Deepika Padukone, Shah Rukh Khan
Deepika Padukone and Shah Rukh Khan have shared screen space in three films so far. Pictured: Deepika at "Bajirao Mastani" promotions; SRK at the "India Poochega Sabse Shaana Kaun?" press conference.Varinder Chawla

Deepika Padukone is all set to play the queen in "Padmavati." While director Sanjay Leela Bhansali has found the shrewd ruler, Alauddin Khilji, in Ranveer Singh, he is still on the lookout for an A-list actor who would play the king.

Sanjay is thinking of roping in either Shah Rukh Khan or Hrithik Roshan for the part, claim Mid-Day sources. "The filmmaker seems to be favouring the Hrithik-Deepika pairing at this stage since their on-screen chemistry is unexplored. On the other hand, Shah Rukh has shown interest in the project. Bhansali is expected to take a decision shortly as the project is scheduled to roll in September," the insider elaborated.

Vicky Kaushal was in the running for the role, but makers let him go after he made public his association with the film. There's also this theory that Deepika wasn't interested in sharing screen space with a three-film-old actor. The actress even refused to work with a television actor and apparently told the director that she wanted an A-list actor alongside her. Deepika has some romantic and lovemaking scenes with her husband, so she wants a big star to be cast in the role.

The problem is, established actors aren't interested in playing second fiddle to the actress. Also, the king's character is weak and loses out to the one played Ranveer, which is a point of concern for most stars.

However, the hunt for the husband's role needs to be capped off quickly as the first leg of shooting is scheduled to begin sometime in September. "The first schedule is with Deepika and her husband's character. The scenes between Deepika and Ranveer are being shot separately as they never meet in the film," a source told DNA. 

Meanwhile, Deepika is gearing up for her Hollywood debut film, "XXX: The Return of Xander Cage." The posters and teaser trailers are looking good. Scheduled to be released on Jan.20, 2017, the action-thriller stars Vin Diesel, Tony Jaa and Ruby Rose in key roles.

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