Director Kabir Khan, known for his blockbusters like Ek Tha Tiger and Bajrangi Bhaijaan, has shed light on the intriguing circumstances surrounding the casting of ex-lovers Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif for the film Ek Tha Tiger.

Khan revealed that the duo had just ended their relationship before signing the film.

This made the casting process quite challenging.

In a recent conversation with casting director Mukesh Chhabra for Mashable India’s The Bombay Dreams, Kabir Khan disclosed the unexpected dynamics that unfolded during the casting of Ek Tha Tiger.

He shared that while Katrina Kaif had already been signed for the role of Zoya, Salman Khan’s agreement came as a surprise.

Kabir Khan recounted: “We were going back from Salman’s house.

“This was the day Salman finally said yes that we were doing the film.

“Katrina had already signed the film. She was Zoya.

“Katrina is just like a family to me.

“She is extremely close to Mini (Mathur), kids, and me.

“Vicky is also now an integral part of our family. And then we went to Salman.

“This was the stage when they had broken up, so it wasn’t like comfortable.

“I told him I wanted Katrina and he knew my connection with her.”

Despite the discomfort stemming from their breakup, Salman Khan’s agreement marked a significant milestone for the film.

Kabir Khan further revealed the silent acknowledgement between him and Aditya Chopra.

This indicated the magnitude of their casting achievement.

Kabir Khan elaborated: “Adi (Aditya Chopra) and I were driving back from Salman’s place Galaxy (apartment) to Yash Raj studios, and we were silent because we had just cast Salman Khan for the first time for Tiger (Ek Tha Tiger), Katrina was (already) there.

“I think for about 5-10 mins we kept silent and then he said, ‘yaar bahot badi casting hai (Friend, this is an incredible casting)’.

“And the very next day we announced it.”

The success of Ek Tha Tiger paved the way for Salman and Katrina’s collaboration in subsequent projects within the Tiger franchise, including Tiger Zinda Hai and Tiger 3.

Despite their romantic history, the duo has maintained a professional camaraderie, delivering captivating performances on screen.

Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif’s romantic relationship, which spanned four years, reportedly ended in 2009.

Following their breakup, Katrina Kaif began dating Ranbir Kapoor, which also eventually came to an end.

Subsequently, Katrina found solace in Vicky Kaushal, with whom she tied the knot in a private ceremony in December 2021.

Despite their personal history, Katrina Kaif remains close to Salman Khan and is often seen attending gatherings hosted by the Khan family.

The revelation by Kabir Khan offers a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes intricacies of casting decisions in Bollywood and underscores the professionalism exhibited by actors despite personal challenges.