We’ve all faced rejections and failures in our lives. While some of us see them as a sign of stopping, others keep going to make their dreams come true.

Some of our favourite celebrities also faced rejections before making it big, giving us lessons in motivation and hard work.

1. Ayushmann Khurrana was rejected in singing and acting reality TV shows.

Aysuhmann was apparently rejected in the auditions of the reality show Cinestar Ki Khoj in 2003. Later, in 2014, he was called upon to mentor the contestants in the third season of the same show.

Telegraph India

Not just this, Ayushmann also auditioned for the singing reality show Popstars, and got rejected.

2. Sanya Malhotra was rejected in the auditions for Dance India Dance.

The Bollywood actor whom we recently saw in the film Shakuntala Devi once auditioned for Dance India Dance. In an interview with Humans of Bombay, she revealed that while she secured a place in the top 100, she got rejected because her backstory wasn’t strong enough. 

She went on to star in Dangal, Badhaai Ho, Pataakha and Photograph.

India TV News

3. Rajkumar Rao was rejected in the auditions of Boogie Woogie, when he was 16.

Last month, when he appeared as a guest on the reality show India’s Best Dancer, he told media:

Many years ago, when I was in class 11, I had come to Mumbai to audition for Boogie Woogie with my younger brother. But, I got rejected back then. It feels great to be here today, and witness such amazing performances.
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4. Nawazuddin Siddiqui faced rejection for his dark skin and looks.

In an interview to HT in 2017, he revealed:

A lot of people in this industry are racist. Because of this, I have been rejected a lot of times.

Talking about the importance given to looks in the film industry, he once said:

Looks still seem to be the deciding factor in the industry in most cases. Pehle bhi tha aur abhi bhi hain. Recently, when the director of one of my films approached a famous actress, she rejected the offer hinting at how we don’t match lookwise and added ‘he is a good actor par nahi yaar abhi nahi karni hain.

5. Konkana Sen Sharma’s directorial debut A Death In The Gunj was rejected by 4-5 studios.

The actor-director received the best director award for the same movie at the 2017 New York Indian Film Festival and the film also won two Filmfare awards.


6. Oprah Winfrey was fired from her job as a television reporter and told that she was ‘unfit for TV’.

She was shifted to a morning show from the evening show she used to run.

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7. Chadwick Boseman was once fired from a TV show early in his career for questioning the racial stereotypes of his role.


8. J.K. Rowling’s original synopsis of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ was rejected by 12 different publishing houses.


9. Sachin Tendulkar was rejected in the first selection trials he appeared for.

He was told that he needed to work hard and improve his game. While he thought that he had batted well, his focus and commitment increased manifold after that rejection.

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10. Virat Kohli was once rejected in state selections for Delhi.

Earlier this year, he talked about that anecdote while interacting with students in an online session organised by Unacademy. He said:

I remember it was late at night and I just cried. I howled till about three in the morning and I could not believe it. Because I scored well, everything was going perfectly for me. I performed till I reached that stage and I was rejected. And I kept asking my coach for two hours, why didn’t it happen? And I couldn’t make sense of it.

11. Jyoti Bansal, the man who sold his company to Cisco for $3.7 billion went through 20 rejections.

The Indian-American business entrepreneur had to go through 20 rejections from venture capitalists before he was even able to get the initial funding of $5 million to start the company.

12. Irrfan Khan faced several rejections for his looks.

The actor who made it big in both, Bollywood and Hollywood, was once also not paid for a TV show because the makers thought his acting was “bad”.


13. Anushka Sharma was criticised for her ‘plain looks’ in the initial days of her career.

Apparently, when Karan Johar saw Anushka Sharma for the first time, he said that she did not have the looks to be a leading lady.

14. Gigi Hadid was rejected twice by the lingerie brand, Victoria Secrets, for being too big and athletic.

Gigi was a professional volleyball player at the time and was told she had “too much muscle” and was “bulky”, before she got her big break.


They say rejection gives you more power to push forward. It indeed does.