In pictures: Bollywood stars and their tales of struggle

19-May-2016
  • Nawazuddin Siddiqui was born in a small town in Muzaffarnagar. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry. Following this, he worked as a chemist in Vadodara for a year, before leaving for Delhi in search for a new job. Once in Delhi, he secured admission at National School of Drama. After graduating from NSD, he moved to Mumbai. In 2004, which was one of the worst years of his struggle, he couldn't pay any rent. He asked an NSD senior if he could stay with him. The senior allowed him to share his apartment in Goregaon if he was willing to cook meals for him. Nawazuddin made his Bollywood debut in 1999, with a small role in Aamir Khan starrer, 'Sarfarosh'. He hung out at film studios and shootings but only got stereotypical roles. He shared screen along with Sunil Dutt and Sanjay Dutt in 'Munnabhai MBBS' in the opening scenes where he tries to pick the pocket of Sunil Dutt. Between 2002-05, he was largely out of work, and lived in a flat he shared with four other people, and survived by conducting occasional acting workshops. His appearance in Anurag Kashyap's 'Black Friday' (2007) paved way for other powerful roles

    Nawazuddin Siddiqui was born in a small town in Muzaffarnagar. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry. Following this, he worked as a chemist in Vadodara for a year, before leaving for Delhi in search for a new job. Once in Delhi, he secured admission at National School of Drama. After graduating from NSD, he moved to Mumbai. In 2004, which was one of the worst years of his struggle, he couldn't pay any rent. He asked an NSD senior if he could stay with him. The senior allowed him to share his apartment in Goregaon if he was willing to cook meals for him. Nawazuddin made his Bollywood debut in 1999, with a small role in Aamir Khan starrer, 'Sarfarosh'. He hung out at film studios and shootings but only got stereotypical roles. He shared screen along with Sunil Dutt and Sanjay Dutt in 'Munnabhai MBBS' in the opening scenes where he tries to pick the pocket of Sunil Dutt. Between 2002-05, he was largely out of work, and lived in a flat he shared with four other people, and survived by conducting occasional acting workshops. His appearance in Anurag Kashyap's 'Black Friday' (2007) paved way for other powerful roles

  • The legendary Dev Anand worked as a clerk in an accountancy firm before achieving super star status. His salary from the job was all of Rs 85

    The legendary Dev Anand worked as a clerk in an accountancy firm before achieving super star status. His salary from the job was all of Rs 85

  • As a nobody, Manoj Kumar worked as a ghostwriter at different studios and was paid Rs 11 per scene

    As a nobody, Manoj Kumar worked as a ghostwriter at different studios and was paid Rs 11 per scene

  • Much before becoming mega star, Amitabh Bachchan spent some nights on a bench at Marine Drive in Mumbai. It is also well known that he was rejected by a radio company more than once. Big B was not even given a chance to audition

    Much before becoming mega star, Amitabh Bachchan spent some nights on a bench at Marine Drive in Mumbai. It is also well known that he was rejected by a radio company more than once. Big B was not even given a chance to audition

  • Former BCCI president PM Rungta paid for Dilip Kumar's tram tickets as the struggling actor had no money to go to film studios from his home

    Former BCCI president PM Rungta paid for Dilip Kumar's tram tickets as the struggling actor had no money to go to film studios from his home

  • As a newcomer, Madhuri Dixit got plenty of negative feedback from the industry. Then reigning star Meenakshi Sheshadri was among those would felt Mads did not have it in her to succeed in Bollywood. In picture: A still from the film 'Abodh' starring Madhuri and Tapas Paul

    As a newcomer, Madhuri Dixit got plenty of negative feedback from the industry. Then reigning star Meenakshi Sheshadri was among those would felt Mads did not have it in her to succeed in Bollywood. In picture: A still from the film 'Abodh' starring Madhuri and Tapas Paul

  • Singer Asha Bhosle was paid Rs 100 for her first song. How did she spend it? By eating batata wada with her husband on roadside stalls in Mumbai. It may be hard to believe now but, in the 1950s, when she resided in Borivali, she used to take the early morning train and go to work, interacting with commuters on the way. In picture: With sister Lata Mangeshkar

    Singer Asha Bhosle was paid Rs 100 for her first song. How did she spend it? By eating batata wada with her husband on roadside stalls in Mumbai. It may be hard to believe now but, in the 1950s, when she resided in Borivali, she used to take the early morning train and go to work, interacting with commuters on the way. In picture: With sister Lata Mangeshkar

  • After tasting failures in her initial movies, Zeenat Aman was ready to pack her bag and return to Germany with her mother. This was when 'Hare Rama Hare Krishna' (1972) happened. Zaheeda, the original choice for the role, refused the film, and Zeenat was drafted in at the last minute. The rest is history

    After tasting failures in her initial movies, Zeenat Aman was ready to pack her bag and return to Germany with her mother. This was when 'Hare Rama Hare Krishna' (1972) happened. Zaheeda, the original choice for the role, refused the film, and Zeenat was drafted in at the last minute. The rest is history

