Choices gone wrong: B-Town stars who turned down landmark films

Mar 23, 2014, 04:13 IST | Gaurav Dubey

We take a look at prominent Bollywood actors who have regretted their decision of turning down roles in films that went on to become extremely successful at the box office

Several Bollywood actors have at some point in their careers regretted their decision of not taking up a role offered to them first. In several cases, the film has gone on to become a massive hit leaving them lamenting about their not so clever choice. Remember how Juhi Chawla had refused to be part of the 1997 film Dil Toh Pagal Hain as she did not want to play second fiddle to Madhuri Dixit? Her replacement, Karisma Kapoor, went on to win accolades and awards. Juhi still remembers her not-so-clever choice of turning the role down.

Shah Rukh Khan
Film Refused: Munnabhai MBBS
He refused the title role in Rajkumar Hirani’s Munnabhai. The role then went to Sanjay Dutt who was the original choice to play Jimmy Shergill’s role in the film. The film gave Dutt’s career a whole new lease of life.

Shah Rukh Khan, 'Munnabhai MBBS'
Sanjay Dutt and Arshad Warsi in Munnabhai MBBS, (left) Shah Rukh Khan

Film Refused: 3 idiots
After two Munnabhai MBBS films, when Rajkumar Hirani wanted to adapt Chetan Bhagat’s book Five Point Someone into a film, he again wanted SRK to play the character that later went to Aamir Khan. 3 Idiots went on to be the biggest grosser in the history of Indian cinema. Aamir’s landmark films like Lagaan and Rang De Basanti, too, were initially offered to King Khan.

Kangna Ranaut
Film Refused: The Dirty Picture
It may be hard to imagine anyone else play sexy Silk with as much gusto as Vidya Balan did in The Dirty Picture. This is something which even the original choice Kangna Ranaut admits.

Kangna Ranaut, Vidya Balan, 'The Dirty Picture'
Vidya Balan in The Dirty Picture, (left) Kangna Ranaut

Salman Khan
Film Refused: Baazigar
He may call the shots today, but back in the day when he was still making a mark, he let go of Baazigar, which ultimately went to Shah Rukh Khan. Later he was approached for Chak De! India, but it was SRK again who went on to do it.

Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, 'Baazigar', Salman Khan
Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol in Baazigar, (right) Salman Khan

Kareena Kapoor
Film Refused: Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam
Bebo has declined roles in some of the biggest blockbusters of Bollywood. Aishwarya Rai bagged the role in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film which was turned down by Bebo, but some insist that Ash was the first choice for Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam.

Kareena Kapoor, Salman Khan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, 'Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam'
Kareena Kapoor, (right) Salman Khan and Aishwarya Rai in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam

Kal Ho Na Ho
Kareena Kapoor was offered the film, but she did not do it over certain issues and Preity Zinta was roped in.
Bebo also turned down films like Black, Fashion, Chennai Express, Ram Leela and Queen.

Film Refused: 3 Idiots
Kareena Kapoor’s role in 3 Idiots was first offered to Kajol who turned it down, as she was not too excited about what was told to her about her character. It was then lapped up by Kareena Kapoor.

Kajol, Kareena Kapoor Khan, '3 Idiots'Kajol, (right) Kareena Kapoor in 3 idiots

Hrithik Roshan
Film Refused: Dil Chahta Hai
Hrithik Roshan, Abhishek Bachchan and Saif Ali Khan were the original choices. When Hrithik and AB Jr declined the role, Akshaye Khanna and Aamir Khan stepped in.

Hrithik Roshan, Aamir Khan, 'Dil Chahta Hai'
Hrithik Roshan, (right) Aamir Khan in 'Dil Chahta Hai'

Film Refused: Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
The role that made Rani Mukerji a star overnight was rejected by Twinkle. Director Karan Johar only wanted Tina for the part, and had even named the character Tina. The role was also turned down by Karisma Kapoor and Raveena Tandon.

Rani Mukerji and Shah Rukh Khan in  Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, (right) Twinkle Khanna
Rani Mukerji and Shah Rukh Khan in  Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, (right) Twinkle Khanna

Aamir Khan
Film Refused: Darr
Shah Rukh Khan bagged the role of a psychotic lover after Aamir Khan turned it down. Aamir was not happy with how the role had been developed.

Aamir Khan, (right) Shah Rukh Khan in Darr
Aamir Khan, (right) Shah Rukh Khan in Darr

Ajay Devgn
Film Refused: Karan Arjun
Ajay Devgn was the first choice to play the role of the brother of Shah Rukh Khan in the film. He made way for Salman Khan when he walked out of the film following creative differences with director Rakesh Roshan.

 Ajay Devgn, (right) A scene from Karan Arjun
Ajay Devgn, (right) A scene from Karan Arjun

Aishwarya Rai, (right) Aamir Khan and Karisma Kapoor in Raja Hindustani
Aishwarya Rai, (right) Aamir Khan and Karisma Kapoor in Raja Hindustani

Aishwarya Rai
Film Refused: Raja Hindustani
The film reportedly was first offered to Ash, but since she was not sure about the script and the way her role would turn out, she declined the offer. The role then went to Karisma Kapoor and it was one of the biggest hits of
her career.

They too turned it down

Dev Anand — Zanjeer
The film was rejected by first choice Dev Anand. The role was then offered to Raaj Kumar, Dharmendra and even Rajesh Khanna. Raaj Kumar had apparently disliked the smell of director Prakash Mehra’s hair oil and so declined the role. The role was offered to Amitabh Bachchan on Pran’s insistence. The film gave Bollywood its
angry young man.

Shatrughan Sinha — Sholay
Shatrughan Sinha had apparently turned down Sholay, and the role was then offered to Amitabh Bachchan. Incidentally, Shatrughan also turned down Amitabh’s role in Deewar.

Danny Denzongapa — Sholay
He turned down the role of Gabbar Singh as he was shooting for Feroz Khan’s film Dharmatma. Amjad Khan was then offered the role.

Shashi Kapoor — Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam
The role slipped out of Shashi Kapoor’s hands when he turned up more than two hours late for the meeting.

Raj Kapoor in Anand
It is said that Hrishikesh Mukherjee had first offered the film to Raj Kapoor and then to Shashi as it was conceived keeping them in mind. Mukherjee couldn’t bear the thought of seeing his friend Raj die on screen and offered the role to Shashi instead. But he declined and Khanna was cast.

Smita Patil and Parveen Babi — Silsila
Parveen Babi and Smita Patil were the original choice for Yash Chopra’s Silsila. But when Chopra told Bachchan that he ideally would have loved to cast Jaya and Rekha, the leads were replaced.

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