We often think that Bollywood stars have a lavish and glamorous life, but seldom do we realise that it takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to reach heights of this coveted fame. Not everyone is born into privilege and many come from humble backgrounds with big dreams. The Hindi film industry largely relies on conventional-looking actors and actors are often rejected for their complexion, weight, age, and other illogical reasons. Let’s take a look at 7 stars who were told that they’ll never make it big in Bollywood but proved everyone wrong. 

Madhuri Dixit

Madhuri Dixit is one of the most successful actors we have today but things have not been easy for her. People told her that she was not heroine material and should not pursue acting. In an interview, Madhuri Dixit said, “Everyone goes through a phase where people discourage them. They get dejected, rejected, told that they are not heroine material or are very skinny, or anything else… I faced the same. 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 a heroine should look like. I am thankful to my mom who was like a force guiding me throughout. She was a superwoman. There was a time when someone said that I can’t be a leading lady and I was dejected, but my mom advised me to not listen to them, and keep working hard. She said it will happen at the right time. Eventually, even if someone criticised me, it was like water on a duck’s back. I used to take constructive criticism and used to work on it. Whatever I am a part of, I do it with sincerity and to the best of my ability.”

She added, “I have nothing to complain about in my entire journey. I’ve worked with the best actors, directors, got good scripts, songs, have worked with amazing choreographers… what else I could have asked for. I’ve learned so much from them.”

Sanya Malhotra

In an exclusive interview with Man’s World, Sanya Malhotra said, “There were so many people who told me that I can’t make it big. I remember a close friend telling me that it’s a risk and it takes time… I can’t just wake up one morning and decide to become an actor… and whatnot… It was hurtful at that time but gave me a push. I remember it but have no malice in my heart. These are people who were trying to make it in Bollywood. I have been lucky and blessed that I got the opportunities. I was at the right place at the right time, probably.”

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. She said, “I was told, you are not beautiful and glamorous enough, you’re too serious an actor… you’re not good enough an actor, you are not so and so’s the daughter.”

Anushka Sharma

Anushka Sharma, who made her debut under the Yash Raj Films banner was once judged on the basis of her appearance. The actor, who started her career with modelling, 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,” she said. 

Ranveer Singh

Ranveer Singh once 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.”

Rajkummar Rao

Rajkummar Rao is one of the finest actors we have today. 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 said, “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?”

Vidya Balan

Vidya Balan is undoubtedly one of the best Bollywood has seen. Her rise to fame, however, was not easy. Even after gaining stardom in the film industry, she was constantly criticised for her body. While conversing with Filmfare, the actor disclosed that she was told she wasn’t “good enough.” She said, “I was carrying the anger of rejection, the judgement around my body, the criticism around my dressing. I’ve been called ‘jinxed’ down South.”

(Featured Image Credits: Instagram)