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Tahir Raj Bhasin replaces Ali Zafar in Gauri Shinde's Dear Zindagi

Ali Zafar has reportedly been cast out of the Shah Rukh Khan starrer to avoid the controversy that dogged the release of Karan Johar's Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.

Shriram Iyengar

Karan Johar's troubles over the use of Pakistani artistes in his latest release Ae Dil Hai Mushkil has claimed at least one major victim. Ali Zafar has been cast out of Gauri Shinde's next, Dear Zindagi, and replaced by Tahir Raj Bhasin.

Reports suggest that both producers of the film, Shah Rukh Khan and Karan Johar, opted for Bhasin to avoid a fresh controversy. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil had faced the threat of disruption by an extremist local party in Maharashtra.

Reports had emerged in October that Ali Zafar's role in the film had been cut short. Zafar was playing one of Alia Bhatt's lovers, a rock musician, in the film. Now, Bhasin has been roped in to play the role. Bollywoodlife.com quoted a source as saying, "Yesterday, a dance shoot was underway of the film with Alia Bhatt and Tahir. It's an Arijit Singh number." 

Bhasin had previously played the nemesis of Rani Mukherjee's character in Mardaani (2014), and is playing another villain in the John Abraham-Sonakshi Sinha thriller, Force 2 (2016).

Dear Zindagi is a story about Kaira, a budding cinematographer played by Alia Bhatt, in search of the 'perfect' life. A chance encounter with a counsellor, played by Shah Rukh Khan, helps her gain new insights into finding happiness in her imperfections. 

The film also stars Kunal Kapoor and Aditya Roy Kapur as the other love interests of Alia Bhatt. With its release scheduled for 25 November, Zafar's replacement seems like a strategic move by the producers. Hopefully, it works for them.