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Kavita Awaasthi, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, March 03, 2013
Smriti Irani has always been cautious  about everything she does. Being a public figure, she’s doubly careful of what she does on television. So when Ekta Kapoor asked her to play a nautch girl (courtesan) in an episode of her TV series Ek Thi Nayika, Smriti asked for a change and Ekta obliged. Now, Sakshi Tanwar will play the character, while Smriti will feature in another story in the same show.

Explaining further, a source says, “A few months ago due to a politician’s comments on Smriti’s acting career, she was involved in a controversy that got blown out of proportion. It seems to have impacted the way she does television now. Smriti’s agreed to do a two-episode story in Ek Thi Nayika for Ekta. But when she learnt that the story chosen for her was about a nautch girl who meets a daayan (witch), she requested Ekta to give her some other story that didn’t involve singing or dancing, to which Ekta agreed.

Moreover, as Smriti is also a politician, she didn’t want to propagate superstition, which is why the story she will be part of is the only one not to feature a daayan.”

Tanuj Garg, CEO Balaji Telefilms, says, “Yes, it’s true. Smriti wasn’t comfortable playing a nautch girl in the series. So now the story will be shot with Sakshi Tanwar.”

The TV series is a prelude to Ekta Kapoor and Vishal Bhardwaj’s co-production Ek Thi Daayan. It is the biggest marketing innovation to promote a movie via a TV series. Eight female actors will be seen in the show for two episodes each, and it will air on Life OK starting mid-March.