Panic at Balajee…barely hours before Telecast of Ekta's new soap
Thursday, April 26, 2007 13:58 IST
By Subhash K Jha, Santa Banta News Network
/> "We could very well make a soap about what-all we had to go through to get ourselves a female protagonist for Kasturi," laughs Ekta Kapoor.

In hindsight she can afford to see the funny side of what could easily have been a touch-and-go situation. "I was supposed to leave for Tirupathi last week. I had cast a particular girl who I thought was right.

But when we saw the rushes we were aghast. Though she's now doing another soap for us, Tranitra Sahu was all wrong for Kasturi.

Then at the eleventh hour we decided to cast the girl who was playing Kasturi's friend as Kasturi. Having got that in place I was just about to get into the car to leave when someone from my office ran after me to inform me that the girl had refused.

She had exams and she only enough time to play the sister's role. I had a small heart failure. What was I going to do? It was literally hours away from telecast! "

In the middle of the night Ekta got her office to round up around forty girls to audition. "I slept at 8.30 am after auditioning the girls and was up in an hour to zero on on a final choice. I also requested the channel to postpone the delivery of the first episode by a few hours.

We selected a girl took, and left for Tirupathi. My crew shott with the girl we had selected. When I returned I saw the episode. She wasn't happening for me at all. Too plump and too big.

I had an important dinner-meeting with an international company from Hong Kong, and we had no time to find another Kasturi. So the special episode went on air with the wrong girl." The dilemma was, should Balajee go with the wrong casting just because there was no time to change one's mind one more time?

Ekta laughs, "Although the first episode had already been cast we decided to re-cast. I strongly believe characters in long-running serials have their own destiny, and we cannot change it. My gut instinct told me even the third girl chosen for Kasturi was wrong."

It was then that Ekta thought of the girl who plays Palchin in Kasauti Zindagi Kay. "Finally we got our Kasturi on Friday morning. It was like a cloud lifting from our head. Why hadn't we thought of Shubangi earlier?

We're writing her out of Kasauti ... and into the lead of Kasturi. And she's perfect. We reshot and we're going to re-telecast the first episode. I needed a fresh innocent and not necessarily beautiful but homely face belonging to a traditional family, like the one in Buniyaad.

Our reference point for the plot is a girl in our office. What if she had an affair with Salman Khan? The beauty of the plot is in the contrast in background and personality between the couple. Shubangi is perfect....Thank God, all's well that ends well. But if I go through this ordeal one more time I'll be finished."

And now begins the hunt for the male lead in Kasturi.

"Please don't scare me. It isn't as if we can't find newcomers. It's just that they're all to filmy," Ekta sighs.

Oh well, tomorrow is another telecast day.
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