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Zohra Sehgal played a Pakistani in Kal Ho Naa Ho but didn’t make the final cut: Watch


On her 103rd birth anniversary today, we take a look at some of Sehgal's most delightful scenes that never made it to the final version of Nikhil Advani's film. 

Keyur Seta

Nikhil Advani’s Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003) is still remembered for quite a few reasons. The bromance of the first time pairing of Shah Rukh Khan and Saif Ali Khan, lovable character of Aman, the music, the Kantaben gay humour and lastly, buckets of tears. But there was another element, which could have been one of the highlights of the film, but it didn’t make it to the final cut. It was a delightful cameo by the late Zohra Sehgal. 

On the 105th birth anniversary of the evergreen actress, we revisit her part in Kal Ho Naa Ho, which never made to the final print.  

The deleted scenes of the Karan Johar-produced film are available online. There are few featuring Sehgal and they are not only impressive but also funny. The film had a funny India-Pakistan rivalry subplot featuring Sehgal and Achala Sachdev, whose character also got chopped off. Sehgal is seen playing a woman of Pakistani origin. 

In the film, non-resident senior citizens from both countries regularly assemble in the community centre, where Preity Zinta’s character reads out the newspaper to them. 

Sehgal and Sachdev always quarrel with each other as each considers her country to be superior to the other. Their rivalry though is not serious, but cute. As in, there is a presence of an invisible love between them. This is very similar to Kader Khan and Jaspal Bhatti’s characters in Aa Ab Laut Chale (1998). The two of them had played Pakistani and Indian respectively, in the Rishi Kapoor directorial. And just like that film, Kal Ho Naa Ho also features an India-Pakistan cricket encounter, adding to the rivalry of both the characters. 

But there comes a twist in the tale. In one sequence, Sehgal confesses that her first love was Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister. She adds, “Kitna handsome aadmi tha.” Sachdev, on the other hand, takes Abid Ali’s name. 

Sehgal also has a scene with SRK, although a brief one. 

After going through these scenes, we can only wonder why they were chopped off from the final print. The year was 2003, so the fear of ultra patriots and Pakistan haters cannot be the case. We could only suspect that the length of the film may have been a concern, as the theatrical print was a little over three hours long, even without these portions!

Watch Zohra Sehgal's part in Kal Ho Naa Ho in the deleted scenes below: