Big Misses : Actors who turned down some grand roles

Default avatar a2e9a80c6340f878ad8fd7bb8c610c8fa397e03b2063d2a79f8e2958749015aa By Abhijith  |  almost 4 years ago

An actor’s job is quite a tough one. It starts from the selection process where he/she has to decide on whether to accept a role in a movie or not based on the script. Certain roles might sound good on paper but when it comes to the screen it might turn turtle. Certain other roles might take the opposite route too. Even if everything falls into places, there might be date issues to cope with. In these circumstances artists might have to say a ‘No’ to the project. Here is a list of highly successful movies which were rejected initially by top actors of Indian cinema due to various reasons.


Shah Rukh Khan (Lagaan,Munnabhai Series,Slumdog Millionaire)


Shah Rukh Khan is said to have missed many movies which later on went on to become big success. ‘Lagaan’ is one of the best examples of that. It is said that Ashutosh Gowariker initially wanted Shah Rukh Khan to do the film but the project couldn’t materialize at that time. Later on the same project was made with Aamir Khan in the lead.

In the same way, Raj Kumar Hirani wanted to cast Shah Rukh Khan as the lead in his Munnabhai series. Due to back injury that SRK had suffered during those times, he had to back out and the role landed on to the hands of Sanjay Dutt.

Salman Khan (Baazigar)

One such refusal of Salman Khan paved way for another Superstar of Hindi Cinema, Shah Rukh Khan. Salman Khan the actor was basking in the glory of the success of his film ‘Maine Pyaar Kiya’. It was then that he got the opportunity to star in the Abbas-Mustan film ‘Baazigar’. It is said that he turned down this offer since the character offered had negative shades. Finally the role went to Shah Rukh Khan and it helped SRK win his first Filmfare award for Best Actor.

Aamir Khan(Darr)

One of the notable movies that Aamir Khan rejected during his initial days in film industry was ‘Darr’. The role of Rahul Mehra which had good share of negative shades was initially offered to Aamir Khan. He had previously worked with Yash Chopra in the movie ‘Parampara’ which was a big box office failure. Aamir Khan rejected the offer that he got for ‘Darr’ and the role went to Shah Rukh Khan who made maximum use of the opportunity.

Dev Anand (Zanjeer)

Zanjeer had established the acting career of Amitabh Bachchan and the movie brought in the angry young man into foray. But the role was initially offered to Dev Anand which he went on to reject. It was later offered to other stars like Raj Kumar, Rajesh Khanna and Dharmendra but all of them gave it a miss.

Hrithik Roshan (Dil Chahtha Hai,Swades)

How many of you know that Hrithik Roshan was the first choice of Farhan Akthar for the role of Akash in Dil Chahtha Hain. Hrithik was a big star in the making then and was basking in the success of Kaho naa Pyar Hain. But he turned down Farhan’s offer for DCH and it was later played by Aamir Khan.

Ashutosh Gowariker had wanted Hrithik to do the character of Mohan Bhargave from Swadesh. Hrithik turned down the offer and SRK grabbed it when offered and gave one of the finest performances of his career.

Saif Ali Khan (DDLJ)

Can you imagine DDLJ without SRK? We would have seen Saif Ali Khan in DDLJ if he hadn’t rejected the offer back then. Aditya Chopra had Saif Ali Khan in his mind for the role of Raj Malhotra but the role eventually went in to the right hands of SRK making him the heartthrob of millions.

Ajay Devgn(Karan Arjun)

Rakesh Roshan had the plans of bringing in Shahrukh Khan and Ajay Devgn for Karan Arjun. But Ajay Devgn pulled out of the project due to certain creative differences with the director. He was replaced by Salman Khan.

Danny (Sholay)

Imagine Danny Denzgopa in the shoes of Gabbar Singh. It wouldn’t have been a bad idea at all. Reports say that the role had initially gone to Danny but since he was busy shooting for another movie, he couldn’t accept it. But Amjad Khan who got the opportunity made it a point to make the character immortal by giving a mesmerizing performance.

Kareena Kapoor (Kaho Na Pyar Hain,Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam,Kal Ho Na Ho)

Kareena Kapoor made her debut through 'Refugee' directed by J P Dutta and it was incidentally the debut film of Abhishek Bachchan too. But she also got an offer to star opposite Hrithik Roshan in Kaho Naa Pyaar Hain. The team shot few scenes with her but she walked out of the film after a few days. Amisha Patel replaced her and it turned out to be grand debut for her.

Similarly Kareena rejected many other movies like Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Queen and Kal Ho Na Ho, movies which were career defining ones for its leading ladies.

Kangana Ranaut (Dirty Picture)

The role of ‘Silk’ in Dirty picture was a bold one and it required an actress with immense courage to accept it. We all know how talented Kangana Ranaut is but she was apprehensive back then to accept 'Dirty Picture'. Vidya Balan was a surprise choice but she silenced her critics with an amazing performance and winning the national award.

