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Why did Aditya Chopra choose Vaani Kapoor as Befikre's leading lady?

The filmmaker gives an insight into Kapoor's character of Shyra Gill in Befikre and reveals why the Shuddh Desi Romance actress made the cut.

Mayur Lookhar

If only through statements on social media, we are getting to hear a lot more from reclusive filmmaker Aditya Chopra. In the latest post on the Befikre Twitter page, the director has given more than an insight into Vaani Kapoor's character in the film, Shyra Gill.

Despite having Indian parents, Shyra is French for she was born and brought up in Paris. She works as a guide mainly for Indian tourists as she can speak the desi language. What strikes you about Shyra is that before meeting Dharam (Ranveer Singh) she has had 42 boyfriends. She jumps into each relationship thinking of it as an adventure. But beneath all the French madness lies an Indian heart. 

In his candid statement, Chopra revealed how some were surprised by the choice of Kapoor for the role. “I don’t blame them as I was surprised by my choice too," he wrote. "When I finished writing the script, the first thing that came instinctively to me was that Shyra should be played by someone new, someone who did not have a very strong identity with the Indian audience. I felt that this will help them believe that this girl is truly from Paris. When Shanoo, my casting director, was finding a new Shyra for me, I thought of giving Vaani a shot for the role.”

The director was moved by the enthusiasm of Kapoor, but he still wasn’t convinced that she was the right person to play Shyra. 

“Vaani’s self-belief and patience in waiting for the right role had greatly impressed me, but I was not sure about her for Shyra. As I was not happy with the new girls that were being shown to me, I took a long shot and told Shanoo to audition Vaani on a series of Hollywood rom-com series. I just wanted to see if she could transform [herself] into someone completely different and surprise me. She blew me away and I found my Shyra. The character of Shyra and casting of Vaani were the two biggest risks of my film. Today, they are my biggest strengths,” the director added.

Befikre hits the screens on Friday, 9 December.