Bollywood star Deepika Padukone, who is on cloud nine with the box office success of Padmaavat, will soon start shooting her next with ace filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj. The movie, which also stars Irrfan Khan, is based on gangster Sapna Didi aka Rahima Khan aka Ashraf Khan, the notorious mafia queen from the 80s. A recent Indian Express report claims that the film has been titled Rani.
Deepika has already started preparing for the role. The daily quoted a source as saying, “Deepika has already started the preparation for her role of a mafia queen and she is quite particular that she gets the tonality and body language as close to the late Sapna Didi who was once a terror for other gangsters. The shoot will begin by early March in Mumbai. After Padmaavat, her fans will love to see her in a whole new avatar of a lady don and hence she is really working meticulously to strike the right chord.”
Reportedly, Honey Trehan was supposed to direct the film while Vishal was to produce it. However, certain creative differences arose and Vishal stepped in to don the director’s hat. “Due to different artistic visions of the film, Honey (Trehan) and I jointly came to the decision that it would be best if I took over as director and saw it through to the end,” Bhardwaj said in a statement.
Irrfan Khan plays Deepika’s onscreen husband who is also a gangster named Kaliya. Both the actors have already shared screen space together in Piku. Vishal Bharadwaj and Irrfan too have earlier worked together on Maqbool and Saat Khoon Maaf. However, the upcoming project will be Deepika’s maiden film with Bharadwaj.
The film is said to go on floors next month and is slated to hit screens in October 2018. This film will be reportedly based on S Hussain Zaidi's book Mafia Queens of Mumbai.
Several media reports also claim that Priyanka Chopra too may play a character based on one of the women in Zaidi's book, but in a separate film. According to a Deccan Chronicle report, Priyanka will play gangster Gangubai Kothewali, aka The Madame Of Kamathipura, in a film to be directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. "Sanjay is as fascinated by Gangubai’s life as Vishal is by Ashraf Khan. The principal casting is crucial. Both the directors have other projects before taking on Zaidi’s women gangsters’ stories. Vishal has locked in Sanjay’s current favourite Deepika Padukone while Sanjay may sign Priyanka Chopra to play Gangubai," said the source speaking to Deccan Chronicle.