Not Shah Rukh Khan but an international action star was meant to star in this blockbuster form the 90s.
When Shah Rukh Khan broke through Hindi cinema in the early 90s, he was one of the many young, promising actors around. What set him apart was his energy, screen presence, and willingness to experiment with all kinds of roles and genre. So it was ironic when he switched gears and became a superstar, it was with romantic films. But that almost did not happen.
How Shah Rukh almost never got Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge
It was the 1995 release Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge that catapulted Shah Rukh to stardom. The success of the film followed romantic lead roles for him in Dil To Pagal Hai, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, and Mohabbatein, firmly establishing him as the number one star in Bollywood. However,Aditya Choprainitially had someone else in mind for the lead role in DDLJ, and that man was Tom Cruise. Chopra had envisioned DDLJ as a cross-cultural love story between an American boy and an Indian girl and was really keen on getting Tom Cruise for the lead role. However, after Yash Chopra intervened and told Aditya to rework the story, he changed the role into the now-familiar NRI Raj Malhotra.
Shah Rukh rejected DDLJ multiple times
However, it wasn’t smooth sailing after that either. While Aditya Chopra and his friend and assistant Karan Johar wanted Shah Rukh to play Raj, the actor wasn’t interested in doing romantic films. As Shah Rukh recalled in the docu series The Romantics, “I wanted to be an action star.” Hence, he kept delaying a meeting with Chopra and Johar and turned them down multiple times. Again, it was Yash Chopra’s intervention and advice to Shah Rukh that turned the tide. Eventually, he said yes.
The success of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge
DDLJ marked Aditya Chopra’s directorial debut. Shah Rukh was paired opposite Kajol. The film was a massive hit, grossing over Rs 100 crore and breaking box office records overseas. It established both the lead actors as bankable stars and propelled Shah Rukh’s solo career. The film is the longest-running film in the world. It has been playing at Mumbai’s Maratha Mandir for 28 years now, ever since its release back in 1995.