There was no beginner's luck for Abhishek. His first film Refugee released in the year 2000. Directed by J P Dutta and co-starring Kareena Kapoor, it failed to make an impression at the box office. However, Abhishek was nominated for the Filmfare Best Male Debut Award. His second and third films, Dhai Akshar Prem Ke, opposite future wife Aishwarya Rai, and Tera Jadoo Chal Gaya, which were released in the same year, were also complete failures.