This was the first of the trilogy of films on which director Shyam Benegal and writer Khalid Mohamed worked together. While this film and "Sardari Begum" (1998) were based on Khalid Mohamed's grand-aunts, "Zubeidaa" (2001) was based on his mother.
Journalist and film critic, Khalid Mohamed, turned to film writing with this movie. He got this opportunity through a newspaper article he had written about his grand-aunt in Pakistan. When Shyam Benegal asked him for the rights to the story, Khalid Mohamed said that he would be willing if he could write the film's screenplay.