Top actors who turned down movies that went on to become huge hits. While they may have their justifications today, the fact is that these actors didn’t anticipate that those movies would go on to become blockbusters, some of them do regret their decision.
Though hard work pays in the end, there are many a times when you feel that luck does play it part. And though most of you might feel that luck doesn’t favour you most of the time, you’re not alone.
Stars who ‘turned down’ movies that went on to become huge hits
Here we take a look at some roles, which were rejected by established actors, and the movie went on to become a huge hit. Well, that is Show Business! You can never be sure 100 percent what will work and what won’t! Besides, somebody’s loss is somebody’s gain here!
Ileana D’Cruz was offered Salman Khan’s ‘Wanted’, the film that changed Salman’s fortunes in Bollywood. The film was the remake of Telugu original Pokiri that featured Ileana in the female lead, but the actor says that she was not ready (say confident) at that time. “If I had done a Bollywood film, which has far more exposure than the South ones, even though they get released worldwide, I would have made a fool of myself,” says Ileana.
Song from Pokiri (Mahesh Babu, Ileana)
“I was happy that my first film would be with Salman. I remember I had exams on back then. So when Boney (Kapoor) sir asked me to do the photo shoot, I was like ‘I am sorry, I have exams on. I can’t. I don’t think I handled it well back then because I didn’t understand the gravity of the offer. For me, it was all about finishing my exams.”
Shah Rukh Khan: I guess probably everybody knows that Munnabhai MBBS was first offered to SRK, who couldn’t do it becasue of his back-injury. But it definitely did a world of good to Sanjay Dutt, and also brought Raju Hirani in the limelight. However, SRK’s name is in this list because of another movie.
Though the movie Deewana may not be as popular as SRK’s other movies, it’s worth a mention because it was Shah Rukh Khan’s first super hit film in the industry. And guess what…the Baadshah got the role only after Armaan Kohli decided to walk out of Raj Kanwar’s Deewana! Armaan Kohli today is struggling to get a break in the industry again (he had acted in a few movies at the beginning of his career, almost all of them turned out to be dud). Armaan’s stint in ‘Big Boss’ did help him to come back in the limelight and you might see him again in a movie along with Salman Khan.
Saif Ali Khan: And while we are talking about Shahrukh khan, did you know that even Saif Ali Khan was considered for the role of ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge’? With all due respect to the Chhote Nawaab, I guess this is one role that probably no one else could have done better than SRK himself.
Kajol: Even experienced stars can misread things at times, and that’s what Bollywood diva Kajol did when she rejected the role of ‘Pia’ in Rajkumar Hinrani’s 3 Idiots. What is hard to believe is that despite SRK being close friends with Kajol, she still wasn’t able to take the right decision, considering SRK himself was supposed to Munnabhai at one time but couldn’t do it because of his back issues. In this case, Kajol’s move may have lived up to the title of the movie. The role finally went to Kareena Kapoor and gave her a huge hit. Having said that, Kajol is still one of the most sought after actors in India, and the favorite of all the leading filmmakers in Bollywood.
Kareena Kapoor: I’m sure Kareena would have been ecstatic with ‘3 Idiots’ success, because some time back even she had done a similar mistake that Kajol did. Kareena Kapoor was the first choice of Sanjay Leela Bhansali for the role of Nandini in the movie ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’. But then Kareena turned down the film, which finally went to Aishwarya Rai and established her as a superstar. Few years down the line, Kareena got an opportunity to latch onto Madhur Bhandarkar’s Heroine after Aishwarya walked out midway. The film however didn’t do very well at the box-office.
Hrithik Roshan: Did you know that the movie ‘Dil Chahta Hai’, directed by Farhan Akhtar, was first offered to Hrithik Roshan, and was even written considering him in mind? But Hrithik turned it down and the role was finally done by the perfectionist Aamir Khan, who added another feather in his cap with his performance in this movie. I guess Hrithik probably made up for it, by acting in ‘Zindagi na milegi dobara’ which was directed by Zoya Akhtar and was also based on three friends.
Kangana Ranaut: At times, taking some risk in your career can definitely turn out to be the best thing to happen to you. That’s what happened in the case of the movie ‘The Dirty Picture’. The Dirty Picture created quite a buzz when it was released and Vidya Balan walked away with lots of accolades. But the role was first offered to Kangana Ranaut, who turned it down as she thought it was a very bold role. The role of Silk finally went to Vidya Balan who turned into an overnight sensation. All the leading ladies of Bollywood who once thought that the role of ‘Silk’ was very bold, would be dying now to lay their hands on such a role.
An award winning director and heart-throb Ranbir Kapoor for a co-star; but Katrina still rejected the offer. In the case of heroines, it seems the established ones are not so keen to play the second fiddle. Katrina Kaif was initially offered the role that was done by Ileana D’Cruz in Barfi, but she turned it down. The role finally went to Ileana D’Cruz, which brought her in the limelight in Bollywood.
