Subhash K Jha (DNA; May 16, 2017)

Given their limited box-office clout, Bollywood heroines Shraddha Kapoor and Disha Patani ought to consider taking a reality check rather than a paycheque. The two were approached to star opposite the man-of-the-moment, Prabhas, in his next, Saaho.

It is learnt that the makers wanted a Bollywood actress opposite Prabhas to give their film a pan-India appeal and for that they wanted someone who was beautiful, Indian and emotive. Says an insider, “Shraddha was our first choice. She heard us out and was almost jumping with excitement during the narration. Then, she quoted a price that had the team running out of her residence as fast as possible.”

Shraddha, whose last two films Rock On 2 and Ok Jaanu did not work at the box office, asked for a whopper of a fee from the makers of Saaho. “She wanted Rs 8 crore. We were shocked. We don’t pay that kind of money to actors in Telugu cinema. But she wouldn’t budge. She was like, ‘I love the script and I’d love to work with Prabhas. But the price remains unchanged.’ We fled,” says the insider.

Next, they spoke to Disha. The source adds, “She started her career in Telugu cinema. So we thought she would be keenly interested in the project, as it stars Prabhas.” To their surprise, she played hard to get. “Disha wouldn’t meet us. When she finally did, she said she’d let us know. Later, her team members informed​ us that she liked the script, but would want Rs 5 crore as her fee. We want to know which Bollywood producer pays Disha that kind of money?” asks the irate source. Thereafter, the production team met several other Bollywood actresses, including Kriti Sanon. “But nothing worked out. We are now done with Bollywood actresses. With Prabhas in the project we don’t need them. We will cast a Telugu actress,” concludes the source.