As Yash Chopra’s modern classic completes 13 glorious years today, here’s some anecdotal trivia around Veer Zaara (2004) starring Shahrukh Khan and Preity Zinta.
1. The film was originally titled Yeh Kahaan Aa Gaye Hum, after the song from Silsila (1981).
2. Ajay Devgn was first approached for Manoj Bajpayee’s role while Rani Mukerjee’s part was originally written keeping Aishwarya Rai in mind. Both turned down their respective parts.
3. The song “Aisa Des Hai Mera” has a musical segment from “Yeh Desh Hai Veer Jawaano Ka,” a song from Naya Daur (1957). A then-young Yash Chopra had served on that film as assistant director to his brother, director B.R. Chopra. (Source: IMDb)
4. Remember Zaara’s (Preity Zinta) white mansion in Pakistan? It was the Pataudi Palace (of late Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi) in Gurgaon, Haryana. ‘Jaanam Dekh Lo‘ was also shot here.
5. The last courtroom scene where Shahrukh Khan reads out the poem ‘Main qaidi number 786‘ was shot in a single take and okayed in the first take.
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6. Amitabh Bachchan’s role (Chaudhary Sumer Singh) was written keeping Dharmendra in mind but that didn’t work out.
7. Music was a major challenge for the film. Yash Chopra sought an ‘old world’ influence for the songs which he couldn’t find with the composers of the time. It was then that late legendary composer Madan Mohan’s son, Sanjeev Kohli (Yash Raj Films CEO) recommended some of his father’s compositions. 35 tunes were play tested from Madan Mohan’s archives and 11 were eventually selected.
8. Veer Zaara was one of the four films Anupam Kher appeared with wife Kirron Kher (though they didn’t share screen space) in their entire career. The other three films are Pestonji (1987), Total Siyappa (2014) and Rang De Basanti (2006).