Having hosted the reality game show Kaun Banega Crorepati, actor Shah Rukh Khan was approached to play a fictional host in the film Slumdog Millionaire. But after working 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 appearance on Jonathan Ross’s chat show while promoting his 2010 film My Name is Khan, the host asked the actor 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.” Shah Rukh 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 added, “It was a great film.”
In a 2009 interview with Bombay Times, the actor said that he knew Danny Boyle felt bad about his decision to turn down the offer to appear in the film, but that he doesn’t regret it. “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,” Shah Rukh had said.