  • Dharmendra was the winner of a talent hunt, yet he had to bear extreme hardships for a year till 'Bandini' came his way. There were numerous days when Dharmendra did not even have a morsel of food, it has been reported. Another story goes that a producer once refused to pay for Dharmendra's taxi fare, following which the actor got very upset. Shashi Kapoor then took him home, and they had lunch together

    Dharmendra was the winner of a talent hunt, yet he had to bear extreme hardships for a year till 'Bandini' came his way. There were numerous days when Dharmendra did not even have a morsel of food, it has been reported. Another story goes that a producer once refused to pay for Dharmendra's taxi fare, following which the actor got very upset. Shashi Kapoor then took him home, and they had lunch together

  • Mithun Chakraborty recently said that during his days when he danced on stage, he was not even sure whether he would get a meal. He used to wish after every performance that someone big saw him dance, and would give him a break

    Mithun Chakraborty recently said that during his days when he danced on stage, he was not even sure whether he would get a meal. He used to wish after every performance that someone big saw him dance, and would give him a break

  • The affluent Rajesh Khanna had a struggle of a different kind. He approached filmmakers in his own MG sports car!

    The affluent Rajesh Khanna had a struggle of a different kind. He approached filmmakers in his own MG sports car!

  • Amjad Khan slogged for 10 years, did some insignificant roles and had virtually no money when 'Sholay' came his way in 1973. The day Khan signed the film, his son Shadaab was born. There were also stories that Salim-Javed were unhappy with Amjad's performance and wanted him replaced. Khan survived all that and went on to create history

    Amjad Khan slogged for 10 years, did some insignificant roles and had virtually no money when 'Sholay' came his way in 1973. The day Khan signed the film, his son Shadaab was born. There were also stories that Salim-Javed were unhappy with Amjad's performance and wanted him replaced. Khan survived all that and went on to create history

  • Before she became popular, people from the industry mostly referred to Mumtaz as the actress with a pug nose who had no chance of making it. Post her success, the same criticised nose became among her admired features. In picture: A still from film 'Aandhiyan' starring Mumtaz and Prasenjit

    Before she became popular, people from the industry mostly referred to Mumtaz as the actress with a pug nose who had no chance of making it. Post her success, the same criticised nose became among her admired features. In picture: A still from film 'Aandhiyan' starring Mumtaz and Prasenjit

  • Rekha was born to Tamil actor Gemini Ganesan but since her mother and Ganesan were not married, the latter didn't acknowledge his paternity. With her family in a financial crisis, Rekha quit school and took up a career in films. She came to Bombay (now Mumbai) at the age of 13. In picture: A still from 'Agar Tum Na Hote' starring Raj Babbar and Rekha

    Rekha was born to Tamil actor Gemini Ganesan but since her mother and Ganesan were not married, the latter didn't acknowledge his paternity. With her family in a financial crisis, Rekha quit school and took up a career in films. She came to Bombay (now Mumbai) at the age of 13. In picture: A still from 'Agar Tum Na Hote' starring Raj Babbar and Rekha

  • Sanjeev Kumar, who is rated amongst the greatest actors of Indian cinema, had failed a screen test conducted for a Rajshri film. He was part of numerous C-grade stunt films before turning the tide with some amazing performances

    Sanjeev Kumar, who is rated amongst the greatest actors of Indian cinema, had failed a screen test conducted for a Rajshri film. He was part of numerous C-grade stunt films before turning the tide with some amazing performances

  • Renowned for playing villainous roles, Danny Denzongpa used to sleep at Shivaji Park and Juhu Beach. Mostly, guards would shoo him away. He continued to struggle though since he had decided he wouldn't show his face to his parents until he tasted success as an actor

    Renowned for playing villainous roles, Danny Denzongpa used to sleep at Shivaji Park and Juhu Beach. Mostly, guards would shoo him away. He continued to struggle though since he had decided he wouldn't show his face to his parents until he tasted success as an actor

  • At a recent event, Shah Rukh Khan revealed that when he came to Mumbai he did not have money to eat. He even slept on roads for many days near Oberoi Hotel. He and his friends used the Oberoi washroom, behaving as they stayed at the hotel itself. SRK also recalled that in those days he did not even know that there was Mumbai beyond Haji Ali. In picture: With Divya Bharti on the sets of 'Deewana'

    At a recent event, Shah Rukh Khan revealed that when he came to Mumbai he did not have money to eat. He even slept on roads for many days near Oberoi Hotel. He and his friends used the Oberoi washroom, behaving as they stayed at the hotel itself. SRK also recalled that in those days he did not even know that there was Mumbai beyond Haji Ali. In picture: With Divya Bharti on the sets of 'Deewana'

  • Before tasting success, Shatrughan Sinha lived in a small room in a slum area in Mumbai, which he shared with five to six people. He struggled to gather even Rs 200 per month needed for basic expenses

    Before tasting success, Shatrughan Sinha lived in a small room in a slum area in Mumbai, which he shared with five to six people. He struggled to gather even Rs 200 per month needed for basic expenses

  • Mahendra Kapoor used to always travel by train while searching for work. On one of his trips, he met filmmaker H S Rawail, who took him to the Famous Studio at Tardeo. There, Kapoor met Rajendra Kumar, who introduced him to Shyam, the hero of 'Patanga', and, in fact, made him sing in front of him

