Belonging to the film industry doesn’t just mean being all glamorous and doing a bit of drama at the call of “Lights, camera, action!” It’s hard work just like any other career, and it’s even more challenging when you are an outsider in Bolly-town. 

From facing gruelling auditions to nepotism, the so-called “outsiders” in Bollywood have to go through a lot to make a name for themselves. Here are 10 actors who struggled to make it big in the industry. 

1. Rajkummar Rao

Rajkummar Rao, one of the finest actors of today, revealed that growing up, he looked up to Shah Rukh Khan and thought that if he could make it big in the industry being an outsider, so could he. The actor made no money initially and had to share meals with his friends sometimes. With persistence, he got big roles in movies like Kai Po Che, Ludo and Badhaai Do. He said that people who weren’t interested in him for lead roles offer him films today as he believed in himself and the energy of the universe. 

I met with countless ADs and casting directors. They would call me in for the smallest of roles and I would try to convince them to at least let me try out the bigger parts…but I was turned down. But I didn’t let any of it demotivate me – I believed that someone would see my talent.

-Rajkummar Rao

2. Vidyut Jammwal

Vidyut Jammwal, who has done films like Force, Commando and Sanak, said that for Bollywood outsiders like him, quality work is the most important. He said that he has moments of self-doubt sometimes when he feels that he should quit and the path has a lot of risks. But in the end, his motto that “it’s all worth it” makes him get up and shine. 

Every time we come, we need to come with a big bang. We can’t just do ordinary stuff. I don’t have a father who is a director, producer or actor. Every time I need to do something which will scream out and say ‘Oh My God, that’s the thing to do’.

-Vidyut Jammwal

3. Ayushmann Khurrana

Ayushmann Khurrana, one of the A-list actors of Bollywood, revealed that his father “kicked him out” of his house when he said that he wanted to become an actor. His father even put conditions in front of him that he had to have a hundred per cent attendance in college and had to top if he wanted to pursue acting, which he did. 

Log bhag kar actor bante hain, mujhe bhagaya gaya tha. It is not easy to be an outsider and find your feet in Bollywood.

-Ayushmann Khurrana

4. Radhika Apte

Having done films like Parched, Andhadhun and Pad ManRadhika Apte has established herself in the industry. During her struggling days, she got depressed because she had no one to talk to. She wouldn’t even get paid for her projects and had to run after people for the money she deserved. 

I had no good friends. I wanted to do films and I didn’t know a single soul, I didn’t know any casting director, I didn’t know anybody! I didn’t know where to start from. So, I’d wake up and feel what do I do? Whom should I call? Where do I go?

-Radhika Apte

5. Randeep Hooda

With brilliant acting in movies like Sarbjit, Highway and Do Lafzon Ki KahaaniRandeep Hooda has proved himself. However, he has had his share of struggles in the industry and faced a lot of rejections in his journey too. But he took it as a challenge and never stopped trying, which was worth the pain. 

There is a close group of people who cast people from their own circle because they feel comfortable working with them.

-Randeep Hooda

6. Kriti Sanon

Kriti Sanon comes from a middle-class family and struggled in her initial days in the industry. She said that she used to feel like a loner at the parties she would go to and would get restless and insecure before the launch of her films. But she took “baby steps” to make it happen for her and ended up starring in movies like Luka Chuppi, Bareilly Ki Barfi and Mimi

Initially, my relatives and friends told me that Bollywood is too big a dream to pursue and there are too many people who are struggling and want to be in this industry.

-Kriti Sanon

7. Nawazuddin Siddiqui

Nawazuddin Siddiqui has starred in films like Gangs Of Wasseypur, Manjhi and Bajrangi Bhaijaan. He revealed that he went through a phase of depression too, initially. However, he asserted that every new place has its own fair share of struggle and a person just has to work in the right direction to achieve success. 

When you go to any place which is new, it is a struggle, that is the only thing with which we can fight, asaani se toh koi bhi cheez nahi mil sakti. If you get it easily, then you don’t value it. When you get success after struggling, it has its own happiness.

-Nawazuddin Siddiqui

8. Siddhant Chaturvedi

Siddhant Chaturvedi’s statement, when Indian film critic Rajeev Masand invited all Bollywood newcomers to a talk show, went viral for the right reasons. He said, “Difference yahi hai ki jahaan humaare sapne poore hote hai, waha inke struggle shuru hote hai.” 

It is a known fact that outsiders take way longer to make their presence felt in the industry. I have seen many who have gone through a lot before they were even spotted to do something substantial despite having serious talent. I too have had my fair share of struggles for many years, which I truly cherish, before I got my break.

-Siddhant Chaturvedi

9. Pankaj Tripathi

Pankaj Tripathi has delivered some of the most memorable performances in films such as Kaagaz, Ludo and Gunjan Saxena. He revealed that he had struggled during his early days in the film industry, but said that his journey is proof that people can make it big in the film industry. 

When you come to the industry as an outsider, you have to make seven runs in one ball – hit a sixer and then run and take one more. That is the fun of it. Make the most out of the chances you get. 

-Pankaj Tripathi

10. Manoj Bajpayee

With movies like Dial 100, Gangs Of Wasseypur and Aiyaary, Manoj Bajpayee is one of the best Bollywood actors today. Hailing from a village in Bihar, the actor couldn’t afford to pursue acting as his career, and even got rejected at the National School of Drama thrice. He taught himself Hindi and English to fit into the industry as he was an ‘outsider’. Manoj climbed up the ladder of success after undergoing depression and a lot of hard work.

Hats off to these for their persistent hard work that motivates us to do the same, as dreams do come true!