By Subhash K Jha
Mallika Sherwat has been shown the door by Sachin Joshi who's all set to star in his post-debut film directed by Ankush Bhatt.
Azaan's leading man Sachin Joshi has discovered that Mallika Sherawat who agreed to play the lead opposite him in the edgy Mumbai underworld thriller Mumbai Mirror, doesn't come cheap. Or easy.
Having paid the selfstyled international star a whopping signing fee (approximately Rs 50 lakhs) to be part of the film Joshi found out that Mallika had a number of reservations about the film, and that included the director.
In a panic Joshi and his crew have spent a large part of the last month trying to convince the Diva that the project is worthy of her august presence.
To no avail.
The deal has fallen through. And now we hear Mallika has walked out of the project. Since the shooting in far-off exotic places was to begin in May Joshi and his crew are stuck for a leading lady. He is now looking at a last-minute replacement and asking for his money back from Sherawat.
A source close to the project told us all the details. "She is not willing to return the money and Sachin is being advised to adjust the amount with a later project. Sachin Joshi is a producer who can afford to buy himself the co-star he wants.
He wanted Mallika in this earthy edgy take on Mumbai's underworld. He had agreed to pay her a reported Rs 2 crores for 15 days work. After getting get her to sign on the dotted line the clothes dates, etc were worked out. "
That's where the fastidious Ms Sherawat stuck.
Says the source, "Mallika had reservations about the director Ankush Bhatt. She felt he hadn't proved himself yet. Joshi felt otherwise. He offered to show Mallika the director's first film Bhendi Bazar Inc.
But she was unconvinced. Then she had reservations about her role. So far Mallika has only played urban glamorous characters.
In Mumbai Mirror she was cast as an earthy gritty woman of the street. It's a character and a world that she wasn't familiar with. Mallika wondered aloud if she would be able to pull it off. "
Sachin Joshi tried to play down the stress level. "Yes, Mallika does have reservations regarding her role and the director. She wasn't sure if Ankush would be able to deliver. I showed her Ankush's first film Bhendi Bazaar Inc.
You see, Mumbai Mirror goes into an action space completely different from the stylized action that I did in Azaan. It's like Ram Gopal Varma's Satya meets Anees Bazmi's Ready. And I knew Ankush was right to direct it. "
Sachin laughs, "The whole film is set in Mumbai. It's called Mumbai Mirror because it reflects the harsh reality of the city under the polished surface. We were hunting for a title when my eyes fell on the popular tabloid in my hands. Mumbai Mirror was perfect. "