It was supposed to be the casting coup of the season. Lara Dutta and Priyanka Chopra together as sisters in Dharmesh Darshan's upcoming Aap Ki Khatir.
The two former beauty queens and friends were coming together after their joint debut in Suneel Darshan's blockbuster Andaaz.
Then what happened? Because Lara decided to do a disappearing act from Dharmesh's film, the panic-stricken director approached Amisha Patel to take Lara's place. Amisha has graciously agreed to step into Lara's place. Otherwise, Aap Ki Khatir would have been in serious trouble.
Amisha Patel stepped into Lara's shoes in Aap Ki Khatir
What could be the reason for the ever-professional Lara's change of mind? The official reason given is the usual date problems. But according to those in the know, there's more to Lara's 'no' than meets the eye.
"She obviously got insecure about being in the same frame as Priyanka, who has made a lot more headway since they first started together. Lara's friends are constantly reminding her of Priyanka's wise moves as compared with Lara's own rather shabby career choices," a source close to the project said.
"When the two started together doing Andaaz, they were neck-to-neck. Lara couldn't be happy with how far she got left behind. Coming together for another movie would only have reminded people of the two actresses' differing star value," the source added.
On the other hand, Priyanka seems clueless about the reason for the eleventh-hour change. "Lara and I have never had any problems. In fact, I'll always cherish how much she did for me when I was just starting out. And we had great fun doing Andaaz together," said Priyanka.
"I was really looking forward to working with her again. Since we were playing sisters we had lots and lots of scenes together.
"Though I regret the change, I really enjoyed working with Amisha. Dharmesh is such a ladies' director and a truly dependable friend," she added.