Deepika Padukone and Salman Khan
They won big at the awards.Varinder Chawla

Director-producer Karan Johar is yet to confirm the female lead for his most ambitious project "Shuddhi", but speculations are rife that Deepika Padukone has been finalised for the project. 

After months of speculations, Johar on Wednesday confirmed that Salman Khan has been signed in for the male lead role, which was initially offered to Hrithik Roshan.

And now there are reports that, Johar has reportedly roped in Padukone for his dream project.

Apparently, the "Chennai Express" actor told Johar that she would work on her schedule for "Bajirao Mastani" and give dates for "Shuddhi", reported.

Previously, Zoom reported that Kareena Kapoor Khan, the first choice of the makers, would be paired opposite her "Bodyguard" co-star Khan. But she denied the report saying that the film is shelved.

"Will Salman be part of 'Shuddhi'? It is all created by you all (media). 'Shuddhi' is shelved. Karan is working on 'The Warrior' remake I think with Siddharth Malhotra and Akshay Kumar... this is what Karan said. It (shooting) will start in August," Kapoor told the PTI.

But the makers of the film are yet to make an official announcement about the female lead cast.

Meanwhile, Johar took to Twitter to announce about the film's release date and the male cast.

"#SHHUDDHI will star SALMAN KHAN and will release Diwali 2016.....@shhuddhimovie," he tweeted.

When Mumbai Mirror asked Johar about signing Khan, he said the "Kick" actor loved the script and he immediately said yes for the film.

"Salman loved Karan Malhotra's narration. He's all instinct and heart, and reacts instantly. Once Karan wraps up Warrior in mid-2014, he'll start work on Shuddhi," Johar told the tabloid.

"There was no formal announcement on our part, about the cast, it was all media speculation. I'm just happy and proud to have Salman. This is our first major collaboration after his special appearance in my debut film, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai."

"Shuddhi" is Johar's dream project and has been working on it for more than a year. Johar had initially announced that the film would release in 2015, but it got postponed to 2016.