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28 Bollywood Celebrities And Their Heart-wrenching Tales Of Struggles

Published on 19 February, 2018 at 7:59 pm By

Behind every success story or successful people, be it in business, sports or entertainment, there are many inspirational stories of hardships and difficulties that they have faced in their early stage of life and how they have overcome them before tasting success. In this post, we bring you the inspiring stories of some people from the world of Indian cinema. Take a read.

1. Amitabh Bachchan


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


2. Dharmendra

Actor-turned-politician Dharmendra was the winner of a talent hunt. However, he had to bear extreme hardships for a year till ‘Bandini’ came his way in 1963. It has been reported that Dharmendra even live on without having a morsel of food for numerous day. Story also has it that a producer once refused to pay for his taxi fare, which made him very upset.


3. Rekha

Bhanurekha Ganesan, better known by her stage name 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, she quit school and took up a career in films. She came to Mumbai at the age of 13.


4. Rajinikanth


Superstar Rajinikanth did many odd jobs in his early years. He worked as a bus conductor for the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation before becoming a star. It is said that Rajinikanth used to practice stunts at a temple near his house before becoming a mega star.


5. Dev Anand

Legendary actor Dev Anand worked as a clerk in an accountancy firm before becoming a superstar. It is said that his salary from the job was all of Rs 85.


6. Dilip Kumar

The Tragedy King Dilip Kumar had gone through a tough life in his early careers. It is said that former BCCI president PM Rungta paid for his tram tickets as the struggling actor had no money to go to film studios from his home.


7. Mithun Chakraborty

Actor, television presenter and a former Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament Mithun Chakraborty had lived a tough life in his early years. He recently said that during his days when he danced on stage, he was not even sure whether he would get a meal. It is said that he used to wish after every performance that someone big saw him dance, and would give him a break.


8. Rajesh Khanna

Versatile actor Rajesh Khanna had a struggle of a different kind. It is said that the affluent actor used to approach filmmakers in his own MG sports car before becoming a big name in the industry.


9. Zeenat Aman

Zeenat Aman was ready to pack her bag and return to Germany with her mother after tasting failures in her initial movies. This was when ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna’ (1972) happened. However, luck has it that Zaheeda, the original choice for the role, refused the film, and Zeenat was drafted in at the last minute. And the rest is history.


10. Amjad Khan

Amjad Khan did some insignificant roles and had virtually no money when ‘Sholay’ came his way in 1973. It is said that the day he signed the film, his son was born. Stories also has it that Salim-Javed were unhappy with Amjad’s performance and wanted him replaced. However, Khan survived all that and went on to create history.


11. Mumtaz

Before she became a popular name, Mumtaz was referred to as the actress with a pug nose who had no chance of making it by the people from the industry. However, post her success, the same criticized nose became among her admired features.


12. Sanjeev Kumar

Sanjeev Kumar 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. No wonder, Sanjeev is rated amongst the greatest actors of Indian cinema.


13. Danny Denzongpa

Danny Denzongpa used to sleep at Shivaji Park and Juhu Beach in Mumbai. As expected, 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. Today, he is renowned for playing villainous roles in the Indian cinema.


14. Shatrughan Sinha

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.


15. Anupam Kher

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.


16. Mahendra Kapoor

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 (Left) rediff

17. Manoj Kumar

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


18. Govinda

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.


19. Jackie Shroff

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.


20. Johnny Lever

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.


21. Manoj Bajpayee

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


22. Shah Rukh Khan

Shah Rukh Khan had revealed that when he came to Mumbai three decades ago he did not have money to eat or place to stay. 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.


23. Madhuri Dixit

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.


24. Akshay Kumar

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.


25. Nawazuddin Siddiqui

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.


26. Irrfan Khan

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.


27. Boman Irani

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.


28. Neha Dhupia

Actress 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.



Who else you know other than the above mentioned ones?


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