Arshad Warsi: Actor, TV-anchor, choreographer…photo lab assistant, salesman; yes, he has done it all!
Arshad Warsi was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. There was a time when his financial state was near bankruptcy but he had a dream to become rich while staying alive on the streets of Mumbai.
His journey was full of obstacles, in an industry which prefers to keep its actors separate from its stars, but his success is a shining example of hard work and dedication.
Born in a Muslim family in Mumbai, Warsi did his schooling at a boarding school in Nashik. Orphaned at the age of 14, he had to quit school after the 10th grade and begin his struggle for survival.
Before trying his hand at acting, Arshad Warsi worked as a cosmetic salesman at the age of 17, and, later, in a photo lab.
His interest in dancing helped him join Akbar Sami’s dance group in Mumbai as a choreographer earning just Rs.1000.
Much before he became an actor, he had become an ace choreographer.
He won several dance competitions, stood fourth in World Dance Championship and eventually started his own dance studio ‘Awesome’.
While choreographing a track for the film ‘Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja’, he bagged his first role as an actor in ‘Tere Mere Sapne’ (1996).
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“I didn’t want to act because I was scared of failure…I never thought I would have to act to take home my dreams.”
He appeared in films like ‘Betaabi’, ‘Mere Do Anmol Ratan’, ‘Hero Hindustani’, and ‘Hogi Pyaar Ki Jeet’, none of which worked well at the box office.
But Arshad’s career got its Midas moment when he was cast as Circuit in ‘Munnabhai MBBS’ (2003).
He was going to reject the film until a tarot card reader friend advised him to do otherwise. That proved to be a career-defining decision. BTW, he was first considered for the role of “munna” it was eventually played by Sanjay Dutt.
Post the phenomenal success of Munnabhai films, Arshad has appeared on television as a host of a dance reality show called ‘Razzmatazz’, shared space with Karisma Kapoor in a TV serial and was the first host of ‘Bigg Boss’.
Warsi is also a national-level gymnast and a film producer.
Adding to his long list of qualities, Warsi is an enthusiastic biker who would “buy two bikes, two watches and throw a party” if he had to spend a crore in a day.
We have seen Warsi playing comic roles, but he also received critical acclaim for his performance in ‘Sehar’, ‘Ishqiya’ and ‘Dedh Ishqiya’. But if we are to believe his wife, Maria Goretti, we “haven’t seen best of Arshad yet”.
No wonder why Naseeruddin Shah hailed him as the “best all-round actor of this generation”.
From not being able to afford an auto from Juhu to Andheri in 1992 to wooing his audience with his roles as Circuit, Babban and Jolly, Arshad Warsi has undoubtedly carved out a comfortable space for himself in Bollywood.