To get success in Bollywood you need to have 90% talent and 10% luck but if you have that 90% talent but didn’t have the luck, then the talent is of no use as you didn’t get any movie only to showcase your talent. But if you have the 10% of luck with some amount of talent also, then you can make it big in Bollywood. There are quite a few such examples in Bollywood where the top actors rejected a movie that later became some of the biggest hits in India. Here are seven such examples when the top actors rejected a movie that later became blockbusters and the actors who did the roles, becomes stars overnight.
Released in 1973, Zanjeer was the movie that played the most important role in making Amitabh Bachchan a mega-star. The movie was written by a famous scriptwriter duo of Salim-Javed who gave India the iconic character of ‘Angry Young Man’ played by Amitabh Bachchan in many movies post Zanjeer But did you know that Zanjeer at that time rejected by top stars of that era including Dilip Kumar, Dharmendra, Dev Anand, and Rajkumar. The Director of the movie Prakash Mehra was in a dilemma as no big star is doing his movie. Then Salim-Javed advised Prakash Mehra to sign Amitabh Bachchan as they have seen Amitabh Bachchan in the movie Bombay to Goa where they got impressed by his personality and acting. With no options left, Prakash Mehra Signe Amitabh Bachchan for the lead role in Zanjeer, and the rest is the History!!
Though Shahrukh Khan already entered Bollywood and even won the award for the best newcomer at the Filmfare Awards he was not a big star then as he is today. The director Jodi of Abbas-Mustan who recently directed the hit movie Khiladi starring Akshay Kumar was directing Baazigar too. Because their last movie Khiladi was a big hit, they first offered the role to Akshay Kumar who rejected the offer because the character had negative shades and didn’t blink an eye before throwing down his girlfriend from a high storey building to kill her. It was too risky for him to play a negative character at the start of his career. After that, the movie was offered to Salman Khan and Anil Kapoor also because of the same reason. Abbas-Mustan then offered the role to Shahrukh Khan who just debuted with no solo big hit under his kitty. Shahrukh of course signed the movie as he had no big movie with him. When Baazigar was released it became a super hit and made Shahrukh one of the most saleable actors, further he won the Filmfare Best Actor Award that year.
The casting of the main character of Bhuvan in Lagaan is as interesting as the movie itself. Before Lagaan, the director of the movie Ashutosh Gowariker made two flop movies, Pehla Nasha with Deepak Tijori and Baazi with Aamir Khan. Aamir Khan was a big star when he signed Baazi and when it flopped at the box office, Ashutosh got into hibernation writing his next movie. When he finished writing the script of his next movie, titled Lagaan he first went to Aamir Khan as they were good friends. Aamir Khan heard the story and rejected it saying this movie won’t work at the box office as period movies didn’t do good business then and that too was about a bunch of villagers playing cricket against the British to save themselves from the unjustified tax. Ashutosh Gowarikar offered the movie then to Shahrukh Khan, Akshaye Khanna and Abhishek Bachchan and all three of them rejected the movie. There Aamir Khan couldn’t get the script of Lagaan out of his mind as it was something never done before in Bollywood. He called Ashutosh and told him to narrate the story in front of his family and when Ashutosh did the same, all members of the family were laughing and crying with the characters in the movie. By the end, Aamir had tears in his eyes and agree to do the movie not only as an actor but as a producer also as he knew no one in Bollywood will agree to produce the movie. Lagaan when released became a big hit and lauded by both the audiences and critics and it even got nominated at the Oscars in the category of Best Foreign language movie, only the third Indian movie to achieve this feat.
Before becoming a director, Rajkumar Hirani was an editor in Vidhu Vinod Chopra Productions where he edited movies like Kareeb and Mission Kashmir but in hear RajkumarHirani was a director. He wrote the script of Munnabhai MBBS and showed it to Vidhu Vinod Chopra who quite liked it and agreed to produce the movie. Rajkumar Hirani first offered the movie to Shahrukh Khan while Sanjay Dutt was supposed to play the character Jimmy Shergil did in the movie. Shahrukh Khan loved the script but could not do it because he was going through a severe backache problem and doctors advised him to take rest for some months. After that, the names of Anil Kapoor and Vivek Oberai came up but finally, Sanjay Dutt was signed for the movie. Munnabhai MBBS was one of the biggest hits of that year and it also became the comeback movie of Sanjay Dutt whose career was going through rough patches and Munnabhai Changed it all. You will be surprised to know that Makrand Despande was offered the role. but Arshad Warsi finally did the role of Circuit. The movie had a sequel, Lage Raho Munnabhai which was also very successful.
When Ramesh Sippy decided to make the magnum opus Sholay, inspired by Western movies like The Magnificent Seven and Once Upon a Time in America, he had a totally different casting in his mind. He offered Dilip Kumar the role of Thakur but Dilip Kumar rejected it and Sanjeev Kumar did that role. Dharmendra was playing Veeru and Ramesh Sippy had Shatrughan Sinha for the role of Jai but things didn’t materialize and Amitabh Bachchan got the part. The most interesting one is about the character of the main antagonist Gabbar Singh which was offered to Danny but he was shooting for Dharmatma in Afghanistan and could not do the movie and a newcomer Amjad Khan bagged the role. Sholay went on to become the biggest hit ever in Bollywood at that time breaking the collections of Mughal-E-Azam and today we can’t even imagine any other actors doing the characters of Sholay except the ones who did them.
It seems Shahrukh Khan was paying back for him getting movies rejected by others at the starting of his career and now Shahrukh Khan rejected movies that became blockbusters. Yes, you have read it right, as Rajkumar Hirani first offered the role of Rancho to Shahrukh Khan and he declined the offer. After that Hirani went to Hrithik Roshan and Ranbir Kapoor who could not do the movies for reasons unknown. Finally, Aamir Khan did the character of Rancho alongside R. Madhavan and Sharman Joshi were signed to play the other two idiots. 3 Idiots became the first movie to earn 200 crores at the box office. After this Rajkumar Hirani became one of the most sought-after directors in Bollywood along with being the guarantee of success. One more piece of trivia about the movie is that Kajol was offered the role that Kareena Kapoor did finally after Kajol rejected it.
Kal Ho Na Ho
Kal ho Na Ho featuring Shahrukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan, and Preity Zinta in lead roles was one of the biggest hits of the year 2003. Partly inspired by Anand and Safar, Kal ho Na ho told the story of Aman played by Shahrukh Khan who is suffering from an incurable disease and won’t live more than a few months. He comes to New York with his Mom for treatment and his neighbor is the dysfunctional family of Naina played by Preity Zinta. The family had its issues including their restaurant that’s not doing well. Aman comes as an angel and resolves the issues of the family. The character of Naina was first offered to Kareena Kapoor who asked for an amount as her fees which the producer Karan Johar didn’t agree with and signed Preity Zinta for the movie and she got the Filmfare Best Actress award for that year.