20 years of ‘Main Hoon Na’: Sushmita’s on-screen saree debut to Tabu’s cameo, 10 WOW facts about Farah Khan’s directorial debut

The success of ‘Main Hoon Na’, lies in the fact that it blends action, comedy, drama, and music well into its messy-yet-enticing. The wholesome Hindi entertainer marked the debut of Farah Khan as a director and also a screenwriter. Released on April 30, 2004, with an exceptional cast, stellar performances, and an amazing soundtrack, ‘Main Hoon Na’ offers pure entertainment non-stop for three full hours. 

The first movie produced under the banner of Red Chillies Entertainment,  ‘Main Hoon Na’ is the second-highest-grossing film of 2004 after ‘Veer-Zaara’. Initially, the idea of a student falling for his teacher seemed faint to Farah, but she aimed to raise the bar. The story of Major Ram’s undercover mission, both personal and professional, did not fail to captivate the viewers. Along with Shah Rukh Khan’s charm, Sushmita Sen’s on-screen allure makes the pair’s on-screen chemistry bewitching, which in turn leaves the spectators speechless. 

From the countless number of chiffon sarees Sushmita wore in the film to King Khan’s chic wardrobe with turtlenecks and cardigan vests, the attire throughout the film was on point. Javed Akhtar’s lyrics, Anu Malik’s music, and the vocals of renowned singers like Shreya Ghoshal, Sonu Nigam, K.K. and Abhijeet have created a soundtrack that is timeless.

On the occasion of Main Hoon Na celebrating its 20th anniversary, here are some facts about the film that might interest you.

    1. The Original Title

Sushmita Sen in ‘Main Hoon Na’ | Twitter

Initially, the film crew wanted to name the film ‘The Outsider’. Even Shah Rukh Khan wasn’t a fan of the title ‘Main Hoon Na’, as he felt it was incomplete. However, he changed his mind after hearing the title track. Director Farah Khan revealed that she wanted to name the film ‘Hum Tum’. Interestingly, Saif Ali Khan-starrer ‘Hum Tum’ won the Filmfare award over ‘Main Hoon Na’.

    2. Zayed Khan’s career-defining role

Actor Zayed Khan, who played the role of SRK’s brother Lakshman, was not the first choice for the role. He was roped in after Farhan Akhtar dropped out of the film. Hrithik Roshan and Sohail Khan were also considered for this role, but luckily Zayed was brought on board, giving him a breakthrough in his career.

    3. Tabu’s Uncredited Appearance

The ‘Hera Pheri’ actress was seen in an uncredited cameo in the film. Tabu, who was in Darjeeling for another production, had appeared in the scene where Shah Rukh Khan was practising for the prom dance. Her appearance was a surprise to the audience, and many of them had not noticed her in their first viewing. She also wanted to feature Rani Mukherjee in a cameo but failed to do so.

    4. Farah’s blossoming romance on the set

‘Main Hoon Na’ is a film that holds special significance for Farah as the movie led to her meeting her husband, Shirish Kunder. Even though it was not love at first sight for her, she eventually fell in love with Shirish, who was the editor of the film.

    5. An Ode to the Classics

Farah Khan with Director of Photography V. Manikandan | Twitter

Farah Khan with Director of Photography V. Manikandan | Twitter

Farah has incorporated a reference to ‘Sholay’ as a tribute to the timeless classic. The carriage Shah Rukh rode while chasing the assassins had ‘Dhanno’ written on it, which was the name of Hema Malini’s horse in the film. She also used R.D. Burman’s songs like ‘Tum Kahan Main Yahan’, ‘Mil Gaya Humko Saathi’ and ‘Chand Mera Dil Chandni Ho Tum’ and recreated Burman’s music style through Anu Malik.

    6. One-take Intro

How many of us know that most of the song ‘Chale Jaise Hawayein’ was shot in a single take? Not only remembered for the soundtrack, it is also remembered for the way the song was shot. The whole song, which was Zayed’s and Amrita’s intro, was finished in just a day and a half and even had a shot that had 2 or 3 minutes in single-take.

    7. A song that SRK did not approve of

Shah Rukh Khan

Shah Rukh Khan | Netflix Twitter

Not only the title of the film, but SRK also disapproved of the iconic ‘Qawwali’ track ‘Tumse Milke Dilka Jo Haal’. Neither was he impressed by the soundtrack nor did he relish the choreography of the song. He even requested Farah to replace the audio. However, the director thought otherwise and managed to convince her hero to do as told. It was the first song that Anu Malik composed for the film.

    8. Sushmita’s on-screen saree debut

The first time Sushmita donned a saree for a film was for a song sequence in ‘Main Hoon Na’. In the film known for its note-worthy fashion, Manish Malhotra designed Sushmita’s attire in a way that brings out her innate allure within her portrayal as a teacher. The bold chiffon sarees, together with her elegance, rejuvenated the charisma of the 1970s Bollywood.

    9. Initial picks

Including Zayed Khan, many of the actors cast in the film were not Farah’s first choices. The initial choice for Sushmita’s character Chandni was Aishwarya Rai Bachchan who turned down the film. Ameesha Patel and Ayesha Takia were considered for the role of Sanjana which was later played by Amrita Rao. Meanwhile, Suniel Shetty’s Raghavan had initially gone to Naseeruddin Shah, Kamal Hassan and Nana Patekar! 

    10. Dancers’ dual duty

Farah Khan revealed that she took hundreds of dancers to Darjeeling. They acted as junior artists in the film and she still meets these dancers, who say that it was the best shoot they ever had. Farah also disclosed that during the shoot, they had to borrow clothes from the dancers during a schedule as the costume truck did not reach the location on time.