It’s true that Bollywood stars vie for roles in Hollywood so that they can have a global image. And while some names like Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Irrfan Khan and Anil Kapoor have bagged meaty projects in Hollywood, a lot of others even settle for cameos and blink-and-miss roles to further their career in cinema.
But that’s only one side of the story. Because there have been many instances where our desi stars have turned down ambitious Hollywood projects. Don’t believe me? Here are 10 Bollywood actors who rejected mainstream roles in Hollywood movies.
1. Shah Rukh Khan - Slumdog Millionaire
The King of Bollywood had the chance to make an international debut with Danny Boyle’s Indian saga Slumdog Millionaire. According to reports, SRK was offered Anil Kapoor’s character in the movie. However, the Indian superstar thought the role was not suited for him and turned it down. The role eventually went to Anil Kapoor and opened the doors of Hollywood for him!
2. Deepika Padukone - Furious 7
Hollywood actors are considered much more professional than their desi counterparts. Nipping the perception in the bud, Deepika Padukone set an example of professionalism by turning down a mainstream role in Furious 7 as she was busy shooting for Farah Khan’s Happy New Year! That is some loyalty towards your mentor Deepika!
3. Akshay Kumar - Untitled movie co-starring Dwayne Johnson
Akshay Kumar is the biggest action star of India and his daredevil stunts are in the league of Hollywood’s toughest men like Jackie Chan, Jean Claude Van Damme and Jason Statham. No wonder when a big Hollywood studio had to cast an Asian face with action star Dwayne Johnson, Akshay Kumar was a natural choice. However, maintaining his stand of staying clear of Hollywood movies, Akshay turned down the coveted opportunity and stuck to entertaining Indian audiences.
4. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan - Troy
Arguably the most well-known Indian face in Hollywood, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was offered a role opposite none-other-than Hollywood’s biggest heartthrob, Brad Pitt. Wolfgang Petersen offered the role of ‘Briseis’ to Aishwarya in the Oscar-nominated war movie, Troy. However, the role’s demand of cozying up with Brad Pitt didn’t go down well with Aish and she let go of the opportunity.
5. Ronit Roy - Zero Dark Thirty
Ronit Roy is one of the finest actors in India and it was just a matter of time before his intense acting performances caught Hollywood’s eyes. However, even Ronit wouldn’t have imagined being offered a role in the Oscar award winning movie Zero Dark Thirty. But being a thorough professional that he is, Ronit gave priority to work (Student Of The Year) closer home which had already started and let the opportunity pass with a heavy heart.
6. Priyanka Chopra - Immortals
Priyanka Chopra might have become the latest Indian toast in the West after her singing and TV career took off brilliantly, but not many know that the talented actress had a bigger opportunity early on in life. Priyanka Chopra was offered an important role in the Hollywood hit ‘Immortals’ which she couldn’t pursue because of her prior commitment to ‘7 Khoon Maaf.’ Priyanka’s loss became Frieda Pinto’s gain as the Slumdog actress went on to strengthen her footing in Hollywood with the movie.
7. Hrithik Roshan - The Pink Panther 2
The Greek God of Bollywood, Hrithik Roshan, has always resisted the temptation of working in Hollywood despite his global looks, killer physique and breath-taking dance moves. No wonder when the role of ‘Vicente’ was offered to Hrithik in the second instalment of The Pink Panther franchise, Roshan didn’t take long to turn it down.
8. Irrfan Khan - Interstellar
It takes nerves of steel and the professionalism of Irrfan Khan to reject a Christopher Nolan movie! A revered name in both the industries, Irrfan Khan had to take the most difficult decision of his life when he was offered Matt Damon’s part in Interstellar which required him to camp in the US for four months. However, Irrfan wanted to shuttle to India in between to complete the filming of ‘The Lunchbox’ and ‘D-Day’. When Nolan didn’t allow Irrfan to move base for 4 months, Irrfan ultimately decided to let go of the film.
9. Madhuri Dixit - Untitled Hollywood Movie
Buzz was rife some time ago that an upcoming Hollywood film may have the name of Madhuri Dixit Nene in its star cast. The role required Madhuri to play herself in a cameo which was supposed to be a dream sequence in the movie which traced the journey of an American girl who aspires to become a Bollywood actress. Despite being offered a huge pay packet, Madhuri did not consider the offer owing to the length of her role.
10. Dilip Kumar - Lawrence of Arabia
Just to give you and idea of the great Hollywood obsession with Indian actors, here’s thespian actor Dilip Kumar at the tenth spot for rejecting a lead role in the international project Lawrence of Arabia (1962) by director David Lean. However, the reasons for Dilip Kumar not pursuing the offer are not known, the role eventually went to Egyptian actor Omar Sharif.
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