By: Upala KBR Mid-Day
Monday, August 27, 2007
According to Aishwarya Rai"s international agent Simone Sheffield, she was the first and only choice to play Sophie in the Hollywood film Pink Panther 2.
In fact, the casting director Ilene Starger too endorses this fact, denying claims that Shilpa Shetty or Celina Jaitly turned down the project.
Says Sheffield, “Negotiations went on for a month to secure Aishwarya and her dates for Pink Panther 2."
Adds Starger, “We did not offer the role to anyone other than Aishwarya. Period. Ash was the actress I envisioned when I read the script. Her intelligence, beauty and sophistication are just what the role requires. She fits in wonderfully with our fantastic ensemble cast, and all of us are thrilled to work with her."
As for news about Shilpa and Celina also being approached for the part, Sheffield caustically says, “A couple of secondary actresses claim to have refused the role Ash is starring in. It"s sad. If either of them had been offered a role in such a big budget international film, they"d have jumped at the opportunity instead of passing it up."
Apparently, the actresses said they refused the film because the role was not substantial. “Let me clarify that Pink Panther 2 is a wonderful script and Ash plays a very important character in the film," says Sheffield.
Last week, Ash was in Paris shooting for the film alongside Steve Martin (who reprises his role as Inspector Jacques Clouseau) and Andy Garcia (Vincente).
Denying rumours that Ash chose not to attend an unveiling of her waxwork in New York recently, Sheffield says, “Ash was never confirmed to appear at the unveiling, nor did we confirm her appearance on a late night talk show during her brief visit to Los Angeles.
However, she did attend the India Splendor event celebrating Independent India"s 60th anniversary."
Following the Paris schedule, Ash has returned to Mumbai to complete Ashutosh Gowariker"s Jodha Akbar and Ram Gopal Varma"s Sarkar Raj.
She will resume filming for Pink Panther 2 in Boston next month.