“Sonakshi Sinha leaving Mubarakan was for the best” – Anees Bazmee

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When the prolific writer-director Anees Bazmee began directing his new comedy Mubarakan, the film starred Sonakshi Sinha opposite Arjun Kapoor. But it seems Sinha and Kapoor do not see eye to eye. Sonakshi opted out leaving the project short of a leading lady.

Now that the film is complete, Anees is not the least bitter about the past. “This was not the first time when I was faced with a casting crisis. Everytime I’ve been thrown into a last-minute panic situation, the replacement actor has proven to be the ideal choice. So it is this time too. Ileana D’Cruz who came in Sonakshi’s place is so suited to the role I wonder why I thought of anyone else. She has many years of experience in South Indian films. She has brought so much to the film.”

Talking about the other leading lady in Mubarakan, Anees’ voice lights up. “Athiya Shetty’s father Suniel Shetty is my friend and I have seen her as child running around their house. Athiya has so much potential. Agreed her debut in Hero was not favourable. But a film not doing well is attributable to many factors. I believe Athiya has a long way to go.”

Anees is gung-ho about the guys in the cast too. “Anil Kapoor, I’ve worked with before. He is so enthusiastic about his work, it’s contagious. This was my first time with Arjun. Though Anil and Arjun are chacha-bhatija, on the sets they were two professional actors working on their scenes. Those who think this industry is driven by nepotism should see how professional this uncle-nephew is on the sets.” Is Kangna Ranaut watching?

It is rare to come across a multi-starrer in present times. Mubarakan is that rare flick. But to Anees there are three superstars in Mubarakan, “The script, the script and the script.”

– Bollywood Hungama