When the news of Priyanka Chopra being a part of Salman Khan starrer Bharat was announced, it left the movie buffs and the stars’ fans in a state of frenzy. The movie was going to be Priyanka’s comeback to Bollywood after two long years.  However, when director Ali Abbas Zafar announced that the Quantico actress has left the film, everyone was shocked.

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As we all know that after Priyanka Chopra walked out from Salman Khan starrer Bharat to get engaged with Nick Jonas, Katrina Kaif bagged the lead role in Salman Khan’s next. But there were several reports stating that Salman Khan is upset with Priyanka’s exit and has sworn to never do a film with her again. But now, Ali has cleared the air on such rumours.

In a recent interview, Ali talked in lengths about Priyanka’s decision of leaving the film at the last minute. “She is a dear friend, so I can’t feel hurt or angry with her. Priyanka also came with very valid reasons and I couldn’t say no to them. Acting and directing is our profession. Whatever is beyond that is our personal life.”, Ali said.

He further mentioned that for a while, he had sleepless nights. “Somebody who is part of the fraternity needs to value your professional as well as your personal life. We can’t be insensitive and I am not that kind of a person. I understood her point and where she was coming from. Obviously, I was unnerved and then I had a couple of sleepless nights.”

When Priyanka left the movie, Katrina came to Ali’s rescue. The director said that Katrina did tell him something that eventually came true. “It’s bizarre, but let me share this. When we finished Tiger Zinda Hai, Katrina smiled and told me that I am going to miss her on my next film. At that time, I was quite clear that Priyanka is going to do Bharat. Katrina laughed and told me that she will find some way to be a part of the film. Now she is a part of Bharat, so maybe it was destiny.”

When asked if there is any truth about lead actor Salman Khan being angry at her ‘unprofessionalism’ for leaving the film 10 days before she was supposed to begin shoot for it, Ali said, “People will only talk about such a film because they know that it will snowball into a big story. A lot is being written about it, even the fact that I shot a song with twenty dancers or five hundred dancers becomes news. I guess when a lead actress moves on from a film because of professional or personal reasons; it makes for a big story.”

He further added, “This is my third film with Salman and my relationship with him is like that of a younger brother. He has always let me take my own decisions when it comes to casting. I share my thoughts with him because of the sheer experience that he comes with. I cross-check things with him. In fact, I do it with other actors as well. I will hear what he says, but the final call is always mine.”

“I don’t think we are so shallow that we will be angry with someone or term that unprofessional. When people don’t know about the real story, they tend to interpret it in their own way. The decisions taken were solely mine. All the stories that have been doing the rounds are completely baseless. There is no bad blood between any of us.”, Ali quipped.

Katrina Kaif is now the lead actress in Bharat. Apart from her, the film also stars Disha Patani, Tabu and Sunil Grover, among others. It looks like Katrina Kaif was destined to be a part of filmmaker Ali Abbas Zafar’s film Bharat!

Produced by Atul Agnihotri, Bharat will release on Eid 2019.