Sidharth Malhotra, Alia Bhatt
Sidharth Malhotra, Alia BhattVarinder Chawla

Alia Bhatt and Sidharth Malhotra are next in line for the "Aashiqui" franchise. Director-producer Mahesh Bhatt has approached the stars, but they are yet to sign the dotted line.

Talking to Mumbai Mirror, Mahesh said the third instalment is in the work-in-progress stage adding that the "Kapoor and Sons" actors fit the narrative perfectly. "'Aashqui' is one of Vishesh Films and T-Series' most successful franchises and Mohit Suri will be returning as director," he explained. 

The filmmaker was quick to add that they are both "close to home," which is why he wouldn't want to confirm it just yet. "But since both these actors are close to home, I would not like to proclaim from the rooftops just yet that it's a go-go till they officially sign the contract," he added.

Although this is coming from a trusted source, Alia denied rumours assuring she had not been approached for the role. "In my knowledge no 'Aashiqui 3' is happening right now. I am not offered anything like that," she told the Press Trust of India.

Hrithik Roshan and Sonam Kapoor's names were briefly associated with the project in question. Their little song-dance routine in the picturesque Antalya, Turkey for Yo Yo Honey Singh's rehashed version of "Dheere Dheere Se" sparked news of them coming together for a film. The video, so far, has garnered over 100 million hits on YouTube.

It's interesting that the makers were, at one point, keen on roping in Kangana Ranaut for the film. But given Hrithik and the actress' bitter past, the former apparently swore to walk out of the project if she were to be pulled on board.

Little over a decade-and-half ago, Rahul Roy and Anu Aggarwal's romance in "Aashiqui" gave Bollywood one of its highly-regarded cult films and it also pumped a few careers. Many years later Shraddha Kapoor and Aditya Roy Kapur's "Aashiqui 2" hit screens, which not only helped its lead pair establish themselves as bankable actors but boosted Arijit Singh's singing career.

The kind of businesses these films have done, and the overwhelming response the star cast has received over the years sort of explains the hype around the third one.