Short Story 5 – Struggler

13th October 2006:
Today I have reached the city of dreams. I am so happy. I have finally reached my karmabhoomi. The journey was a little difficult with the mosquitoes making me do involuntary blood donation. However, no problem. If my parents could not stop me from coming here, what are a few mosquitoes going to do? You have to make sacrifices to succeed. In comparison to getting disowned by the family, mosquito bites are nothing. They said that thousands go to Mumbai everyday with stars in their eyes. They expect to get success but end up getting only the tag of “struggler”. I said that I am different. I have the talent. I have the willingness to slog. I will not just remain a struggler.

16th November 2006
It has been a month since I have reached here. I have been able to get a room at a building near Film City. It is decent but not as big as my room in Rohtak. The rent is high at Rs. 3000 and the deposit of Rs. 50000 made me almost faint!! I was shocked at such a high price for such a small room. The agent told me that this is Mumbai. If you want to earn big, learn to spend big. Had to agree to his terms. However I had not accounted for this high expenditure this early. Also, the film agent told me to get my photos taken by a proper photographer. He called my existing photos “shaadiwala photo”. That cost me Rs. 15000 more. Itna paisa nahi tha mere paas. Had to sell my gold chain. However, no problem. I have confidence in my talent. Forget this chain. Once I become a star, I will buy a 50 tola waala chain, like Sanjay Dutt in Vaastav.

26th December 2006:
Merry Christmas, dear diary!! This will be a short entry. I have to go out with my friends to celebrate. Nothing fancy, just going to the Nightingale bar. Nice quarter system they have No no, I have not got “the” break. One of my fellow struggler friends got a small role in a TV serial. He is giving a party. He was saying that there is a role lke his for which auditions are going on. He asked me to try. I refused. I am not made for small TV roles. I want to be a star. When I told him this, he just smiled.

15th June 2007:
Sorry for neglecting you for his whole time, dear diary. I just do not have the time. Within 3 months here, I became penniless. What can I do? It is not easy to struggle and remain presentable. I have had to join a gym to maintain my physique Hritik style. I have to get more photos taken. I exhausted the first batch in only one month. It seems like these producers eat up photos of strugglers for lunch. They willingly take our photos and just do not respond. Also have to dress well. All my savings which I thought would last a year gone in no time!! So, against my principles, I have started doing a part time job. As a waiter on the 2nd floor food court at Infinity mall. What would my father say if he knew about it? I feel so ashamed clearing the leftovers with my bare hands. Par kya karein. Paapi pet ka sawaal hain. My big break does not seem to be coming. I even tried for a villain’s role in a South film. I do not want to do a sidey role in Bollywood. I want to remain “fresh” here. My friends laugh at me. All are doing bit roles here and there. I just cannot. I want to be a star. And nothing else.

2nd January 2008:
Dear diary, I just cannot explain to you what happened to me today. got a call today from a producer. He has called me for a screen test. Normally I get called to a lot of screen tests. But this time, it is for the second screen test. I am one of only three to be called in. If convert this, I will be finally achieving my dream!! Please pray for me.

4th January 2008:
I hate this city!! I hate this film industry!! They do not give a shit about talent. This industry is full of bastards!!
I went for the screen test. The test was done by no one but the director of the film. He explained me the shot. Before I started reciting, he said that the clothes worn by me are not proper. This scene is supposed to be happening while I am having a bath. So he told me to take off my clothes. I did as he said. I stripped naked but for my undies. Then this guy, this guy, he felt me. He started touching me all over my body. He even asked me, “Do you bath with your chaddi on? I want you to be as realistic as possible.” I wanted to slap him. But I did not. I pushed him away. As I started putting my clothes on, he said with a smirk, “One has to compromise, young man”. I called him “gaandu” and stormed out.
Today I hear that I have been blacklisted by his banner. People are looking at me funnily. Even my friends got to know about it before I told them. They were like, dude, did you not know about that guy. He has different preferences. They were even saying that I should have done “it”. I cannot. I will never do such a thing. It is against my principles. Should I?

After almost two years, I am getting my break. While my bad experience in the beginning of this year left me with no job, it at least taught me something. One has to compromise, that creep said. He said correctly. So I have learnt to compromise. No, not like that, cheap diary  I started taking odd jobs. Anything and everything which let me do my stuff in front of the camera. It at least allowed me to say tata to my waitergiri. I developed contacts through my odd assignments. That helped me more than those blasted photos. Now I am finally getting a big role. Not of the hero though. I am playing side hero to Salman Khan. I have been called to the Hyatt day after tomorrow where the producers are meeting to finalise the schedule of the film. If this thing works, I can tell my parents that I am not just one of the strugglers. I can finally buy a gold chain. Not the 50 tola waala. At least 0.5 tola. Things are looking good.
P.S.: Date daalna bhool gaya. 24th November.
P.P.S: Producer called. Venue changed to the Taj. Always wanted to go there.

Note 1:
I have never done the “struggle”. I do not understand why people would want to get into so much hardship when the success rate is so abysmal. However, I do empathize with the strugglers. I have seen a lot of them when my office was in Oshiwara. Their eyes have a sort of a glint. As if they are literally seeing stars. Many a times I have seen them when they look sad. Maybe a failed audition. Sometimes I have seen them in a good mood. Maybe an encouraging gesture by the producer. It is difficult not to feel sad for them and their uncertain future. It does take balls to live that type of life where you have no idea where you will be in one week.

Note 2 :
I used this post as a reference. In fact I do recommend PFC as a site to follow if you love cinema and the people behind it.



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2 responses to “Short Story 5 – Struggler

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