From Amitabh Bachchan to Ayushmann Khurana, here are some of the biggest opportunities Bollywood stars missed out on!
1. Kareena Kapoor Khan – Kal Ho Na Ho (2003), Queen (2014), Ram Leela (2013), Kaho Na Pyar Hai (2000)
Few people know Kareena Kapoor was Karan Johar’s first choice to play Naina (Preity Zinta). Kapoor turned it down because she felt she was being paid too less. She’d asked for an amount as much as was offered to Shahrukh Khan for the film. Johar, obviously, didn’t give in. Kal Ho Naa Ho turned out to be the biggest grossing Indian film that year. (Trivia: Did you know Shah Rukh Khan was almost ready to walk out of the film, four days into the shoot. Director Nikhil Advani convinced him to stay. And the rest, as they say, is history).
Another miss for Kareena was Queen, which won Kangana Ranaut a National Award. She didn’t find the role suitable for her.
Kareena walked out of Ram Leela 10 days before the shoot. She opted for Gori Tere Pyar Mein (2013) instead!
She turned down Kaho Na Pyar Hai few days into the shoot of the film to work in Refugee, her debut film. Refugee wasn’t a success story. But Kaho Naa Pyar Hai was the biggest hit of the year. It ran for a year long in theatres. (Read: 10 Longest Running Bollywood Movies: DDLJ, Sholay…)
2. Katrina Kaif – Ram Leela (2013), Bajirao Mastani (2015), Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013), Barfi (2012)
Before Deepika, Sanjay Leela Bhansali had approached Katrina Kaif to play Mastani. (He had, for years, wished to make Bajirao Mastani with Salman Khan and Aishwarya Rai but that never worked out because of their messy break-up). Katrina turned down the offer. She, reportedly, wasn’t willing to star with a ’junior’ actor (Ranveer Singh). She had also refused Ram-Leela, prior to this one.
The same year, Katrina was approached to play Naina in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. She, apparently, turned down the role for lack of time and other commitments.
She was also Anurag Basu’s first choice to play Ileana D’ Cruz’s role in Barfi but that too never worked out.
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3. Deepika Padukone – Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015), Sultan (2016)
Deepika Padukone was the first choice for both these blockbusters led by Salman Khan. None of the two materialised because of date issues.
4. Saif Ali Khan – Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1995)
Shahrukh and Kajol, immortalized forever the iconic screen characters — Raj And Simran in audiences’ memories. But imagine someone else romance Simran? Hard to, right? Before Shahrukh, it was Saif Ali Khan who was approached for the landmark role. He turned it down for dearth of time. Aditya Chopra, in fact, had originally wished to cast Tom Cruise. But Yash Chopra didn’t want to cast a foreign star. So, Aditya later reworked the script. SRK came on board, after rejecting the film thrice and Aditya Chopra finally convincing him into it.
4. Shah Rukh Khan – Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. (2003), Lagaan (2001), 3 Idiots (2009)
Three of Bollywood’s biggest successes, two of which landed in Aamir Khan’s kitty, were first envisioned with SRK in mind. But each of their protagonists – Sanjay Dutt and Aamir Khan left an indelible mark with their performances. And it’s hard to imagine anyone else as Munnabhai, Bhuvan and Rancho/Phunsuk Wangdu.
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5. Salman Khan – Chak De (2007), Baazigar (1993)
Chak De is one of the best sports films to have come out of Hindi cinema. And while its success can be attributed to Shimit Amin’s remarkable direction, Shah Rukh, as the terrific Kabir Khan, is its biggest strength. But did you know Salman Khan was Amin’s first choice for the role of Kabir Khan? Salman, however, wasn’t willing to explore anything outside the commercial genre and the rest, as they say, is history!
Another blockbuster that fell in Shah Rukh’s lap in the early part of his career, after Salman turned it down, is Baazigar. It was Shahrukh’s first big hit. Anil Kapoor and Akshay Kumar were also considered before Shahrukh but they refused it because it was an anti-hero role.
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6. Hrithik Roshan – Dil Chahta Hai (2001), Swades (2004), Rang De Basanti (2006)
Farhan Akhtar’s modern classic remains his finest film till date. But Akhtar recently revealed in an interview, he had originally wanted to cast Akshaye Khanna as Akash (Aamir Khan), Hrithik Roshan to play Sameer (Saif Ali Khan) and Abhishek Bachchan to play Sid (Akshay Khanna).
Ashutosh Gowarikar first offered Shahrukh Khan’s Mohan Bhargava to Hrithik Roshan but he turned it down after reading the script. Apparently, he didn’t find the role suitable for him.
In Rang De Basanti, Hrithik was the first choice for Siddharth’s role. But it was Aamir’s part that excited him more. Unluckily, by then, Aamir was already on board and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra had to let go.
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7. Ayushmann Khurrana – Udta Punjab (2016)
Diljit Dosanj’s role was initially offered to Ayushmann Khurrana but the actor was too swamped with other projects to make time for this one. Bollywood, in return, got one of its most remarkable debuts in the recent times.
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8. Priyanka Chopra – Cocktail (2012), 2 States (2014)
The film that turned around Deepika Padukone’s career was initially offered to Priyanka Chopra but she wasn’t convinced about playing a grey character.
If reports are to be believed, even 2 States was originally written keeping Shahrukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra, though the latter never quite clearly came out in the open about the film being offered to her.
9. Amitabh Bachchan – Mr. India (1987)
Shekhar Kapur’s iconic Mr. India was written keeping Amitabh Bachchan in mind but he didn’t seem keen on the role and things failed to materialise.
10. Kangana Ranaut – The Dirty Picture (2011)
Kangana Ranaut might have rejected a lot of roles in her career but this is one of her biggest regrets. At the time, she turned it down for Anand L Rai’s Tanu Weds Manu (2011).