Apoorva Lakhia, who has cast his former pal Dia Mirza in "Shootout At Lonkhandwala", says he doesn't feel uncomfortable directing her despite personal relations having gone sour.
"My producer (Sanjay Gupta) and I mutually decided on Dia. There was absolutely no awkwardness between us. Why should there be? We're both professionals. And we're here to work, not to rake up the past," Lakhia told IANS.
"Also, Dia features only in large crowds of characters, just like everyone else in the cast. So no one needs to get into a one-on-one situation on location," he added.
Lakhia's film went through several vital changes. At the last minute Arati Chabria joined the cast in a role earlier kept for Gupta's niece Neha Uberoi.
Explains Lakhia: "That's because Neha's dates for Hansal Mehta's 'Woodstock Villa' were clashing with my film. Since 'Woodstock...' is entirely her launch-vehicle, it was thought it would be better if she concentrated on that."
But Dia's inclusion as an investigative journalist was the big surprise. It's a role based on true-life journalist Minty Tejpal, who covered the shootout in Mumbai in 1992.
Lakhia earlier thought of Priyanka Chopra and Bipasha Basu for the role.
"We turned the real-life male correspondent into a female character. 'Shootout' was turning into a stag party with so many male actors in it. We needed feminine glamour."
Dia shared a warm friendship with Lakhia in the past. But things went wrong between them and she opted out of his "Ek Ajnabee". Her role was finally done by Perizaad Zorabian.