Premji (Producer)had a couple of scripts but Hema was not drawn to any. “If you would be interested in making a film on Meera I would love to play the part,” she told him. The very next day Premji signed up Gulzar to write and direct the film. But problems hounded Meera from the day of the mahurat.
Lata Mangeshkar opted out of the project because she had recently cut an album on Meera bhajans and didn’t want to repeat herself. Then, music directors Laxmikant and Pyarelal left since they didn’t wish to work without Lata. Undeterred, Gulzar went ahead and signed Pt Ravi Shankar for the compositions and Vani Jairam for the playback. But Hema was not convinced. Lata Mangeshkar had sung all her songs beginning with Sapno Ka Saudagar, and she felt that her performance would not be the same without Lata’s ethereal playback. She personally requested Lata to sing for the film, but the nightingale held on to her own and Hema made peace with Vani Jairam.
Caption courtesy Bhawana Somaaya from The Quint.