While it has been reported that Ameesha Patel walked out of Ashok Kohli's Rajdhani Express starring Leander Paes, insiders insist that her exit had to do with her close friendship with Sanjay Dutt's wife Manyata.
It is common knowledge that the new Mrs Dutt and Mrs Paes, (who was formerly Mrs Dutt) do not share a good equation. And the actress became collateral damage and was ousted from Leander's debut film.
Meanwhile, Ameesha has been telling people that she walked out of the film because the part required her to do steamy scenes with the tennis ace, which she wasn't comfortable doing. This didn't ring true because the actress has never shied away from dare-and-bare roles. Paes later clarified in a recent interview that there are no intimate scenes in the film.
Wife says no
It all started when Leander learnt about Patel's dosti with Maana from his wife Rhea. She expressed her misgivings to her husband, who in turn told his producers Ashok Kohli and Manoj Kejriwal.
"They all felt that in the best interests of the film, she should leave the project and be replaced by a newcomer without any contacts in B-town." The tennis star was irritated when she started planting stories of her walking out from the film because of steamy sex scenes.
Adds an insider, "Leander hasn't met Ameesha so there's neither friendship nor animosity towards her but her rumours were hurting him, his film and his image. He's a national celebrity with a clean image and wouldn't act in questionable film."
A source from the production says there are no intimate scenes, as there's no leading lady in a romantic role, "RE is like A Wednesday or Rang De Basanti. In RE, the main character is Leander and the pivotal character is Paresh Rawal."
Producer-director Kohli states, "Ameesha and I had discussed it and mutually decided to part ways. I don't know why she said she walked out because of the steamy, intimate scenes, as there aren't any at all. We decided to part ways as she comes from mainstream films and I am a debutant director working on a film with an ensemble cast. I told her we should do a film where she has a better role."
However, he denies that Leander asked for her to be replaced.
"He is a thorough professional and gentleman and hasn't interfered once in the entire process of filmmaking. He's a sportsman and brings a different kind of discipline to the film."
Amisha remained unavailable for comment.