R Madhavan, who will be seen next in Rajkumar Hirani's 'Saala Khadoos', recently remarked that the toughest part for the makers was finding a female boxer who could act too.
Ritika Singh with R Madhavan
Now how tough was it exactly? Sources close to the project say 18-year-old Ritika Singh was shortlisted after the casting team had a ringside view of 700-odd duels and had auditioned nearly 100 athletes.
Says a source, "Hirani chose a national level boxer over an actress to play the lead role. He felt the fights required stamina and intensity, and only a real boxer could make them look real. So, the entire team set out on a hunt for one. They auditioned over 100 boxers and attended over 700 boxing matches all over the country, before they finalised the female lead."
The auditions spanned a couple of months and the makers found Ritika perfect for the role. The national-level kickboxer holds a black belt in karate and is also trained in mixed martial arts. Madhavan will be seen as her coach — a taskmaster.
Hirani, at a recent media interaction, had admitted that he was apprehensive about casting a boxer as the lead heroine, adding that he has taken a "chance".