Updated: Nov 20, 2020
There has been a lot talked about Bollywood in the recent times not for its films but nepotism. And therefore is perceived as a place of the war between star kids and newcomers from non-filmy background. Over the years, there have been quite a few who have made it big on the scene without inside help, and that speaks volumes of how perseverance and hard work with a dash of hope really can go a long way.
Struggles have remained in existence for these men even after firmly having created a name in the industry, but the taste of success has lead them to firmly believe that every inch of the struggle is always worth it in the end. So without further ado, here’s a list of 7 male actors who proved to us that anything is possible.
Undeniably one of the most versatile actors Bollywood has the pleasure of seeing; Ranveer did not have it easy at all. Born without a silver spoon, he experienced a lot of rejection and was ridiculed for his nature way too often. His stardom was questioned more than once, with the rumors about Ranveer’s father paying Aditya Chopra to launch his career. He also spoke about how he had to keep his emotional and serious persona under the wraps as he believed it hindered with his growth in the industry.
He has always felt that his dreams were too farfetched for him to reach, and he almost gave it all up when he left for university in America until a chance encounter there gave him the opportunity to perform on stage that made him realize that he was born to perform in front of people.
His struggles have proved that he dug his career and sculpted it with his own hands to make it look the way it does today, including his glittering blockbuster debut with Band Baaja Baarat and his versatility shown through his roles in movies like Dil Dhadakne Do, Padmaavat and Gully Boy.
If you are a Ranveer fan, THIS VIDEO is a must watch.
His journey to stardom is one of inspiration. Bajpayee grew up in extremely humble beginnings in Bihar. His love for films started at a very young age idolizing Amitabh Bachchan. The 9-year-old Manoj had convinced himself that acting was life for him.
At the age of 17, Manoj bought a one way ticket to Delhi to study acting without even informing his parents.
The early days in Delhi were not the easy ones as he struggled with basic communication and had to learn English and Hindi to simply fit in. After being rejected from National School of Drama for three times, he was very close to giving up hope and even had suicidal thoughts. Thankfully, his friends did not let him drown under the dark tides and stood by him until he found admission in the School.
From there on, one would think things would get simpler owing to his NSD background. On the contrary, Manoj’s struggles became mounted further as he moved to Bombay. As shiny as a city it was, Bombay proved to be extremely expensive for Manoj to afford. He was told that he did not have a hero-like face as he continued to lose one project after another in a short period of time and was constantly encouraged to go back. He saw major financial struggles in life before landing TV serials like “Kalakaar” and “Swabhimaan” before finding his big break in the Ram Gopal Varma’s 1998 film “Satya”
Boman Irani is one of the finest actors of Bollywood today, but in his personal life, he has been through a lot. He lost his father at a young age, and had to see his mother struggle to raise him and his sisters all by herself. Born neurodivergent with ADHD, he began singing in school to help his speech. He did science in school but was immensely passionate about theatre and the arts.
Boman started his career as a waiter at the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai where he worked for 2 years. He later became a sports photographer as he continued to act in theatre plays but could not pursue acting as a full time career owing to family commitments.
During one the theatre plays, he was noticed by Vidhu Vinod Chopra which led to him landing the unforgettable role of Dr Asthana in Rajkumar Hirani's directorial debut “Munna Bhai MBBS”. With the blockbuster success of the film, Irani became an overnight star at 43. Since then, he has only seen growth and is one of the most appreciated actors of the industry today.
Arshad lost his parents at a very young age, affecting his personal growth in many different ways. Being the most responsible one, he and his brother had it hard growing up all alone without much support. He learnt it firsthand what it meant to go from riches-to-rags, but it only made him stronger.
Walking his way into Bollywood through the field of dance and choreography, Arshad firmly planted his feet in the industry sands, but could not establish himself as a mainstream hero. One can see this through the fact that he only landed his major lead role in Jolly LLB in 2013, doing only side roles for a major part of his career.
Despite the creativity and uniqueness of his movies, they did not do well on the charts. Critics, however, have always praised his skills, even if box office numbers did not look as good. His breakthrough in Bollywood was the 2003 blockbuster Munna Bhai MBBS by Rajkumar Hirani, where he played the role of Circuit, the best friend of Munna, the lead role played by Sanjay Dutt. He then starred in film series like Golmaal and Dhamaal, which are both classic comedies.
Rao grew up in Gurgaon. He was raised in a financially difficult environment and there was a time in school when his teachers paid for his school fees. One he moved to Bombay, things did not change much as he struggled with everyday chores as he tried to survive in this expensive city.
Theatre in Delhi was tiring and hectic because he would often cycle down from Gurgaon. He had a limited outlook of the industry but he knew hard work. His fondest memories are about his friend and him hopping from studio to studio, wiping the Bombay pollution from their faces with rose water.
Rao found his break into the industry with the Dibakar Banerjee’s 2010 film Love Sex aur Dhoka.
With the outstanding success of horror comedy film- Stree, one must look at Rao’s inspiring journey to stardom and believe that everything is, and can be achieved. Rao has seen financial instabilities at its worst and he has only grown from there, because he did not give up and refused to let go of his dreams, setting the precedent that good things come to all those who wait and never give up.
Personally- one of my favorites, Akshay never actually dreamt of becoming an actor in the first place. He started his career waiting tables in Bangkok to pay for his Mauy Thai training- an ancient martial art form he was learning. To meet his living expenses, he worked as a clerk, jewelry trader and even a salesman before moving to Mumbai and teaching Mauy Thai.
Upon receiving comments about his good looks and physical features, he pursued modeling, though that too was extremely hard considering it took him 18 months to get a simple portfolio made.
As they say- Mumbai is the city of Dreams, acting happened as a chance meeting during studio recruitments and he debuted in the 1991 film- Saugandh. In the 90s, he became famous for his image as romantic action hero. Most of his early films were action thrillers with the word “Khiladi” in the title. Later with the film Hera Pheri, he ventured into comedy and the experiment gave us the comedian Akshay Kumar we know today.
Today, he is one of the most sought-after actors in Bollywood with a glittering career in his name and critically acclaimed movies talking about social causes like Mission Mangal, Padman, and Toilet etc.
The King of Bollywood started really humble and has continuously maintained that image off-screen despite all the years of incomparable stardom. His respect for people has not changed, a very important lesson that one should be humble for what they have. His journey began with the loss of his parents to cancer, too early too soon.
Acting for him was a vent out more than it was a place of work. He took up films denied by stars simply to overcome the financial instabilities he and his sister went through after their parents’ demise. He also suffered from extreme depression owing to the constant pressure of staying relevant in the industry.
SRK has had his fair share of beautifully artistic movies failing big at the Box Office, like Asoka, Swades. He also went through a disturbing time during the three blockbuster villainous roles that he undertook in the films- Bazigar, Darr and Anjaam. He found a fair share of hits in love stories like the iconic DDLJ, Dil toh pagal hai and Kuch kuch hota hai.
When he first came to Bombay, he got so frustrated with the everyday struggles that one day he went to Marine Drive shouted “I’ll rule this city one day”. Guess, that one is off the list!
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Anushka Chandra, Content Writer, Skyshot Media