Sultanwent on floors in November 2016 with Salman Khan and Randeep Hooda. The prolonged first schedule lasted for nearly 50 days when Ali Abbas Zafar shot the wrestling and MMA sequences, featuring Sultan Ali Khan.
The decision to go on floors without a lead actress sent shock waves in the industry. However, Zafar was looking to launch a new face with Salman in the film. He said,
"The girl's part in this film, it was imperative to get that right. For the longest time we wanted a new girl, I want to be very honest about that. We auditioned a lot of girls and we didn't find the girl that we wanted for that character."
Then how did Anushka Sharma came on board? Zafar explains,
"We were looking for a new face because there is a very solid romance between Salman and the girl in the film, and I have always believed that a fresh pairing always works best for romance. When that didn't work out, we started looking at actresses who have not worked with Salman. On top of that, a girl also had to physically look a certain way because she is an athlete, and she had to be a good actress who could match Salman Khan's standard. And if she was a star, it's even better. That is how after almost spending two-three months figuring out who we want, we found Anushka."
Initially it was reported that YRF was keen to get Parineeti Chopra on board. Ali did not deny the reports and revealed that his instinct made him cast Anushka Sharma in lead.
"All I will say is there was talk of Parineeti, because she had a body type. But I wanted Anushka because I just felt that was right. At the end of the day, as a director you can only go by your gut and instinct. And I went with that," said Ali.
Sultan is confirmed for a Eid 2016 release.
-- With DNA inputs