Director-producer Karan Johar, who is launching Mahesh Bhatt's daughter Alia in his upcoming film "Student Of The Year", says the newcomer wasn't the first choice for the movie. The 19-year-old debutante plays the role of a rich brat named Shanaya Singhania in the film, which also stars newbies Varun Dhawan and Siddharth Malhotra.
"We screen tested over 400 girls from across Mumbai and other cities. This is when Niranjan Iyengar told me that Mahesh Bhatt's daughter Alia was raring to go and she could just be the right fit for the film. I did her test and was convinced that she had this X factor that could work for the film," Johar told PTI. And though Alia was fit for the role, Karan says the only problem was that she was on a heavier side, which didn't set well with the vision of his female protagonist.
"The only thing that I had to ask her was to lose weight. Since she had a few extra kilos on her, she was assigned a dietician as well as trainer. She worked for full three months and came back all slim and ready to face the camera," he said. With the movie, Johar, 40, is returning to the director's chair after a gap of more than two years. He last directed Kajol-Shahrukh Khan starrer "My Name Is Khan".
The director said though he wasn't sure about his leading lady he was sure about Siddharth and Varun from the start. "Siddharth Malhotra as well as Varun Dhawan had assisted me in 'My Name Is Khan' and were involved in the process of production right throughout. Moreover they also observed me quite closely as a director. "What I like about them is that they are totally different from each other, be in terms of personality or energy. I realised that they had the faces that were for cinema and it was about time that they were seen on the big screen," Johar said.
The film is set to hit the screens on October 19 and Johar said he is happy to have worked with a team of newcomers and is completely satisfied with each of their performances. "I am happy that each of my three protagonists has given his/her best account. As a production house we provided them the right infrastructure so that they are trained for the job but beyond that it is one's individual hard work," he added.