BY ANUJ RADIA

After much speculation about Priyanka Chopra’s Big Bollywood comeback, it has finally been confirmed that the Quantico star will be the lead heroine for Ali Abbas Zafar’s forthcoming film Bharat, opposite Salman Khan.

On joining the Bharat family, Priyanka Chopra shares, “Bharat it is! I’m looking forward to begin shooting this film and working with Salman and Ali again after a considerable time. I’ve learnt a lot from them in our previous collaborations and am excited to see what this one has to offer. I’m also looking forward to working with Alvira and Atul and the entire team of Bharat. To all my well-wishers who’ve been so patient and supportive… thank you for your constant support and I’ll see you all at the movies!”

Commenting on this confirmation, director Ali Abbas Zafar says: “Bharat is Priyanka’s homecoming to Bollywood after having proven her range as a performer in Hollywood films and a blockbuster global TV show. Bharat is rooted in India and its culture despite it spanning over 70 years and set across various countries of the world. Priyanka is the biggest Indian artist internationally and she is a perfect fit for the film. Priyanka brings in outstanding acting as well as incredible international appeal to make the scale of the film bigger and even more global.”

Ali Abbas Zafar and producer Atul Agnihotri travelled to New York to meet Priyanka and gave her the narration of the film. Priyanka loved Ali’s script and she was convinced immediately to do the film. Salman and Priyanka will be teaming up after 10 years making the association all the more special.

Atul Agnihotri who is collaborating with Priyanka for the first time shares, “We are all very happy to welcome Priyanka to the Bharat family. We couldn’t have asked for anyone better than her to play this role.”

Ali, who has previously directed Priyanka in Gunday, adds: “We have found the soul of Bharat in Priyanka Chopra. As the love story in Bharat is very mature and quite subtle, we needed an actor who could portray this in the best possible way. Her character is the soul of the film, and throughout, she stands shoulder to shoulder with Salman Khan in the journey. She is the catalyst for the film’s most important turning point.”

Meanwhile, this is the third time that Salman Khan and Ali have teamed up. The record-breaking superstar-director duo has earlier made the blockbusters Sultan and Tiger Zinda Hai.

Bharat has started its preparation in London, after which director Ali Abbas Zafar will move to Spain, Poland, Portugal, and Malta.

The film will feature Salman Khan sporting five different looks spanning 60 years, wherein a crucial part will showcase the actor in his late 20s, looking much leaner and younger. It is believed that Salman Khan will recreate his Karan Arjun look which has created immense excitement amongst the audience.

Directed by Ali Abbas Zafar, produced by Atul Agnihotri’s Reel Life Production Pvt. Ltd and Bhushan Kumar’s T-Series releasing Eid 2019.