In the ’60s a young man called Dharam Singh Deol aka Dharmendra got so crazy over Bollywood star Dilip Kumar that he ran away from his small village Nasrali, in Ludhiana district, Punjab to become a film star in Mumbai. Fortunately, he won the Filmfare talent haunt contest and was selected for a film but alas the film was never made and Dharam had to smuggle for survival in Mumbai. He spent several nights with an empty stomach. He travelled walking as he had no money for bus fare. Eventually, his hard work and determination won fruits when he was offered Bandini (1963), a film directed by Bimal Roy. Further with the success of Phool Aur Patthar (1966) he became a hot star! A true story of rags to riches with determination
Actor, Film maker and Member of Parliament Sunil Dutt before joining Bollywood worked as ‘Radio Journalist for radio Ceylon on a paltry salary of Rs. 60/- per month. His job involved taking film stars interviews. It was his interaction with stars that helped him secure entry into Bollywood. Later luck played a Lion’s share when Dilip Kumar turned down Mother India and Mehboob Khan offered him the role of Birju which immortalized Dutt forever. Sunil Dutt like Dharmendra also had rags to riches story
Ace filmmaker and actor Guru Dutt during his struggle phase happened to friendship with Dev Anand an equally intelligent and talented actor. Guru Dutt who was curving to expose his ideas on celluloid but lack of financial support crippled his aspirations. However thanks to Dev Anand no sooner he turned producer he hired Guru Dutt‘s service to direct his maiden venture Baazi thus opening new vistas for the genius to explore. He later made milestone films like Pyaasa, Kaagaz Ke Phool, Sahib Bibi Aur Gulam, and Chaudhvin Ka Chand, etc.
Jumping jack and C.E.O. of India’s premier production house Balaji Telefilms – Jeetendra once worked as an eighth assistant with V. Shantaram whose main job was to look into the official matter but more than that he was interested to face the camera and kept pestering V. Shantaram to give him a break as an actor. Tired Shantaram once gave him a one-line dialogue scene in the movie – Sehra. Recalling that scene Jeetendra says, “I could not act that brief cameo. Then I realized how difficult it is to act before the camera. Later Shantaramji gave me hardcore training before casting me as the hero in his movie Geet Gaya Patharon Ne (1964) but the film flopped and Jeetendra had to struggle for 3 more years until the success of Farz (1967) established Jeetendra as a star in Bollywood and rest is history.
Termed as a ‘gem of an actor’ by none other but by ‘God of acting’ Dilip Kumar – this Gujarati stage actor – Haribhai Jariwala aka Sanjeev Kumar – made entry into Bollywood in the early ’60s and only in the ’70s was able to make his presence felt after struggling for almost a decade doing ‘B’ grade action flicks like Nishan, Badal, etc. Finally, in Shikar (1968) he won the Best Supporting Actor Filmfare award for his superlative role as a cop opposite star Dharmendra. Later, in Sungharsh (1968) he worked opposite thespian Dilip Kumar and proved his genius as an actor par excellence. Further with filmmaker Gulzar‘s film like Mausam, Koshish, Andhi, Angoor, etc. Sanjeev Kumar became a name to reckon. Of Course in Sholay, Sanjeev Kumar stood rock solid opposite stars like Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra!!