There are times actors turn down roles because of their own reasons – some wild and some perfectly alright. These reasons can range from clashing dates, less fees, demands, or not being comfortable shooting certain scenes. Imagine Naseeruddin Shah playing Albus Dumbledore! Sounds wild, right? But this actually happened until the actor turned down the offer stating his reason.
We compiled a list of similar incidents when actors turned down iconic roles because of their own reasons and demands. Take a look below.
1. Naseeruddin Shah for Albus Dumbledore
In a Twitter Q&A with The Times of India, Naseeruddin Shah revealed how he was almost a part of the Hogwarts universe. After the untimely death of Richard Harris who played Dumbledore in the first two films of the franchise, many actors were considered for the role. However, Shah let it go. He said,
My agent wanted me to audition for Dumbledore’s character after Richard Harris died. I was asked if I would like to audition for it. But I didn’t audition for it.
2. Kareena Kapoor Khan as Ayesha Mehra
Zoya Akhtar had initially wanted Kareena to play the role of the fiercely independent Ayesha Mehra in Dil Dhadakne Do. However, Bebo turned down the offer. She said,
Zoya’s film required me to give 90 days. I can’t be away on some cruise from home and my family for three months for an outdoor shoot. I do not wish to work that way anymore. Now I like to work with people who are willing to adjust their schedules according to my needs.
3. Kangana Ranaut as Silk Smitha
Kangana Ranaut had turned down The Dirty Picture because she did not see potential in the movie and did not want to get typecast in similar roles. Speaking to The Indian Express, the actor revealed,
Each character takes away a part of your life that you never get back. Those chapters are closed. For instance, after Fashion, I couldn’t do The Dirty Picture.
4. Anushka Sharma as Tara
The actor had wanted to work with Imtiaz Ali and was offered the role of Tara in Tamasha opposite Ranbir Kapoor. However, she turned it down because the role was not meaty enough and it did not impress her.
5. Kareena Kapoor Khan as Naina Kapur
Naina’s role in Kal Ho Naa Ho was initially offered to Kareena Kapoor Khan. In his autobiography, Karan Johar shared the details. The reason has left us thinking on a lot of levels. Karan Johar wrote,
I offered Kareena Kal Ho Naa Ho and she asked for the same money that Shah Rukh was getting. I said, ‘Sorry’.
6. Salman Khan as Kabir Khan
The iconic role of coach Kabir Singh from Chak De! India was offered to Salman Khan. But he turned down the role. Throughout the years, the actor has stated multiple reasons for turning down this movie. Some are as wild as how he didn’t like that the makers added India to the title because he thought his fans in Pakistan and Bangladesh might feel bad. He has also stated how the character did not go with his public image then. He said,
When I was offered Chak De! India, my image was totally different, as I was doing Partner and all those kinds of films. My only thing in Chak De! India was that my fans would expect me to wear a wig and win the match for India, which would not work for the film. It was a more serious kind of film and I was doing a more commercial kind of cinema, which I am still doing.
7. Kangana Ranaut as Aarfa
Kangana Ranaut was offered to star opposite Salman Khan in Sultan. But the actor rejected the offer stating that the role did not provide her with much. Speaking to PTI, she said,
Coming from a double role space and doing so much more in my earlier films, I didn’t want to demote myself to something which wasn’t offering me so much. That’s why I didn’t do it…I’ll be just sleepwalking through the film. I didn’t see anything for me in that.
8. Shah Rukh Khan as Ratan Singh
Sanjay Leela Bhansali had reportedly approached Shah Rukh for the role of Maharawal Ratan Singh in Padmaavat. However, the actor turned down that offer. Reports state that the actor had asked for a higher remuneration which would have skewed the funds required for the making of the film.
9. Rani Mukerji as Mary Kom
According to this report, Rani Mukerji was the first choice for the role of Mary Kom in the biopic. However, the actor turned down the offer because she was hesitant to work with a debutant director.
10. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Baadshaho
Reportedly, the makers of the movie narrated the script to Aishwarya. The actor turned down the script later. It is widely reported that the actor refused the movie because she would be sharing screen space with Emraan Hashmi who had passed a jibe at her on Koffee With Karan.
11. Shah Rukh Khan as Prem Kumar
Shah Rukh Khan was the first choice to play the role of Prem Kumar in Slumdog Millionaire. In an interview, the actor revealed why he had turned down the role,
I didn’t do it because the host is a little bit of a cheat, and he was a little mean, and I’d already done the show so I felt if I do it people will feel I do the same thing.
12. Aishwarya Rai as Neha
According to some reports, Dostana was first offered to Saif Ali Khan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. Aishwarya turned down the offer because she thought her marriage with Abhishek would overshadow the homosexual theme of the movie. She has been quoted saying,
I didn’t want people to get into that space of expecting a romance between me and Abhishek or for them to be disappointed that I walk off with some other man at the end of the day.
In retrospect, we cannot imagine any other actor in the roles these actors turned down.
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