It was reported earlier that Keerthy Suresh did walk out of the project due to a difference in opinion of the role she was to play. Keerthy Suresh was to play the role of a mother, which the makers of the movie felt she looked too young to play, therefore leading to the split.
It is now known that the former National Award winning Priyamani has joined the crew to replace Keerthy Suresh as the lead.
The film, which is directed by Amit Sharma of the smash hit Badhaai Ho fame, follows the golden age of the Indian National Football team under legendary coach Syed Abdul Raheem between the years 1951-1962. Ajay Devgn will play the role of Raheem in the movie, which is bankrolled by Zee Studios and frequent Amit Sharma collaborator Boney Kapoor.
Maidaan will be Priyamani’s first major role in Bollywood since the success of 2010’s Raavan, but she was seen later in Shah Rukh Khan starrer Chennai Express, where she made a special appearance in the popular 1 2 3 4 Get on the Dance floor song. Recently, she has only focused on movies in Telugu and Kannada, not appearing in a Malayalam movie since 2014 and not in a Tamil movie since 2012’s Chaarulatha. She is venturing into other languages once again with a very, very busy 2020, in which she has a reported six projects to be released in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Hindi. She will next be seen in A.L. Vijay’s trilingual Jayalalithaa biopic starring Kangna Ranaut, where she will portray long time Jayalalithaa confidante Sasikala. She is also coming of the success of the Amazon original web series The Family Man.
Keerthy Suresh wouldn’t be too disappointed with her exclusion from the project however, as she herself has 6 films in her kitty to be released in the year 2020, including the highly anticipated Siva directed Rajini starrer Thalaivar 168, to be released. Apart from this, she has yet another film with a heavyweight of South Indian cinema in Priyadharshan’s Malayalam period drama Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Sinham, starring Mohanlal and a host of other big names such as Suniel Shetty, Arjun Sarja and Manju Warrier. Apart from these major projects, she also has an upcoming film directed by Karthik Subbaraj where she will play the female lead, putting her alongside names in Tamil cinema such as Nayanthara, Trisha and Jyothika, all of whom have managed to establish success in leading a movie. The film is set to be a female centric action thriller set in Kodaikanal, which required her to undergo her incredible weight loss in 2019 that left fans in tizzy.
Keerthy Suresh has such a busy schedule that Maidaan is now the second project she has walked away from; she earlier rejected 2021 magnum opus Ponniyan Selvan, directed by Mani Ratnam and featuring many huge names in cinema such as Trisha, Vikram, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Karthi, due to schedule clashes with the aforementioned Thalaivar 168.
Although Maidaan is a missed opportunity for her to make her Bollywood debut, judging from her recent success, that opportunity should present itself for her again shortly!