To this date, Hindi cinema largely relies on conventional-looking actors and stereotypes those who don’t fit the mould. Actors have been rejected for their complexion, their weight, and other such illogical reasons. However, some of Bollywood’s most well-known actors have demonstrated that, no matter what, you can make a name for yourself if you’re talented. 

Have a look at the successful Bollywood actors who made it, and made it big, even after they were told otherwise:

1. Madhuri Dixit

Madhuri Dixit revealed in a recent interview that when she first made her debut, no one believed in her. In fact, she was told that she didn’t have the appearance of a ‘heroine.’ However, she had some great hits in the ’90s and stunned everyone with her comeback in the Netflix series The Fame Game.

People used to say that I don’t look like a heroine because I was a very young girl, from Maharashtrian roots, very petite. Everybody has those myths about what should a heroine should look like. 

2. Priyanka Chopra

Priyanka Chopra not only gained fame in Bollywood, but she also built a name for herself in Hollywood. However, there have been people who have questioned the global star’s capabilities. Chopra claimed that people have always doubted her, when discussing how she does not take the stress of other people’s expectations, in an interview with TOI.

I have always been told that ‘Yeh thodi na kar payegi’ and ‘you won’t be able to do it’. I have always heard that but I just keep walking forward and keep doing my work.

3. Taapsee Pannu

Taapsee Pannu has established herself as one of Bollywood’s most versatile actors in recent years, owing to her outstanding performances. However, in an interview with Hindustan Times, the actor revealed that she was initially turned down for “stupid” reasons.

I was told, ‘You are not beautiful and glamorous enough’, ‘Oh no, you’re too serious an actor… ‘You’re not good enough an actor’, ‘You are not so and so’s daughter’.

4. Anushka Sharma

Since the age of 15, Anushka Sharma, who made her debut under the Yash Raj Films label and is now one of the industry’s leading actors, has been judged solely on the basis of her appearance. The actor, who started her career with modeling, told India Today that she faced a lot of rejection. 

I have faced rejection from the age of 15. I don’t talk about it because there’s no need to do that. But, I was constantly getting dropped from shows, picked for an ad and then would get replaced. 

 5. Ranveer Singh

During an interview, Ranveer Singh revealed that Aditya Chopra once told him that he is “not a conventionally good looking boy”. 

He said ‘my son you have to act really well if you want people to like you’, which is a polite way to say you are ugly.

6. Adil Hussain  

Hussain opened out about the immense pressure he felt initially, which led him to believe he wasn’t “good enough”. During an appearance on Neelesh Mishra’s talk show The Slow Interview he revealed that people questioned his ability as an actor because of his dark complexion. 

Tu toh kala hai tu acting kaise karega?

7. Vidya Balan 

Vidya Balan is undoubtedly one of the finest actors Bollywood has right now. Her rise to fame, however, was not without obstacles; in fact, even after gaining stardom in the film industry, she was criticised for her body. While conversing with Filmfare, the actor disclosed that she was told she wasn’t “good enough”.

I was carrying the anger of rejection, the judgement around my body, the criticism around my dressing. I’ve been called ‘jinxed’ down South. 

8. Rajkummar Rao

Today, moviegoers will surely flock to the theatre to see a movie starring Rajkummar Rao. The actor has proven himself as one of Hindi cinema’s best actors. However, in a 2017 interview with DNA, Rao stated that despite being impressive at an audition, he  wasn’t picked as a lead in the project.

He [casting director] really liked my test but told me, ‘Acting is fine, but I can’t give you a lead part because leading heroes are supposed to be fair and muscular. But do you want to play a small character in my film?’ 

9. Nawazuddin Siddiqui

Even with the limited roles he has had, Nawauddin Siddiqui has made a name for himself in the film industry. However, during an interview in which he pointed out prejudice in the industry as well as in the minds of viewers, he stated we still think that “Hero ka matlab hota hai gora-chitta“.

Someone like me with no connection in the industry has to prove myself. Because I’ve no background in cinema and I don’t look like a film actor. Yeh kya karega? That’s how I was initially welcomed.

People will continue to question you until you make it. But all you have to do is keep moving forward, towards your goal.