Zoya Akhtar&’s debut movie, Luck By Chance, has been her best work till date (sorry, lovers of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara) and also the most underrated. The film, starring Farhan Akhtar, Konkona Sen Sharma, Rishi Kapoor, Juhi Chawla, Dimple Kapadia and Isha Sharvani told a love story of two strugglers, with Bollywood as the background. Hrithik Roshan, who had an extended cameo (he played a superstar in the film), exited from this movie that Rishi Kapoor produced, a role that later made Farhan Akhtar&’s character a superstar. There&’s a scene when these two come face to face during a party where Karan Johar (playing himself) indirectly tells Roshan&’s character that he himself paved the way for his competitor to rise by leaving the other project.

That scene holds so true when it comes to quite a few movies in Bollywood or, for the matter, any other industry. For example, did you know that Tom Cruise was the first choice to play Iron Man, a role that made Robert Downey Junior one of the most in-demand actors worldwide? Or that Danny Denzongpa was the first choice to play Gabbar Singh in the iconic Sholay, a role he had to reluctantly pass on to be in Feroz Khan&’s Dharmatma, and which was later grabbed by a little known actor called Amjad Khan?

Even current superstars like Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Salman Khan and Deepika Padukone have rejected roles that competitors picked up and which became one of the best of their careers. Here are instances in Bollywood where superstars passed over roles they were to later regret:

Darr: Before Shah Rukh Khan had taken on the role with enough grey shades and made “Kiran” one the most sought after names in the country, the role was first offered to Aamir Khan by Yash Chopra. What made him reject the role is still open to speculation: perhaps Aamir didn’t want to do a negative role so early in his career, or maybe he didn’t fancy getting bashed up by Sunny Deol, or perhaps he was still hurting from the poor business done by the last film he did with Chopra, Parampara. Whatever the reason, SRK took the the role and thus began a very fruitful association with Yash Chopra, as he played the lead in all the three films the latter later directed, Dil Toh Pagal Hai, Veer-Zaara and  Jab Tak Hai Jaan. This also gave SRK the opportunity to be part of the biggest hit of his career, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. Interestingly, Darr was also offered to Vivek Mushran, the Ilu Ilu guy from Saudagar.

Baazigar: There is a story behind the supposed rivalry between Ajay Devgn and Shah Rukh Khan, and it had nothing to do with Kajol and SRK&’s jodi being appreciated by the masses. Apparently, Abbas-Mustan had first offered the film to Devgn, who was the freshest action star, thanks to his super debut in Phool aur Kaante. Devgn was said to have rejected the role because he thought it would come back to him and he could renegotiate the fee. But Khan lapped up the role that gave him his first Filmfare Award for Best Actor. There is also a rumour that Devgn had called up SRK to not take the role, and that caused their rift.

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai: Karan Johar and Twinkle Khanna were childhood friends and he even admitted once having had a crush on her. When he was busy preparing his debut film, he wanted his childhood crush to play the hottest girl in the college, and also the one to steal Rahul&’s heart before Anjali. But that didn’t happen, and Rani Mukerjee came on board. Incidentally, her character is named Tina, which also happens to be Twinkle&’s pet name.

Dil Chahta Hai: Everyone loves this movie and everyone loves Aamir Khan&’s Aakash, the loyal but irascible friend who doesn’t believe in love but later has a Bollywood change of heart. Though it was a little difficult to imagine Khan as a just-passed-out college student (a feat he later repeated in 3 Idiots), he did absolute justice to the role that, doubled with Lagaan, made 2001 his year. But many don’t know that Hrithik Roshan was Farhan Akhtar&’s first choice for the film, but he rejected it because he was too busy doing other films. Well, when Mr Perfectionist came on board, he insisted on playing Aakash&’s character and the rest, as they say, is glorious history.

Goliyon ki Raasleela…Ram Leela: When Sanjay Leela Bhansali first wanted to make this one he had envisioned Kareena Kapoor-Khan and Ranveer Singh playing the leads and even did a photoshoot with them. However, Kareena chose to walk out for undisclosed reasons. There was talk that she was unhappy with the non-pregnancy clause in her contract, and also had objections to the kissing scenes. She later said that she wasn’t interested in the role at all (though she did Heroine later, so that statement doesn’t make much sense). Her loss was Deepika Padukone&’s gain, and we got one of the most loved jodis of recent times.

The Dirty Picture: Kangana Ranaut could have won her third National Award had she not let go of this golden opportunity to play the sex siren in this film based on the life of the late Silk Smita. Vidya Balan did a great job at it, and got a National Award for the same. However, had Ranaut accepted the role, she would have been totally miscast. There&’s no doubting her acting skills but the role required a certain kind of voluptuousness from the one playing the part and Ranaut&’s thin frame could never have managed.

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag: It&’s hard to believe that there could be any actor who could play Milkha Singh in this film other than Farhan Akhtar; he easily bit into the role. But he was not the first choice because the makers were eyeing Akshay Kumar. How it would have worked out had he accepted is anybody&’s guess.

Hum Tum: In what could perhaps be the biggest mistake of his career (apart from that darned press conference), Vivek Oberoi passed off the chance to play the lead in this Yash Raj film and it turned out to be one of Saif Ali Khan&’s biggest solo hits. He even won the National Award for Best Actor.