    Mahendra Kapoor used to always travel by train while searching for work. On one of his trips, he met filmmaker H S Rawail, who took him to the Famous Studio at Tardeo. There, Kapoor met Rajendra Kumar, who introduced him to Shyam, the hero of 'Patanga', and, in fact, made him sing in front of him

  • Govinda, who used to stay in a chawl in Virar, would go to Rajshri Studio everyday, but was rejected on the basis of being too young. Not disheartened, Govinda even made a show reel in which he was seen acting and dancing, and showed it to the production house. In picture: A still from the film 'Awargi' starring Govinda and Meenakshi Sheshadri

    Govinda, who used to stay in a chawl in Virar, would go to Rajshri Studio everyday, but was rejected on the basis of being too young. Not disheartened, Govinda even made a show reel in which he was seen acting and dancing, and showed it to the production house. In picture: A still from the film 'Awargi' starring Govinda and Meenakshi Sheshadri

  • While looking for work, Akshay Kumar assisted one of his photographer friends during photo shoots. Akki wasn't paid for the same. He would bring clothes and other products from Bangkok and Singapore, and sell them here. He would also aid friends in buying and selling flats, and took some commission on the same

    While looking for work, Akshay Kumar assisted one of his photographer friends during photo shoots. Akki wasn't paid for the same. He would bring clothes and other products from Bangkok and Singapore, and sell them here. He would also aid friends in buying and selling flats, and took some commission on the same

  • Frustrated at not getting work, Anupam Kher would many a times take a train from Bandra to Churchgate, sit idle at the station for hours before taking another train back to Bandra

    Frustrated at not getting work, Anupam Kher would many a times take a train from Bandra to Churchgate, sit idle at the station for hours before taking another train back to Bandra

  • Known for his 'tapori' roles, Jackie Shroff used to reside in a chawl in Teen Batti, in south Mumbai. His house comprised seven tiny rooms with 28 occupants

    Known for his 'tapori' roles, Jackie Shroff used to reside in a chawl in Teen Batti, in south Mumbai. His house comprised seven tiny rooms with 28 occupants

  • Before getting his big break, Johnny Lever was a part of Kalyanji-Anandji's group, but was hardly getting any work. In those days, one of the comedian's friends gave him a musical instrument. Lever did not know much about it and gave it to Kalyanji-Anandji. The duo started using the instrument in their compositions and paid Lever Rs 1,000-1500 per month for the same

    Before getting his big break, Johnny Lever was a part of Kalyanji-Anandji's group, but was hardly getting any work. In those days, one of the comedian's friends gave him a musical instrument. Lever did not know much about it and gave it to Kalyanji-Anandji. The duo started using the instrument in their compositions and paid Lever Rs 1,000-1500 per month for the same

  • At a time when Manoj Bajpai had no money at all, he agreed to do the serial 'Swabhimaan' for a mere fee of Rs 2,000 per episode

    At a time when Manoj Bajpai had no money at all, he agreed to do the serial 'Swabhimaan' for a mere fee of Rs 2,000 per episode

  • Early in his career, the versatile Irrfan Khan wasn't paid for some of the movies in which he acted. The producers bluntly told him that his work doesn't merit any pay

    Early in his career, the versatile Irrfan Khan wasn't paid for some of the movies in which he acted. The producers bluntly told him that his work doesn't merit any pay

  • Before becoming an actor, Boman Irani used to work as a waiter at the Taj Hotel. Later, he got into the family's bakery business. The Iranis had a shop in Byculla known as Golden Wafers

    Before becoming an actor, Boman Irani used to work as a waiter at the Taj Hotel. Later, he got into the family's bakery business. The Iranis had a shop in Byculla known as Golden Wafers

  • Neha Dhupia may be a former beauty queen, but not many know that in the first fashion show that she was part of, her job was to help models with their shoes backstage

    Neha Dhupia may be a former beauty queen, but not many know that in the first fashion show that she was part of, her job was to help models with their shoes backstage

  • Following his education, South superstar Rajinikanth did many odd jobs in Bangalore. He worked as a bus conductor for the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation. Rajinikanth used to practice stunts at a temple near his house

    Following his education, South superstar Rajinikanth did many odd jobs in Bangalore. He worked as a bus conductor for the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation. Rajinikanth used to practice stunts at a temple near his house

  • Many years ago, Shahid Kapoor's family used to live in rental flats, and thus they had to constantly shift from one place to the other. On one such occasion, Kapoor's family was not in town and the flat had to be emptied a day early. The actor ended up spending a whole night in a car

    Many years ago, Shahid Kapoor's family used to live in rental flats, and thus they had to constantly shift from one place to the other. On one such occasion, Kapoor's family was not in town and the flat had to be emptied a day early. The actor ended up spending a whole night in a car

  • While shooting at Filmcity, Sonu Sood tweeted that as a struggler he once had a pay a bribe to get an entry into the studio

    While shooting at Filmcity, Sonu Sood tweeted that as a struggler he once had a pay a bribe to get an entry into the studio

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