Dil Chahta Hai: Did You Know These 20 Things About the Classic Film?

Both Akshaye Khanna and Preity Zinta originally wanted to play different roles in Dil Chahta Hai.

4 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan, and Akshaye Khanna play the leads in&nbsp;<em>Dil Chahta Hai.</em></p></div>

The road-trip film Dil Chahta Hai which released in 2001 attained a cult status. Interestingly, Aamir Khan had suggested that Farhan Akhtar make Dil Chahta Hai entirely in English, but Farhan wasn't convinced.

On the occasion of completing 20 years since its release, here are 20 things you probably didn't know about the film:


Preity Zinta Wanted to Be Pooja

The film also stars Preity Zinta, who initially wanted to play the role of Pooja which went to Sonali Kulkarni. Preity played Shalini instead.

Many Actors Were Approached

Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan told Farhan Akhtar that the stars were busy for the next few years. Hrithik Roshan, Abhishek Bachchan, and Jimmy Shergil were also reportedly approached for the film.

The Wait for Akash

After these actors rejected the role, Farhan waited almost 10 months to get an appointment with Aamir Khan.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Aamir Khan in&nbsp;<em>Dil Chahta Hai</em></p></div>

Aamir Khan in Dil Chahta Hai

(Photo Courtesy: IMDb)

Farhan Is in the Film... Well Kind Of

Farhan Akhtar revealed, to Simi Garewal, that all three leads were inspired by his own self in different phases of his life.

Farhan Saw Akshaye Khanna as Sid

Out of Saif, Akshaye, and Aamir, Akshaye (Sid Sinha) was the first one to hear the script but he instinctively wanted to play the role of Akash Malhotra (played by Aamir Khan) but Farhan convinced him to play Sid instead.

Preity Zinta’s Casting

Farhan Akhtar first met Preity Zinta during a screen test (incidentally with Akshaye) for the film Kya Kehna. Akhtar told her that he wanted her to star in his film, whenever he makes one.

Time Table’s Connection to the Director

Asad Dadarkar, who plays Pooja’s boring boyfriend Subodh (AKA Time Table), is an old friend of Akhtar's.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Asad Dadarkar as Pooja's boyfriend Subodh AKA Time Table</p></div>

Asad Dadarkar as Pooja's boyfriend Subodh AKA Time Table

(Courtesy: YouTube)

Aamir Khan’s Cousin Had a Cameo!

Aamir Khan’s cousin Raj Zutshi has a cameo in the movie as the voice for Dimple Kapadia’s character Tara’s husband. The duo is seen in the film having an argument.

Saif Was Almost Not in Dil Chahta Hai

Saif Ali Khan reportedly refused to do the film but Dimple Kapadia convinced him to take it on.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Dimple Kapadia as Tara, and Akshaye Khanna in&nbsp;<em>Dil Chahta Hai</em></p></div>

Dimple Kapadia as Tara, and Akshaye Khanna in Dil Chahta Hai

(Photo Courtesy: IMDb)

The Journey Starts

The first scene shot for Dil Chahta Hai is the scene where Sameer tells Akash and Sid that he is in love with Pooja.

Dil Chahta Hai Isn't Really Fiction

Akhtar began to write a diary about his trips to Goa, which supposedly inspired the film. But, Akash’s track in Dil Chahta Hai is based on Akhtar’s friend Kassim Jagmagia’s story. Interestingly, Akhtar was writing that as a separate story but decided to merge them later.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Aamir Khan played the role of Akash Malhotra in&nbsp;<em>Dil Chahta Hai</em></p></div>

Aamir Khan played the role of Akash Malhotra in Dil Chahta Hai

(Courtesy: YouTube)

From New York to Australia

Akhtar also wrote about his trip to New York in 1996 and the parts in the film that occur in Australia were originally supposed to be based in New York. The plans changed because it was winter in New York.

Farhan Akhtar’s Honest Critics

After Farhan Akhtar showed the film’s first cut to people (mostly family), he made some cuts to the film to improve pace—a scene with Saif and Akshaye, one between Akshaye and Dimple, and one episode with Aamir and Preity.

Dil Chahta Hai and Edgar Allan Poe

The reference Sid makes while telling Deepa to let Akash go about holding sand in our hands is an ode to Edgar Allan Poe’s poem ‘A Dream Within A Dream’.


Dil Chahta Hai in English?

The film’s script was originally written completely in English, including the dialogues. Aamir even asked Farhan to make the film in English because the humour might not translate to Hindi but Farhan refused.

The Bard Connection

Some parts of Dil Chahta Hai are reminiscent of Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’. A boat that appears in the film is even named Much Ado.

Entire Soundtrack in Four Days

Farhan Akhtar, Javed Akhtar, and Shankar-Ehsan-Loy went to Khandala for four days and returned with the entire iconic soundtrack.

Title Track Was Finalised While Brushing

For the title track ‘Dil Chahta Hai’, only the opening bass line had been decided. Shankar Mahadevan realised that the movie’s name fit the tune perfectly…while brushing his teeth.

Story Behind the Woh Ladki Hai Kahan Hook Step

Dil Chahta Hai’s choreographer Farah Khan revealed that the popular hook step for 'Woh Ladki Hai Kahan' came to be accidentally. “I remember I told Geeta Kapur that I will play the song and you do some steps. She started doing some birdy steps and that is how we made that our hook step,” Farah said. Geeta added that she did that because she couldn’t think of anything.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>The memorable hook step from 'Woh Ladki Hai Kahan'</p></div>

The memorable hook step from 'Woh Ladki Hai Kahan'

(Courtesy: YouTube)

Did Saif Sing for Koi Kahe Kehta Rahe?

Talking about interesting anecdotes, Shaan had one about the song ‘Koi Kahe Kehta Rahe’. He sang Saif Ali Khan’s part (even though he was brought in the sing for Akshaye). However, Akhtar told everyone that Saif sang his own vocals ad people apparently believed him.

''Chamkile Din' Sounds Like a Detergent Ad'

Director Farhan Akhtar didn’t like the line ‘Dil chahta hai...kabhi na beete chamkile din’ because he thought it sounded like a ‘detergent ad’. He was also bothered by the phrase ‘pyaar ke ghat’ in a song because it sounded ‘old’.

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