September 26, 2023

If luck favors a man, he becomes a hero overnight. You must have heard this saying many times. But in Bollywood, this saying is seen to be true. That’s why the next generation of this proverb also applies to the people here. It is said -” The fate of film people changes from Friday to Friday.” If someone’s luck shines for three to four Fridays, then he becomes a superstar. However, let’s see how many ‘zero to hero’ have come in this industry.

There is a song ‘Takdeer Ka Fasana…Jakar Kise Sunayen’ – This song was written by Hasrat Jaipuri who came to Mumbai from Jaipur to try his luck in Bombay film city in 1940. Hasrat Saheb had come into depression while struggling in the Mumbai (Tabka Bombay) film industry in those days when this song was written. When he did not get work in films, he started doing bus conductorship. The salary was Rs 11 per month. He was also fond of performing music. After duty went to a Mushaira where he was heard by Prithvi Raj Kapoor. Prithvi Raj Kapoor said that my son (Raj Kapoor) is making a film, go and tell him something, maybe it will work for you. Hasrat went to Raj Saheb, and after that, the bus of his life picked up speed and did not stop. This zero lyricist had become a hero.

Takdeer bhi kuch hai, for those who do not believe, Dilip Kumar’s entry into films can be cited as an example. Dilip Kumar was then a lover named Yusuf who used to sell fruits by shouting in Nashik (Maharashtra). A car passed by his cart. Bombay Talkies owner Devika Rani and Himanshu Rai were going in the car. The voice of Lavande (boy) selling fruits was so loud that Devika-Himanshu stopped the car. Will you work in the film? The boy ignored his words and asked how much fruit I should give. Devika Rani said to come to Bombay and meet. Yusuf became the fruit boy Dilip Kumar!

There are many other examples in Bollywood, seeing whose status today, even that song would not be able to be remembered – Takdeer Ka Fasana! Dharmendra used to work as a tube bell operator in Sahnewal, Ludhiana (Punjab), but ran away from his job, and came to Mumbai to work in films. Lived in a railway quarter in Matunga. Due to not being able to pay the rent, he was going back to the village when Manoj Kumar, his fellow struggler of those days, told him about a film in the making and said- ‘Look at this last chance’. And, that last hope worked wonders. Needless to say further.

The stories of becoming a hero from zero are very interesting in the record of the struggle of that era. Jitendra’s father (Ekta Kapoor’s grandfather) used to make and sell fake jewelry for film shoots. One day son Ravi Kapoor was sent to Rajkamal Studio to deliver jewelry. Where the shooting of V. Shantaram’s film ‘Geet Gaya Pattharon Ne’ was going on. Jitendra is asked by Shantaram to do a shot and Ravi Bhai returns home as a hero in the name of Jitendra. Jitendra and Rajesh Khanna used to study together at Mumbai’s KC College. Rajesh Khanna was then Jatin Khanna, the adopted son of a wealthy father. When Jeetu’s classmate ‘Kaka’ came on the screen as Rajesh Khanna, his craze increased so much that he ran away to Bombay to work in films till Boys Kya Ladkiyan.

Late journalist Z A Johar once fed Mithun Chakraborty in a restaurant during the days of struggle and a journalist (Sharad Rai) from ‘Mayapuri’ interviewed Jackie Shroff sitting on a bench in Mumbai’s Hanging Gardens because Jackie Couldn’t take him to his house with three lights. The journey from zero to hero has a long list of stars riding on it. Jani Walker used to drive a cycle rickshaw, Jagdeep used to sell women’s goods, and Mumtaz was a group dancer. Katrina Kaif and Smriti Irani worked in restaurants, Govinda was a dancer for Ganpati and Navratri festivals, Rajini Kant was a bus conductor and Kamal Haasan was a dance master. Akshay Kumar used to sell Fashion Street clothes and Kundan jewelry. This means- everyone has a story and this is the story of becoming a hero from zero.

Luck really works in Bollywood. Success has been seen here in the blink of an eye. That’s why people here mostly live by luck. It cannot be said when the person coming into this industry will get a tika of luck. So, if you are also trying, then all the best!!

 

– Translated by Muskan Taneja

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