16 years of Kal Ho Naa Ho: Shah Rukh Khan wanted to quit, Kareena Kapoor turned it down

Updated on Nov 28, 2019 12:24 PM IST

As Kal Ho Naa Ho completes 16 years, here are 5 lesser known facts about the Shah Rukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan and Preity Zinta film.

Kal Ho Naa Ho marked the directorial debut of filmmaker Nikkhil Advani.
Kal Ho Naa Ho marked the directorial debut of filmmaker Nikkhil Advani.
Hindustan Times | By

It’s 16 years of Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta’s heartbreaking love story, Kal Ho Naa Ho, released. As producer Karan Johar called it ‘a love of lifetime within a heartbeat’, there are several details about the film and its making that makes it one of the most special films made by Karan and Shah Rukh together.

Setting the mood for the day, Karan wrote on Twitter about Nikkhil Advani directorial, “A love of a lifetime within a heartbeat! A film very close to my heart completes 16 years!!” #16YearsOfKalHoNaaHo.” It was showered with several reactions from fans who revisited their fondest memories of the film.


Here are some of the unknown facts about the film which went on to become a blockbuster at the box office.

Preity replaced Kareena Kapoor as the female lead in Kal Ho Naa Ho

Kal Ho Naa Ho was first offered to Kareena Kapoor but it came to Preity after she declined it. Preity had once told PTI in an interview, “It was very special to me because I lost my first love. I was in love with him, he was not. I felt strongly when the film was offered to me. Some of the best things have happened to me during that film.”

Saif Ali Khan and Preity Zinta in a still from Kal Ho Naa Ho.
Saif Ali Khan and Preity Zinta in a still from Kal Ho Naa Ho.

Karan had to deal with personal tragedy

After the success of Kal Ho Naa Ho, Karan suffered a setback as his filmmaker father Yash Johar died a few months later. Shah Rukh Khan also underwent a major surgery during the shooting. “It was one of those films that filled me with joy but it broke our hearts as well. It was a roller coaster ride... It is a timeless film. I am fortunate that I was a part of it,” Preity had said.

When Shah Rukh Khan contemplated to walk out of the film

Just four days into the shoot of the film, Shah Rukh Khan fell ill and told Karan, “I think I won’t be able to do it”. However, Nikkhil convinced Karan to wait for the actor to recover and the shoot finally resumed after a gap of six months.

Also read: Amitabh Bachchan says he must retire: ‘Head is thinking something else, fingers another, it’s a message’

Kal Ho Naa Ho tune was composed at a bakery

The popular Kal Ho Naa Ho tune was composed by Loy while sitting with Nikkhil at the German Bakery in Pune. Nikkhil was humming the song, My Heart will Go On and expressed his desire to have a tune with similar impact. It was then Loy came up with the tune that he recorded in his phone. Later, Shankar Mahadevan and Ehsaan Noorani listened to it , and came up with the entire title song of the film.

Karan regrets not directing Kal Ho Naa Ho

Karan Johar had confessed that he regrets not directing the film, which proved to be a dream debut for director Nikkhil Advani. The latter had told Hindustan Times in an interview, “I don’t blame him for regretting it. He wrote it from his heart. But, I think, he underestimated himself, and he thought that he won’t be able to do justice to it. Now when he says that, I feel his pain.”

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