Danny Boyle auditioned Gauahar Khan for the role of Slumdog Millionaire, but she didn’t get the part because he couldn’t see her as someone who would live in a slum because of how she looked.
Gauahar Khan has appeared in films such as Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year, in which she co-starred with Ranbir Kapoor, and Begum Jaan, in which she co-starred with Vidya Balan. However, when asked in a new interview if she ever lost a role because of her appearance, Gauahar stated that one of the ‘biggest projects she lost’ was because she was ‘too good looking for it.’ She claimed Danny Boyle auditioned her several times for his 2008 film Slumdog Millionaire, which won eight Academy Awards, including best picture. Slumdog Millionaire starred Freida Pinto and Dev Patel.
Gauahar stated that there is “no formula” for landing good roles. She stated that being attractive did not guarantee success. She also described her encounter with Danny Boyle, and how he was unable to ‘place her’ in a slum with her ‘face.’
“Slumdog Millionaire was one of the most important projects I ever lost because I was too good at looking for it.” I’ve met Danny Boyle and gone through five rounds of auditions for it. ‘You’re a fantastic actor, are you sure you’re trained in India?’ he said after the fifth round. I had little experience at the time, so I said, “I trained in India.” ‘You speak like an actor from outside of India, not from India, so how do you have this experience?’ he asked. ‘I don’t know, sir, I just try to do it every day,’ I replied. ‘You are such a fantastic actor, but I won’t be able to cast you here because I have to match three age groups, and I can’t put you in a Slumdog Millionaire with your face,’ he explained. “I told myself, ‘I can live in a slum,'” Gauahar told Film Companion.
She added that she had no regrets because she met Danny Boyle, who thought she was a “great actor.” Gauahar expressed her delight at being cast in roles where the directors felt they ‘needed a performance.’
Gauahar also discussed her work on Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year. She revealed that her character was required to be ‘not good-looking,’ and that the film’s director Shimit Amin and his team had to ensure she wore extra ‘jarring’ make-up to fit the character.
“The goal of Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year was to make me look less attractive. Shimit Sir would tell her to put more pink color on her eyes and cheeks, and more jarring lipstick on her, because that was the character’s look. She wasn’t supposed to be particularly attractive… Shimit Sir would still say,’ she’s still too pretty, put more make-up on her,'” Gauahar explained.
Gauahar made her acting debut in the 2009 film Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year alongside Ranbir Kapoor, and has since appeared in films such as Begum Jaan, and Badrinath Ki Dulhania, and others.