Actor Shah Rukh Khan was approached to play the role of host in the film Slumdog Millionaire. After starting work with director Danny Boyle ‘on the initial bit of the film’ together, Shah Rukh dropped out and was replaced by actor Anil Kapoor.
In an interaction with Jonathan Ross’ chat show back in 2010 when he was promoting his film My Name is Khan, Shah Rukh Khan came across the question asked by the host why he didn’t get involved in Slumdog Millionaire, which opened Western audiences to Bollywood-style filmmaking.
“Danny is a friend,” Shah Rukh said, “and I was very keen that the film is made because I think that it’s a very interesting topic.” SRK said that the film’s version of the game show is quite accurate ‘in terms of the setting’, but “I didn’t do it because the host is a little bit of a cheat, and he was a little mean, and I’d already done the show so I felt if I do it people will feel I do the same thing.” He revealed as he hosted the reality game show Kaun Banega Crorepati, however, he added “It was a great film.”
In a 2009 interview with Bombay Times, King Khan said that he was aware that Danny Boyle felt bad about his decision to turn down the offer to work in the film, but that he doesn’t regret it. Shah Rukh said, “I know Danny felt bad about it. But he is such a good human being. And his love for India is something very special. After I saw the film, I thought Anil had done a fabulous job and deserves every bit of the success.”
Slumdog Millionaire was a super success and went on to win the Best Picture Oscar, and earned over $300 million worldwide, featuring Dev Patel and Freida Pinto. This film made Anil Kapoor bag role in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and the TV show 24 after the success of the film.