Malayalam film-maker Ranjith's much-awaited project "Leela" has been hitting the headlines for quite a long time.

Earlier, there were reports that Mammootty would join hands with Ranjith in the upcoming film after 2013's "Kadal Kadannoru Mathukkutty". However, some news portals say Biju Menon has replaced the megastar in the film for the character of Kuttiyappan. 

It is believed Mohanlal, with whom the director worked last in "Loham", was initially approached to be a part of the film. But the actor reportedly turned down the offer due to personal reasons.

Unconfirmed rumours also suggest "Rani Padmini" actress Rima Kallingal will be seen as the female lead, replacing Ann Augustine and Karthika Nair, who were initially approached for the role. It is understood that Ann opted out of the film as the character Leela has a controversial nature.

The film, based on Unni R's eponymous short story, narrates the strange relationship between mahout Kuttiyappan and orphaned girl Leela.

"Leela" is expected to go on the floors by December, and might hit the screens by mid-2016.

Meanwhile, Biju's upcoming film "Salt Mango Tree" is set to hit the screens on Friday, 6 November