Director Ali Abbas Zafar, whose tweet about actress Priyanka Chopra's exit from his upcoming Salman Khan starrer left the film industry and fans bemused, says he is very happy for wherever his "good friend" is in life professionally and personally.
On July 26, Zafar tweeted that Priyanka was no more a part of his upcoming film, an official adaptation of a 2014 South Korean film Ode To My Father. He said the reason was "very special" and that she informed in the "Nick of time about her decision", which led to speculation about the former beauty queen's engagement to rumoured beau and pop singer Nick Jonas.
Asked about his tongue-in-cheek tweet, Zafar told a media agency over phone from Mumbai, "I am going to reserve my comment. I am just going to say that what I said was what I meant, and I am very happy for Priyanka wherever she is in life right now professionally and personally."
He described the Quantico star as a "good friend", with whom he has previously worked in the 2014 film Gunday. "All my heart goes to her because she has been a good friend since a really long time and we get along really well. I would say that I wish all the happiness and love. Hopefully, I am going to see her soon," he said of the actress, who has bagged a huge Hollywood project opposite Chris Pratt.
Actress Katrina Kaif has stepped into Zafar's period drama, and Zafar is excited to see them reunite on-screen after Tiger Zinda Hai, which he had directed. "They are lovely together. The film is also very emotional and the characters are very rooted, simple and relatable. We hope that when the film comes out, people react positively to that," he said.
This is Zafar's third outing with Salman after Sultan and Tiger Zinda Hai, both of which were very well received at the Indian box office. He hopes to repeat the success or do better with the new film, in which Salman will be seen in multiple looks.
"There's always an expectation when a pair which has worked with the audience earlier comes back in front of the audience. I have fortunately been very lucky with Sultan and Tiger Zinda Hai that both collaborations worked really well at the box office and people really liked the films. Now with this film, the expectation is going to be high," he said, adding: "I hope we stand up to the expectations."
The 38-year-old filmmaker tags the movie as a true blue Salman Khan film. "You will see a lot of songs. It is a musical. You will see action, emotions and comedy. It is a mix of all. It is a journey of a man and the nation together... And hopefully when it comes out, people are going to react emotionally, and entertainment-wise it is going to make them ecstatic," said Zafar.