Actress Deepika Padukone has been roped in to play the female lead opposite Salman Khan in Sajid Nadiadwala's "Kick".

"Deepika Padukone is to romance Salman in 'Kick'," Business of Cinema quoted a source as saying.  

All this while, it had been speculated that Priyanka Chopra would star opposite Salman in the film. But according to the source, "Priyanka's close proximity with King Khan (Shah Rukh Khan) has made her lose the role."

Another insider said, "Everyone knows how close Priyanka is to Shah Rukh Khan. Salman would never dream of renewing his friendship with anyone who is close to Shah Rukh. She is close to Salman's sisters. That's why she's seen visiting his home. I can tell you with certainty that there's no project happening with Salman and Priyanka in the lead."

Director Nadiadwala had considered several actresses, including newcomer Illeana D'Cruz, for the female lead. But Salman was adamant about having Deepika on board. "Salman has repeatedly been saying how wonderful it would be to work with Deepika, and what a great pair they would make," said the source.

Nadaiadwala, who had been looking for an actress to perform action stunts comfortably for the part, found the perfect match in Deepika, given her athletic background.

"Sajid Nadiadwala wants Salman's leading lady in Kick to perform heavy duty martial arts and stunts. Deepika is perfect for the part," added the source.

The shooting for the action-packed thriller is expected to begin in June.