Alia Bhatt is all set to star in Meghna Gulzar’s film ‘Raazi’, which releases on 11th May, and we’re sure you did not know that Shah Rukh Khan and Akshay Kumar were linked to the project before her.
Harinder Sikka, author of ‘Calling Sehmat’ and presenter of ‘Raazi’ revealed to Mid-Day, "In 2009, Samar Khan [filmmaker] came to seek the rights for a movie adaptation. It was for Red Chillies Entertainment. I didn't know it was SRK's company. But Samar objected to my demand of Rs 2 crore for the rights. He also wanted to change the storyline, which I wasn't okay with. It was then that Samar made a distasteful statement - 'In Bollywood, we can always make a film and give you a credit in the end.' I was so hurt that I wrote a letter to SRK and he was gracious enough to ensure that Samar Khan sent an apology within 10 days."
Speaking about Akshay, he added, "I met Akshay Kumar during the screenings of Nanak Shah Fakir and wanted to rope him [as a producer]. It was he who invited Meghna Gulzar for a meeting about this book at his home. Instinctively, I knew that I had found my film's director."
"I did not want Akshay's money, though he was more than gracious. Akshay had to give his dates to another film but remained a constant support for me emotionally. After Akshay pulled out, Pretti Sahni (Jungle Pictures) called me to tell that she was tracking the book," said Sikka.
On his deal with Junglee Pictures, he claimed, "They weren't happy with the conditions I was putting. They felt that the money I was quoting was exorbitant. Little did they know that I had promised whatever money I make from the book and the movie, will go for charity. The book was too strong and the story too good to be missed out. I was clear that Alia Bhatt had to play the lead and Meghna would be the director. At one point, Gulzar saab told me it was time I let go of the material. But eventually, the producers kept each of these promises."
Speaking about real-life Sehmat’s nod for Alia, Sikka concluded, "Sehmat's way of saying yes or no was through silence. When I suggested that Alia play her, she said a silent yes. She wanted Alia to play her. Meghna made me meet Alia at Dharma's office in Mumbai. Only I could have told her what Sehmat was all about. It was a long delightful meeting. To her credit, Alia is sharp and caught everything. It's a life-changing role and she delved into it without qualms. I saw that my book was being respected. When the film was nearly done, Alia Bhatt asked me if she had lived up to my expectation of Sehmat's part."