The shoot in Varanasi was stopped due to threats and demonstrations orchestrated by Hindu fundamentalist groups supported by the leadership of the state government in Uttar Pradesh. The protests were based on a previous version of the script which had been leaked, and lines of dialogue taken out of context to make them appear anti-Hindi. Ms. Mehta was "burned in effigy" during these protests.
Famous Indian actors Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das, who were the initial choices for the roles of Shakuntala and Kalyani even shot some scenes for this movie. However, that footage was scrapped as the filming could not be finished due to altercations by Hindu Fundamentalists.
Canada's nomination for the 2007 Academy Award in the Best Foreign Language Filom category. A recent rule change allowing countries to nominate non-English films in a language not indigenous to the nominating country made this possible.
Back in 1999, Manisha Koirala and Tabu were in the running the lead role. Movie Magazine in 1999 even had a photo shop picture of both actresses bald. The huge debate was which actress would sign the film. Eventually Nandita Das was signed along with Shabana Azmi. They both shaved their head and reported to Vanaras to shoot the film with Akshay Kumar. That is when protesters came and vandalized the sets. This caused the film to be shelved. It was revived years later with a new cast.