"I'm a farmer's son- I grew up in a small village in Bihar with 5 siblings, and we went to a hut school there. We led a simple life, but whenever we went to the city, we'd go to the theatre. I was a big Amitabh Bachchan fan- I wanted to be just like him.
I was 9, but I knew that acting was my destiny. But I couldn't even afford to dream, so I continued my schooling. But my mind refused to focus on anything but acting, so at 17, I left my village to go to Delhi University.
There, I delved into theatre but my family had no idea. Finally, I wrote a letter to dad and told him that I wanted to be an actor. He wasn't angry- instead he sent me 200 Rupees to cover my fees! People back home called me 'bhaand' and 'good for nothing' but I turned a blind eye.
I was an outsider, trying to fit in. So, I began to teach myself English and Hindi- Bhojpuri was a big part of the Hindi I spoke. I then applied to NSD, but was rejected thrice- I've never come as close to committing suicide as I did then. My friends were scared- they would sleep next to me and not leave me alone. They encouraged me to keep going, until finally, I was accepted.
That year, I was at a nukkad chai shop when I saw my friend Tigmanshu coming on his khatara scooter, looking for me- Shekhar Kapur wanted to cast me in Bandit Queen! Thinking that I was finally ready, I moved to Mumbai.
The first 4 years were the hardest- I rented a chawl with 5 friends and ran from one studio to the next for work. No roles came my way. Once, an AD ripped my photo up and threw it. Another time, I lost 3 projects in a day. But the hunger in my stomach couldn't remove the hunger to succeed from my heart.
After 4 years of struggling, I got a small role in one of Mahesh Bhatt's TV series. I was paid Rs.1500 per episode- it was my first 'steady' income. My work was noticed and I was offered my first Bollywood film, and soon, I got my big break with 'Satya'.
That's when the awards rolled in. I bought my first house and knew… I was here to stay. 67 films later, here I am. That's the thing about dreams- when it comes to turning them into reality, the struggle and hardships don't matter. What matters is the belief of that 9-year-old Bihari boy, and nothing else."
Humans of Bombay, Fb
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