There’s a popular saying in India that ‘Jo hota hai ache ke liye hota hai’ (meaning ‘Whatever happens, happens for the good’). In all these cases, it seems whatever happened probably happened for the best. Thank god that all of these memorable roles were turned down; these movies with its final casting have all turned out to be great. Here are some more examples.
Salman Khan: Long back, when Salman Khan was a relatively smaller star, the Bollywood hunk got the movie ‘Karan Arjun’ only after Ajay Devgn walked out of the movie following a tiff with filmmaker Rakesh Roshan. Not sure if even Ajay Devgn’s pairing with SRK would have worked either (they were never friendly in real life).
Rani Mukerji: The role of Tina in ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’, directed by Karan Johar, was offered to several stars. But they all turned it down as they didn’t want to play second fiddle to Kajol. The role was finally offered to Rani Mukherjee, which established her as one of the promising newcomers of Bollywood.
Juhi Chawla: And the same happened several years back in Chandni. After all the A-listers refused to play second fiddle to Sridevi, Juhi Chawla was the only actress who accepted a cameo role in the movie Chandni.
Amitabh Bachchan: Did you know Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan was not the original choice for the role of Jai in Ramesh Sippy’s blockbuster movie ‘Sholay’? Apparently, Sippy wanted Shatrughan Sinha but the role went to Amitabh Bachchan only after co-star Dharmendra put a word in favour for him.
Amjad Khan: Did you know Danny Denzongpa was the first choice to play Gabbar Singh in Sholay? However, Danny couldn’t accept the role as he had given his dates to Feroz Khan’s ‘Dharmatma’. Apparently, Amjad Khan got the once in the lifetime role of Gabbar Singh only after Danny declined the film.
Rajesh Khanna: Rajesh Khanna may have walked away with all the accolades for the movie, but he was not the original choice for the once in a lifetime role in Anand. Anand without Rajesh Khanna? Just unbelievable. Apparently, Hrishikesh Mukherjee wanted Raj Kapoor or Shashi Kapoor and also considered Uttam Kumar and Kishore Kumar before he finally zeroed upon Rajesh Khanna.
Shammi Kapoor: India’s first dancing superstar Shammi Kapoor was not the first choice for Teesri Manzil and Tumsa Nahin Dekha, the blockbuster movies with some amazing songs. Can you even imagine the song ‘O haseena zulfon wali’ without Shammi Kapoor? Apparently, filmmaker Nasir Hussain wanted to cast Dev Anand, eventually, the role went to Shammi Kapoor and established him as one of the finest actors of Hindi cinema.
Sunil Dutt: Sunil Dutt was not the original choice for the role of Birju in Mother India as the director wanted to cast someone else. Apparently, after much deliberation, the role finally fell into Sunil Dutt’s lap. Sunil Dutt not only delivered one of his finest performances ever, it was a role that probably could have been done only by Sunil Dutt. He is among the handful heroes in Indian cinema to have done villainous roles as well.
Rajendra Kumar: Jubilee Kumar Rajendra Kumar was not the first choice in Raj Kapoor and Vyjayanthimala starrer Sangam. Apparently, the role which was passed on by Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand, finally came to Rajendra Kumar.
Dilip Kumar: Dilip Kumar got the movie ‘Naya Daur’ only after Ashok Kumar rejected the movie. Though Dilip Kumar was later crowned the ‘Tragedy king’, in this movie Dilip Kumar had a lively role, with bits of comedy as well.
Hollywood Hits & Misses
Here are some of the examples of Hollywood actors blowing up great roles:
- Will Smith: Hollywood actor Will Smith turned down the role of Neo in The Matrix, which finally went to Keanu Reeves.
- Mel Gibson: Mel Gibson turned down the role of Batman in Tim Burton’s movie.
- Reese Witherspoon: Hollywood hottie Reese Witherspoon passed on the role of Sidney Prescott in Scream, thinking of it as a B-grade horror flick.
- John Travolta: John Travolta turned down the once in a lifetime role of Forrest Gump, which went to Tom Hanks and established him as one of the finest actors in Hollywood.
- Michelle Pfeiffer: Hollywood siren Michelle Pfeiffer turned down the role of Clarice Starling in The Silence Of The Lambs, which finally went to Jodie Foster.
- Denzel Washington: Denzel Washington turned down Se7en. Apparently, Denzel regretted his decision of not taking up Se7en.
- Kim Basinger: Kim Basinger turned down the iconic role of Catherine Tramell in Basic Instinct, which later went to Sharon Stone and made her an overnight sensation.
- Sean Connery: Sean Connery passed on the role of Gandalf in The Lord Of The Rings because he was not interested in a fantasy film.
- Sandra Bullock: Hollywood star Sandra Bullock turned down the role of Maggie Fitzgerald in Million Dollar Baby. The role was finally taken up by Hilary Swank and also fetched an Oscar.