While promoting the 2019 Disney blockbuster Aladdin, actor Naomi Scott recalled the time on set when she was mistaken for Deepika Padukone in a video that she was watching. Naomi, who is of Indian descent, said that she didn’t correct the person who thought she looked like Deepika.
In an interview to BBC, when the interviewer asked her if Princess Jasmine was inspired by Bollywood actresses, Naomi said, “I have to tell you this funny story. Do you know Nagada Sang Dhol? I was playing it on set — and I had an American cast and crew — so I’m playing it because I love that song so much, and literally someone was like, ‘Oh it’s so beautiful, Nay, is that you?’ and I was just like, ‘Yeah, it is, it is.’”
She continued, “I thought to myself, ‘you could be compared to worse people than Deepika, so I’ll take that because she’s pretty beautiful’.” Directed by Guy Ritchie, Aladdin went on to become a billion-dollar hit. Actor Tara Sutaria was also in the running for the role of Princess Jasmine.
Actor Will Smith, who played Genie in the film, said in an interview that he encouraged Ritchie to embrace Bollywood aesthetic in the film. “Aladdin is hot… you are going to love it! I was trying to do my best Bollywood version in this movie and there is a Prince Ali sequence in the film and I kept telling Guy Ritchie you got to go full Bollywood, you have to give them full Bollywood flavour,” Smith said at a red carpet event in Tokyo.
Naomi went on to star in the rebooted version of Charlie’s Angels, and is also signed up for an Aladdin sequel. Deepika, meanwhile, made her Hollywood debut opposite Vin Diesel in xXx: The Return of Xander Cage.