Britain-born actress Katrina Kaif, who has carved a niche for herself in Bollywood with five hits in a row, will now be seen with Ranbir Kapoor in Prakash Jha's political thriller Rajneeti. The director says they make a perfect pair.
The political saga also stars Ajay Devgan and Manoj Bajpai. Katrina will play Ranbir's love interest.
"I needed an actress who would look convincing as an intelligent, modern and cultured girl of today. Katrina fitted the bill perfectly. She also looks perfectly matched with Ranbir. Not too many of the top leading ladies are compatible with Ranbir," Jha said.
"Katrina is versatile enough to look perfectly matched with Salman [Khan], Akshay [Kumar] and Ranbir. I also like her focussed attitude to her career. Now that she has proved herself successful, there's a hunger to prove herself in roles and projects that aren't considered Katrina's kingdom," the director said.
Katrina is sure making up for lost time and space with Ranbir. After having had her track cut out of Yash Raj Film's Bachna Ae Haseeno, the duo first signed Rajkumar Santoshi's Ajab Prem Ki Gazab Kahani and now they are together in Rajneeti.
For both the actors, Jha's film is an experience very different from the kind of cinema they've done so far.
Jha, who has made gritty political dramas like Gangaajal and Apaharan, says Katrina's role wouldn't be a mere romantic foil to Ranbir.
"Not at all. She has very powerful dramatic moments in the plot. This role would require Katrina to put all her skills into the active mode."
The fact that Ranbir and Katrina share the same secretary has also expedited her entry into what promises to be a different, more gritty kind of cinema.
Rajneeti has an interesting array of star and actors.
Recently, Vivek Oberoi, who was to play one of the leads in this modern day rendering of Mahabharat set in a political dynasty akin to the Gandhis, opted out. Arjun Rampal has now replaced him.
"No one is making multi-starrers any more. I think Rajneeti will be the only one in the near future," said Jha.