Kuch Kuch Hota Hai almost did not pan out the way it did in 1998. The romantic drama, which marked Karan Johar’s directorial debut, starred Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol and Rani Mukherji in the lead. However, before the trio was brought on board, the filmmaker had approached numerous stars, especially for the role of Tina. One of them was Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
Aishwarya Rai was just three movies old when the offer knocked on her door. But the actor rejected the offer because she felt she would have been ‘lynched’ had she done the film.
Speaking with Filmfare, Aishwarya had said, “I’m in a catch-22 situation, really. Though I’m a newcomer, I’m compared with all the senior actresses.” She added, “If I’d done the film, it would have been tittered that, ‘Look, Aishwarya Rai is back to doing what she did in her modeling days—leaving her hair straight, wearing minis, and pouting glamorously into the camera .’ Ultimately, the hero goes back to the more real person. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, I would have been lynched.”
Karan, who had initially written the role for Twinkle Khanna, had also confirmed that Aishwarya was offered the role. At an event, he revealed he had approached Aishwarya, Urmila Matondkar and Tabu, among others, with the role of Tina. However, they all turned him down. “Ash was the only one who was polite to call me back,” he had said.
Karan had also revealed that it was filmmaker Aditya Chopra who recommended Rani’s name for the part. “It took months to cast for Rani’s part after Aditya Chopra recommended me her name,” he said, at an event.
Following the rejection, it took Aishwarya and Karan 17 years to unite for their first big-screen project. The filmmaker directed Aishwarya in his 2016 movie Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. Aishwarya starred alongside Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma in the film.