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Preity admits there was a certain amount of trepidation about being able to carry off a Pakistani's role. "So far I had only played contemporary urban characters. Zaara was alien to me. How would I do it? I got knots in my stomach. Yash Uncle (Yash Chopra) held my hand and guided me through the film.

"When I asked him how I would look Pakistani, he simply replied, 'Leave it to me, beta.' The salwar-kameez, nose ring etc were his ideas. (Hairstylist) Dilshad gave my hair a brownish henna-colour look. Don't you think it helped?"

"It's an honour to be a Yash Chopra heroine after Sridevi and Madhuri Dixit," she adds. "If I've pulled it off in spite of my contemporary image in Dil Chahta Hai, Kal Ho Naa Ho and Lakshya, it's because of the aura and ambience created in the film."

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