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Journalism of Courage

When Kareena Kapoor got Imtiaz Ali to replace Bobby Deol with Shahid Kapoor in Jab We Met, admitted she didn’t expect much from film

On the 15th anniversary of Jab We Met, here's looking back at a couple of anecdotes related to Imtiaz Ali's generation-defining romantic film.

Kareena KapoorKareena Kapoor as Geet in Jab We Met.

Directed by Imtiaz Ali and starring Kareena Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor, Jab We Met became the underdog hit of 2007. But the film had a rather tumultous production, with behind-the-scenes drama related to the casting and the mid-production breakup of the lead stars. As Jab We Met turns 15 today, here’s looking back at some stories related to the movie.

The issues began even before the film had begun shooting. Bobby Deol revealed in an 2017 interview with HuffPost that he had started to put the project together with Imtiaz, but was quietly removed from it after Kareena, “who didn’t even want to meet Imtiaz,” suggested that they hire Shahid to star opposite her instead. Bobby said that he was taken aback when he discovered that Kareena and Imtiaz had set the project up for themselves, and had also brought Shahid in. “I was like, wow. Quite an industry… But I have no hard feelings against him. He is a great director and doing so well. We’re still friends. But I always tell him: ‘Imtiaz, I won’t watch any of your films until you make one with me. That’ll be your best film.”

For Kareena Kapoor, Jab We Met was a game-changer. Her performance as Geet is still regarded as one of her finest. But Kareena recalled in a 2020 interview with Film Companion that she didn’t expect much out of Jab We Met. She was putting her eggs in another basket: Tashan. Released one year later, Tashan starred her future husband Saif Ali Khan, Akshay Kumar and Anil Kapoor. It was one of the biggest flops of 2008.

Recalling her reasoning, Kareena said, “I am working with Yash Raj Films. I am doing a film with Anil Kapoor, Akshay Kumar, Saif Ali Khan. I am playing the main part. I have become size zero. I have lost weight. I’m going to wear a bikini. I’m going to kill it. That was my vibe when I was on the set of Jab We Met. This, I’m just shooting, I’m mouthing my lines. Yes, I’m having fun, but that’s the film that’s going to change my life, and I’m going to become like Uma Thurman.”

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Kareena Kapoor said that she’ll always look back fondly on Tashan, because that’s when she fell in love with Saif Ali Khan. “(Jab We Met) changed my career and that (Tashan) changed my life,” she said.

Kareena was last seen in Laal Singh Chaddha, while Shahid Kapoor was seen in Jersey. Both films bombed at the box office.

First published on: 26-10-2022 at 13:13 IST
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