Deepa Mehta at first had titled the film " Ice Candy Man" . The film was to be made in English. Akshaye Khanna and Chandrachur Singh were signed for the lead roles. After a few months they were replaced by Aamir Khan and Rahul Khanna.
Naseerudin Shah was offered Kulbhushan Kharbanda's role but he politely declined, due to his busy schedule. However he told director Deepa Mehta that had he had time he would have definitely accepted the part as he admired her work.
Deepa Mehta decided to title the film "1947- Earth " in the version released in India for several reasons. While shooting the film many people would ask her the film's name. When she would reply "Earth" people would think she was saying "Arth". This would then be met with negative comments that Mahesh Bhatt had already made a classic by that same name. To avoid confusion, she added "1947" to the title.