Mumbai may be the city of dreams, but the narrow alleys and old movie sets also house within them countless rejections.
Those rejections and unfulfilled dreams form the basis of Sanjay Mishra starrer Har Kisse Ki Hisse Kaamyaab - a delightful film about those actors who never could become 'stars'.
The film follows the life of Babulal Chandola (Sanjay Mishra), a character actor who goes by the stage name Sudheer and has quit movies.
However, when he finds that he is only one film short of completing 500 films, he dons his vibrant shirts, buckled shoes, and wig, and jumps back into the world of movies.
Only to realize that much like everything else, cinema has also moved on. A senior actor like him may enjoy the attention of the occasional die-hard fan, but not the fame of current generation superstars.
What begins as a story of an actor desperately grasping on to his past ends with him shedding the expectations of a false sense of fame and glory.
Sudheer's journey brings into stark focus how actors' lives have a rippling effect on their family. It also allows the audience to catch Sanjay Mishra's range as an actor, while also watching the infallible Deepak Dobriyal's in action.
But most importantly, the story allows you to take a look back at all those characters who were intrinsic to a story, but whose names we never bothered to remember.
In the film, his one dialogue becomes a summary of his 499-films-long career, because that's all people remember. Even though, as he says in the film, there was nothing extraordinarily special about the dialogue.
At that instant, I was reminded of how Mukesh Rishi, despite having an impressive and varied filmography, is mostly remembered for his 'Naam Hai Bulla' dialogue. Or how Keshto Mukherjee, a teetotaler, became the industry's staple comic-drunk.
A scene in the movie brings together some of the Hindi film industry's most memorable character actors but the spotlight is on the audience instead.
Because in that scene, you recognize every actor, and yet would be hard-pressed to remember their movies or characters.
This is the movie's true win - it leaves you with the realization that it does take a village to tell a protagonist's story, even if only the stars make it to the poster and our memories.
Kaamyaab's failure at the Box Office makes you realize how true is the story it stands for. Despite all our claims of looking for actors, we, as the audience, still love our stars a little more.
Perhaps the extra time that lockdown has left us with is as good a reason as any to award this gem of a movie the love and attention it deserves. If for no other reason, then to watch Sanjay Mishra and Deepak Dobriyal's intangible on-screen magic.
The movie is available on Netflix. All images are screenshots from Netflix, unless specified otherwise.