Last December, soon after she wrapped up the first season of her chat show, Tere Mere Beach Mein, Farah Khan admitted that she was gearing up for another reality show.
“This one will be on the lines of America’s Next Top Model. Hopefully, it will get us the glam girl we’re looking to cast opposite Akshay (Kumar) in my next film, Tees Maar Khan,” she had said. Even then, Katrina Kaif’s name was making the rounds as a likely choice for the coveted role. But Farah then asserted, “I’d love to work with Katrina, but we’re yet to decide.”
Soon after, reports appeared that Priyanka Chopra had been finalised for the role. A recent report says, while Priyanka had no problems teaming up with Akshay (also the co-producer of the film) again, the latter wasn’t keen on her. So it was decided to opt for another leading lady. Khan said, “From among the established actresses, only Katrina was approached for the role. But the film was to flag off in March and till the end of January, even after several auditions, we had not found anyone who elicited the ‘Wow, mind-blowing!’ response.”
Farah points out that even if they had continued with the hunt, it would have been a tall order to pick up raw talent and groom her in a matter of weeks. “Deepika (Padukone) was a seasoned model, yet she underwent a six-month training in acting and voice modulation at Anupam Kher’s school, before she faced the camera for Om Shanti Om. There was no time for that here,” she argues. All through the hunt, she said, she had been looking for a girl “just like Katrina.” One day, when Farah was chatting with Katrina, the latter told her, “Why are you looking for someone like me, why don’t you just take me?”
The reasoning made sense and since Katrina fit the bill perfectly, Farah jumped at the offer. “Katrina is beautiful, talented and has great screen presence. That I knew already. What I didn’t know was that she also had great comic timing. That was a welcome surprise,” she beams.