Not Shah Rukh Khan but Salman Khan was the first choice for Chak De! India

All Shah Rukh Khan fans would agree that the actor’s career is so interesting that it can be a case study in itself. From being a romantic hero for a decade and ruling the hearts, to making cinema that matters, the superstar’s career has a spectacular variety.

The mid 2000’s was a whole lot of reinvention for SRK as an actor and he did not shy away from taking some risks during a time where risks hardly paid off and formula films ruled the box office. From Paheli to Swades the actor was constantly reinventing himself.

One such film that came as a surprise to his fans was the 2007 sports drama Chak De! India. Being a superstar in a time period where fans wanted to see their ‘hero’ kick the bad guys and romance the girl, SRK took a backseat and let the women shine in the film. It was also the first time that a mainstream Hindi movie saw a male superstar not being your ‘hero’ and the story was the real deal.

But how many of you know that Chak De! India which has a cult fan following today was initially offered to Salman Khan!

It is true that Salman was the first choice when Yash Raj Films decided to do the iconic film with director Shimit Amin. The film went to Shah Rukh Khan and the rest, as they say, is history.

As per an article by The Indian Express, Salman had spoken about this when he was promoting Sultan. When asked by media what made him pick up the film based on wrestling, the actor had replied, “This was the first good sports film that came to me.”

When reminded that Chak De India was also offered to him, he had joked, “I left it because even Shah Rukh Khan should be a part of a few great films.” On a serious note, he had added, “When I was offered Chak De, my image for totally different as I was doing Partner and all those kind of films. My only thing in Chak De was that my fans would expect me to wear a wig and win the match for India which would not go for the film. That was not my genre at that point of time. It was more serious kind of film and I was doing more of a commercial kind of cinema which I am still doing. I would never move out of commercial cinema zone but it is just that there would be a lot of meaningful cinema in the commercial zone.”

Apparently the film’s producer Aditya Chopra tried to convince Salman by even being ready to change the climax of the film to whatever is suitable for the actor. But even a lot of convincing could not make Salman like the film and eventually went to Shah Rukh.

The 2007 film was about a disgraced hockey player who decides to coach the women’s hockey team. He shapes a rag-tag bunch into a team of go-getters and finds redemption in the process. The film won multiple awards and critical acclaim.

Well we do not complain as now looking back, the film was way too perfect and memorable to be able to imagine it with any other actor!