Why Ali Abbas Zafar chose Anushka Sharma over Parineeti Chopra for Sultan

In an interview with a daily, the director confessed that Anushka was not the first choice to play Sultan's love interest in the film.

Shriram Iyengar

Salman Khan's Sultan is one of the most awaited films of the year. The film will see the actor portray the role of a down-and-out wrestler who returns to the ring. The film also stars Anushka Sharma, who plays Aarfa, a wrestler and Sultan's love interest. 

While Salman's physical transformation made the fans go crazy, Anushka's appearance almost stole the limelight. 

Speaking to a national channel, the director Ali Abbas Zafar mentioned that the NH10 actor was not the first choice to play Aarfa. Kangana Ranaut and Parineeti Chopra were among the names that were doing the rounds for the role before Anushka got the chance. 

According to Ali, "The girl’s part in this film, it was imperative to get that right. For the longest time we wanted a new girl, I want to be very honest about that. We auditioned a lot of girls and we didn’t find the girl that we wanted for that character. Then we started toying with the idea of casting one of the current actresses who could pull off this character...Moreover, a girl also had to physically look a certain way because she is an athlete, and she had to be a good actress who could match the standard of Salman Khan. And if she was a star it’s even better. That is how after almost spending two-three months time figuring out who we want, we found Anushka." 

The director also shed light on how Anushka had to go through a mental transformation to embody the character of Aarfa. He said, " In the film, when she fights international tournaments, she is very good. Wrestling is a sport of strength, but it’s also a sport of technique. You have to use your mind and you have to use the right technique and Anushka nailed that." 

The trailer scenes of the NH10 actor showing off her wrestling moves was among the highlights of the film's trailer. On his decision to leave out Parineeti, Ali said, "All I will say is, when we were boiling down to things, there was a talk of Parineeti, because she had a body type. But I wanted Anushka because I just felt that. At the end of the day, as a director you can only go by your gut and instinct. And I went with that." 

It is hard to disagree with the director after watching Anushka pull off those moves in the trailer. One can only hope the film does just as well on its release. 

Sultan is set to release on Eid this year.