately been making historical magnum opus like Goliyon Ki Rasleela: Ram Leela, Bajirao Mastani and Padmavat has gone back to the genre once again for his next directorial.
Peepingmoon.com sources have confirmed that Bhansali's next is based on the life of the notorious female gangster Gangubai Kothewali and Alia Bhatt who was paired opposite Salman in Inshallah has been roped in to play the titular role. Said to be the cinematic adaptation of a chapter from Hussain Zaidi's novel, Mafia Queens of Mumbai, this big-budget biographical drama will see Alia playing the most powerful character of her career. The actress has signed the film and will start prepping for her role right after she wraps up her father Mahesh Bhatt's Sadak 2.
"Sanjay Leela Bhansali was earlier planning to make Inshallah happen with another big star but that didn't materialize and hence he decided to go back to Gangubai's fascinating story which he has been planning for several years now. Alia Bhatt was the ultimate choice for Gangubai's role as her calendar is left open since the Inshallah fiasco," a source close to the development told us. Bhansali is apparently so impressed with Alia's test shoot during Inshallah that he's very sure Alia would pull off Gangubai's character to the T.
Alia Bhatt (L) and Gangubai (R)
"The basic script for Gangubai has been ready for a long time and Bhansali is tweaking it a bit now to fit Alia in the role. They have already started the pre-production work and will begin constructing sets next month in Mumbai. The shooting will most likely kick off early November," the source said further adding that the film will focus on the lives of the commercial sex workers and Gangubai Kothewali who was one of the most dreaded pimps of Kamathipura – the red light area of Mumbai.
Gangubai was earlier supposed to star Priyanka Chopra in the titular role but she has got busy with her Hollywood commitments which left Bhansali with no option but to cast Alia is undoubtedly the most popular and extremely talented actress from the current generation. In a recent interview, Priyanka admitted that she is a fan of Bhansali but neither she has signed any Hindi film nor she has any idea about Gangubai.
The official announcement is likely to come out anytime post September 29 as Bhansali is waiting for the Shraadh period (an inauspicious period between Ganesh festivities and Navratras) to get over to begin working on this special project.