Ever since Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif proved to be successful as an on-screen couple in films like Raajneeti (2010) and Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani (2009), makers have been trying to cast them together. While selecting actors for Barfi!, even director Anurag Basu had thought of Katrina and almost managed to rope her in for the part.
Among the three main characters, she was offered the lead role opposite Ranbir. After the narration, Katrina agreed to do the film not only for the part, but also for the fact that it would give her a chance to work with Ranbir again.
Anurag recalls, "I wanted to cast them (Ranbir and Katrina). They look nice together. I was glad when Katrina said ‘yes’ as she was my first choice for the role. I had approached her for the character that Ileana finally ended up doing."
Unfortunately, soon after confirming her part, reports revealed that Katrina backed out. She wasn’t sure she wanted to do a two-heroine film and wanted to focus on solo lead movies instead. However, officially Katrina chock-o-block schedule was held responsible for her decision. "Things didn’t fall into place with Katrina because Rockstar (2011) got delayed, which ultimately was affecting Barfi!’s schedule. Therefore, we had to reschedule everybody’s dates, which took time. Things clicked with Ileana and I’m glad she came on board," says Anurag.
Interestingly, producers UTV Motion Pictures were so impressed with Ileana that they signed her for a three-film deal after she wrapped up Anurag’s movie. Currently, she’s being considered for a role opposite Shahid Kapoor in the remake of the Tamil film, Vettai.
In Barfi!, Shruti (Ileana) falls for the deaf and mute Barfi (Ranbir), but due to parental pressure, she marries someone else. Years later, she meets Barfi only to see that he’s in love with the autistic Jhilmil (Priyanka).