20 Years of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam: When Sanjay Leela Bhansali paid Kareena Kapoor Khan her first pay-cheque of Rs. 11, 000 for playing Nandini

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’ completes twenty years of its release today. It was his second film and his first commercial hit. The romantic drama had a very different tone from its first film ‘Khamoshi – The Musical’ which was about a young woman’s relationship with her parents, both of whom happen to be deaf and mute. ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’ was, in many ways, a breakthrough film for Aishwarya Rai Bachchan who also won the Filmfare Best Actress Award for her portrayal of Nandini, the female protagonist in the film.

Not too many people would know that the role was first offered to Kareena Kapoor Khan and the film could have actually marked her debut in the Hindi film industry. Sanjay had offered the film to Kareena when she was in college and though a little reluctant at first, she agreed to do the film and accepted the cheque of Rs. 11, 000 which Sanjay paid to her as a signing amount. For reasons best known to her, she opted out of the film and the role went to Aishwarya.

A still from ‘Yeh Hai Jalwa’ when Kareena was a part of it.

Later, Kareena shot a bit for David Dhawan’s ‘Yeh Hai Jalwa’ which got shelved and was revived three years later with Ameesha Patel playing the female lead. And, as is widely known she also signed ‘Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai’ and shot a bit for before leaving the film as she felt Hrithik’s character (or characters; he was playing a double role) would overshadow her presence in the film. She eventually made her debut with ‘Refugee’ (2000) which turned out to be an average success.

Kareena’s look-test for Goliyon Ki Raas-Leela Raam Leela

Bhansali had also offered her ‘Black’ (2005) which she chose not to do. The two of them finally decided to collaborate on ‘Goliyon Ki Raas-Leela Raam Leela’ (2013) but Kareena ended up not doing that film too and Leela’s part was played by Deepika Padukone.

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