Bollywood may be a dreamland for aspiring actors but whoever goes inside knows how mean and tough it really is to make it. Chances of making it big to the inner circle are slim and many struggles through the years. Even after possessing talent, some lose opportunities to star kids based on favoritism in the industry.
Rejection is also one phrase synonymous with actors. From good looks to favoritism, filmmakers choose their actors based on who is appropriate to play that character. However, there are some that use these rejections to hone their acting skills and come back better.
Even today’s superstars like Ranveer Singh and Dhanush were once rejected for Bhag Milka Bhag due to their looks. Taapsee Pannu was replaced by Ananya Pandey in ‘Pati Patni Aur Woh’ because makers thought she would be a good addition to the film.
Here are 12 instances when Bollywood actors were rejected for their looks:
Konkana Sen Sharma:
Konkana Sen Sharma is one of the most underrated actors in the film industry. The actor-director has starred in multiple critically acclaimed and commercially successful films. In her early days, Konkana was never a director’s first pick despite being a brilliant actor. Most of them rejected Konkana because of the actor’s gloomy looks.
Tabu who remains one of the most sought after actors in the industry was always considered ‘tomboyish’. The national award-winning actor with her well-built height and body always looked intimidating in front of her male counterparts. Tabu who has acted with Bollywood bigwigs like Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan was once quoted saying, I am proud of my height. My fans tell me my height is my biggest asset. I don’t care if the heroes are short. That’s their problem.”
While most people today know Arjun Kapoor as the good-looking, broody actor it wasn’t the case when he first started out. Like many other stereotypes, Bollywood also demands their actors to look skinny and ideal. From Sara Ali Khan, Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt, star kids have had to work tirelessly for their fat to fit transformation. Despite being the son of acclaimed producer Boney Kapoor, Arjun was rejected in multiple films for his physical appearance and average looks.
If there is one actor that deserves the legendary title in Bollywood that is Irrfan Khan. The late actor single-handedly changed the dynamics and definition of typical Heroes in the film industry. Before being recognized as a global icon, Irrfan had to face some major struggles to become a mainstream actor. Despite an array of talented performances, directors rejected him for dark skin complexion and not so appealing good looks.
Shah Rukh Khan
Shah Rukh Khan is Bollywood’s introduction to the world. However, even the King of Bollywood has had his fair share of struggles in his early days. The 90s being a tough time for actors was dominated by Anil Kapoor, Sunny Deol. Shah Rukh Khan was often deemed a flop actor for his boy next door looks. Interestingly, that is exactly why he was cast in romantic films and today he is known as the King of Romance.
Ranveer Singh is India’s most bankable superstars right now. The actor with his versatile talent and performances has won over the audience in no time. However, before becoming Bollywood’s Simmba, Ranveer was often rejected from movies for his lanky physique and average looks.
Nawazuddin Siddique’s long struggle to become a mainstream actor serves as an inspiration to many. The actor who has been in the industry since the 90s only got recognition when Talaash and Gangs of Wasseypur hit the big screens. Despite being one of the top talents in the industry, Nawazuddin was never picked for meaty roles due to his looks.
It might come as a shock to many but Katrina Kaif was not always a director’s first choice for an actress. Apparently, the actress did not fit the bill of a typical Bollywood heroine which became the reason for her rejection in many films. The actor gained a reputation after the release of Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya and Namaste London. Katrina is currently one of the biggest names in the film industry.
Anushka Sharma was often rejected in her early days for looking “too plain”. Unbelievable right? However, the rumor worked for her like a charm for her when director Aditya Chopra signed her opposite Shah Rukh Khan in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. Anushka became an overnight sensation and is currently one of the most successful commercial actors.
The Shahanshah of Bollywood has had his fair struggle in the film industry. Before Zanjeer became a blockbuster, the actor was rejected from multiple films due to his tall looks and deep raw voice. Interestingly, these same traits contributed to the mega-stardom of Amitabh Bachchan. He is one of India’s most legendary actors we have right now.
Even though the world might be waking up to racist injustice, this wasn’t the case in the early days. Casting directors did not consider actors with dark complexion for lead roles in movies. Dhanush has had to face multiple rejections for his looks but eventually floored the audience with his strong acting prowess. He is now one of the South Indian industry’s most bankable superstars.
Ajay Devgn recently celebrated his landmark 100th film with Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior. But did you know the actor was replaced multiple times for his not so typical hero looks? The actor has had to play not so good roles in his earlier films but later earned a name for himself for his strong performances. Currently, Ajay Devgn is one of the most bankable actor producers in the country.