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Bhansali meets Shah Rukh amid talk of role in Padmavati

But buzz has it that Sanjay Leela Bhansali has a different script in mind for the superstar

Mayur Lookhar

Last winter, they were at daggers drawn with Sanjay Leela Bhansali accusing Shah Rukh Khan of trying to hog more screens. Despite the initial handicap, Bhansali’s Bajirao Mastani stole a march over Shah Rukh Khan’s Dilwale.

All that, however, was in the past as Sanjay Leela Bhansali called on the superstar on Sunday, giving a fillip to rumours that Shah Rukh Khan may star alongside Ranveer Singh in his next project, a period drama based on the life of Rani Padmini, the central character in the poem Padmavat by Malik Muhammad Jayasi. Sanjay Leela Bhansali had directed a musical on Padmavati in Paris in 2008.

A few days ago, Shah Rukh Khan himself had denied reports that he would be doing a film with Ranveer Singh. According to a report in the newspaper DNA, Bhansali, also known as SLB, met King Khan on Sunday, but it was not Padmavati they discussed and the filmmaker had another script in mind.

Recently, Bhansali had announced that his next film would be based on the life of Rani Padmini. The film is tentatively titled Padmavati. Bhansali wants to release the film next year and the buzz is that he is keen to repeat his successful pair of Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh. Ranveer Singh is currently shooting for Yash Raj Films' love story Befikre, which is slated for a December release. Shah Rukh Khan is said to have a cameo in Befikre.

While fans would love to see Ranveer Singh and SRK together, the prospects of such a tie-up are rather bleak as Shah Rukh Khan is busy with two projects – Imitiaz Ali’s romantic story and Anand L Rai's next, in which he plays a dwarf. Shah Rukh Khan is expected to begin shooting for Imitiaz Ali’s film first, followed by Anand L Rai’s film. With Sanjay Leela Bhansali keen to release Padmavati next year, it seems unlikely that Shah Rukh Khan will play Sultan Alauddin Khilji or King Ratansen to Deepika's Rani Padmini.

Bhansali and Shah Rukh Khan had worked together in Devdas (2002) which bagged all major honours at the Filmfare awards. But five years later they fell out when Khan's Om ShantI Om (2007) clashed with Bhansali's Saawariya. The latter, which marked the debut of Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor, was a disaster while Om Shanti Om went on to become a big hit. When the duo clashed again last year, it was sweet revenge for Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

Shah Rukh Khan’s stock has been in decline with his recent flick Fan not doing too well and earlier releases, though commercially successful, not earning respect. Sanjay Leela Bhansali on the other hand has been on a dream run both as a producer and a director with five out of his last six films succeeding at the box office.