Monica Murthy empathizes with the struggle of newcomers in Mumbai’s fledgling entertainment industry, and how the new-age convergence is helping the small-town youngsters with dreams in their eyes to overcome odds.
The Maya Nagri has a unique quality that continues to attract youngsters from all over India who come here with big dreams. The city may offer great opportunities, but the path to success is often strewn with arduous struggle. Mumbai, the business capital of India, is home to around 13 million, and the population has grown rapidly in the last 20 years. It is one of the largest cities of India as far as population, business and trade activities are concerned.
From trade to other forms of career like acting, singing, dancing, film-making and modeling there are many openings where the youth want to create a mark. The shows aired on TV like Indian Idol, Dance India Dance and several others attract many from the hinterland.
These are a vivid example of people coming here and struggling to get fame and accolades. If one catches a local train in Mumbai, various facets of life and people struggling to achieve their goals can be observed from close quarters.
They are in various age groups like school students travelling far to get good education and be like their counterparts studying in prestigious institutions like Bombay Scottish and Bombay Cambridge. There are students who have come from other parts of India to pursue professional courses.
Struggle is inevitable in Mumbai, and the harsh daily reality is reflected in the adage: Those who can live in Mumbai can live anywhere in the world.
Various institutes across the megapolis offer a slew of professional courses like the Xavier’s Institute Mass Communication for media studies, Whistling Woods International for acting, film-making, MBA, direction and IIT-Powai for a gamut of technical professional courses.
Despite graduating from these reputed institutions, success is never guaranteed. Take the case of Bollywood, where strugglers dot the industry landscape. Ditto, for the flourishing small screen industry and the convergence of media and films holds out promise for aspiring youngsters from across India.
Aquib Nadeem, a student from Nagpur and an ardent fan of Hrithik Roshan, is seeking an acting career in Bollywood, and has joined Whistling Woods International to realize his dreams. Despite stiff opposition from his kin to join the fledgling make-believe film industry, he is working hard to overcome all odds. He has already bagged a modeling assignment with Ricon Builders and is looking forward for a good start in films alongside parallel work in ad shoots.
A struggling TV serial actor Anurag Sharma from the soap Pavitra Rishta sums up the mood of his ilk. “TV serial actors are insecure because work is fickle and we have to depend on other source of income.”
People who start their career in Mumbai have to go through a prolonged struggle like staying in places where there are no proper civic amenities like water, electricity etc. Rents are also prohibitively expensive.
The struggle apart, the glitter of success has made many an ardent admirer of Mumbai. Take the case of Ashim Sen, a director of TV shows and events, and has been working rigorously for the past 30 years. ‘If one works here, big bucks are there to be made,” he says.
Be that as it may, push and pull is the hallmark of the entertainment industry. No wonder, the industry insiders’ near and dear ones have it easy. While, for a fresher, it’s extremely difficult to make it on sheer talent.
However, several training schools and newer opportunities, online discussion forums and groups are the best platform for newcomers to launch themselves into the industry.
With the growing population and increasing competition, the fight to get to the top would continue, where struggle remains a necessary ingredient in carving out a place for an outsider in Mumbai.