Aishwarya Rai (Raja Hindustani)

Raja Hindustani was made in the year 1996 and the team had plans to bring in Aiswarya Rai to the film, offering her a debut role. Aiswarya Rai didn’t focus much on films back then and decided to give it a miss and delayed her debut till ‘Iruvar’. The role of Aarti was done by Karisma Kapoor and the movie was a big success.

Twinkle Khanna (Kuch Kuch Hota Hai)

The role of ‘Tina’ from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai had gone round the filmy circle before it reached Rani Mukherji. Karan Johar had approached many actresses for Tina and Twinkle Khanna was one among them. She turned down the offer and Rani Mukherji grabbed it. Rightly the role turned out to be a mileage booster for her career.

Down the South :

Rajnikanth (Mudhalvan,PapaNaasam)

The biggest superstar of Indian cinema too had made some misses in his career. Shankar who went on to make ‘Shivaji’ and ‘Enthiran’ with Rajnikanth had earlier planned to do ‘Mudhalvan’ with him. Rajnikanth had politely refused that project and the role went to Arjun. The movie was widely acclaimed and was a big commercial success. Most recently he had to decline the offer of ‘Papanasam’, the Tamil remake of Drishyam as he was doubtful about how his fans would react to two of the sequences in the movie.

Mammootty (Drishyam)

One of the biggest movies that Mammootty probably missed doing would be ‘Drishyam’. Director Jeethu Joseph had Mammootty in his initial scheme of plans and is said to have approached him. But due to date clashes and similarity in the roles that Mammootty had done during those times, the actor had to turn down the offer then. Later on, the role went to the hands of Mohanlal. The moviebecame the biggest blockbuster in the history of Malayalam cinema.

Mohanlal (Thenali)

‘Thenali’directed by K S Ravikumar was a crazy and fun filled ride altogether. Dr Kailash, the character played by Jayaram was as important as the character played by Kamal Hassan. Mohanlal was the first choice to play this character but he rejected it. Jayaram replaced him and the role garnered him the Tamil Nadu State Film Award.

Suresh Gopi(Pazhassi Raja)

It would be any actors dream to be a part of a project written by M T Vasudevan Nair and directed by Hariharan. When the project is a movie like ‘PazhassiRaja’ no one would want to miss it. But Suresh Gopi gave a miss by rejecting the offer to play the character of Edachen Kunkan, the trusted lieutenant of Pazhassi Raja. It was Sarath Kumar who did the role eventually and garnered great applause from all sectors.

Suriya (Nanban)

When Shankar planned to remake 3 idiots in Tamil, everyone had vouched for Suriya’s name for the role originally played by Aamir Khan in the Hindi version. Shankar had approached Suriya but he politely rejected the offer and even suggested Vijay’s name for the lead role.

Vijay (Anegan,Paruthiveeran)

K V Anand himself said in an interview that Vijay was the first choice for the lead role for his movie ‘Anegan’. But Vijay had to politely decline the offer citing date issues. Vijay also suggested that Dhanush would be much suitable for the character and rightly, the role went to Dhanush, with him doing complete justice to the role.

There were also reports that director Ameer wanted to cast Vijay in the lead for his Paruthiveeran. But later on it was done by Karthi, giving him a much sparkling debut.

Vikram (Bombay,Kaakha Kaakha)

Vikram was initially selected for the role portrayed by Aravind Swaamy in Bombay. But he missed the role because he couldn’t change his looks as required for the character in Bombay. Since he was committed with other movies, a change in look would have caused problems for those movies.

It is also said that Gautham Menon had approached Vikram for the lead role in Kaakha Kaakha. But Vikram had to decline the offer since he had done another police officer role in ‘Saamy’ at the same time.

Ajith (Naan Kadavul,Kaakha Kaakha)

Ajith had rejected a slew of films mainly due to date issues and delay in shooting dates. Most famous among them would be Naan Kadavul directed by Bala, a movie which went on to win many awards. The project was launched with Ajith in the lead. But the shooting was delayed and hence Ajith pulled out from the project. Later on this role was done by Arya.

Similarly, the role of AnbuChelvan in ‘Kakkha Kaakha’ initially went to Ajith. But he turned down the offer but the director –actor team later united for another cop story through ‘Yennai Arindhaal’.

Dileep (Chathikkatha Chanthu)

It was heard that the character of ‘Chanthu’ in Chathikkaatha Chanthu was written with Dileep in mind. But he had to opt of the project due to date issues and the role went to Jayasurya. He turned out to be perfect as Chandu and the movie was one of his initial successes.

Kunchacko Boban (Classmates)

Kunchacko Boban had taken a break from films and it was at that time that Lal Jose came up with an offer for Kunchacko to act in Classmates. The role originally done by Narein was initially offered to Kunchacko Boban but he was bit reluctant to take up the role. The movie went on to become one of the biggest blockbusters of Malayalam cinema.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The article do not reflect the views of Filmelon. Filmelon does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

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