After making her Hindi film debut with Hrithik Roshan in Mohenjo Daro and following it up with a stint opposite Akshay Kumar in Housefull 4, Pooja Hegde has scored another casting coup. The actress will play Salman Khan’s love interest in his upcoming film, Kabhi Eid Kabhi Diwali. All praise for his newly-minted leading lady, Sajid Nadiadwala, who is producing and scripting the film, gushes, “Having worked with Pooja in Housefull 4, we felt she was a perfect fit for this film. She has an amazing screen presence and will make for a good pair with Salman. They will bring freshness to the story.”

A family drama, the Farhad Samji-directorial is eyeing an Eid 2021 release. Talking about how it is a special subject for the trio, Sajid adds, “ Judwaa was one of Salman and Bollywood’s first Eid releases. Even my directorial debut, Kick, opened during the festival.” Since Salman and Pooja are pairing up for the first time and their track is laced with dollops of humour, the makers have planned several workshops in the lead up to the first shoot schedule in October to help the duo break the ice.

According to a source, Salman will be presented in a completely new avatar in the film. The look is currently being decided upon. “His lady love is a traditional smalltown girl who is the polar opposite of Salman’s character. Pooja has played small town roles down South in films like Mukunda, and hence the makers found her apt for the role. There’s a beautiful mature love story between the two characters, and Pooja’s track acts as the catalyst to the plot,” says the source, adding that the film is high on action too but instead of personal vendetta, Salman will fight for a larger cause this time around.

Since the shoot doesn’t begin before the last quarter of the year, the 54-year old actor is trying to squeeze in another project around March. “He is on the hunt for the right script for a film which will release after Radhe,” says the source. After wrapping up Kabhi Eid Kabhi Diwali, Salman will move on to Sajid’s directorial, Kick 2, and play Santa during Christmas 2021.