It would have been the casting coup of the year. Lara Dutta as Paro and Esha Deol whose mother Hema Malini had been cast in a shelved version of Devdas directed by Gulzar, as Chandramukhi.
Alas. the story which did the rounds of the Lara-Esha combo (last seen together in the shiver giver Kaal) last week has no basis.
Pritish Nandy who spearheads the booming Pritish Nandy Communications, informs, "It"s true that Shiney Ahuja and Lara Dutta have been confirmed for the roles of Devdas and Paro. But we're yet to cast Chandramukhi. The reports of Esha Deol being signed for the part are completely untrue."So who will finally play the danseuse-courtesan Chandramukhi from Saratchandra Chatterjee's classic Hindi novel? The part has been done to immortal grace earlier by Vyjanthimala and Madhuri Dixit in the two versions of Devdas by Bimal Roy and Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
Says director Sudhir Mishra, "I'm very keen on Soha Ali Khan. My Chandramukhi isn't a dancer at all. She plays an investment banker. Having said that let me tell you Soha is good dancer. Watch her in my Khoya Khoya Chand and you'll know."
Sudhir and Soha have struck a splendid rapport after Khoya Khoya Chand. The role was actually earmarked for Vidya Balan who opted out. "Soha is a revelation. I'd work with her any time," exults Sudhir.
It is quite apparent that PNC wouldn't like to commit themselves to admitting of Soha's presence in Sudhir Mishra's Devdas until fully confirmed.