I Went To Bollywood As A 21 Year Old And Here I Am, Jobless, Struggling, Even After Many Great Stints

By Iresh Gupta 

bollywood
Public Transport in Mumbai

#LifeInBombay I am sitting in a weird looking merry go round. You know, the one where you know that ride won’t be really comfortable. A ride that has stopped midway, a ride where I am hanging mid-air.

Bollywood or the industry that I am here to work in is not a very understanding entity. It doesn’t owe me a happy life and it has new thousands like me to deal with everyday. The journey here picks you up from your top & best position and shamelessly throws you down into the digs.

I’ve been in this city called Bombay for the past 6 months, now recalling back the time when I packed my bags and came here ‘forever’. And for the last month and half, I am jobless – a tag I never thought of having at the age of 21.

When People Ask Me These Days, I Tell Them That I Am Struggling

To be honest, I am not. I luckily belong to a generation of people who have had easier access to probably ‘everything’ that they demanded. ‘Struggle’ is maybe just a word we use to try and break the ‘comfort zone’ around us.

So, I am trying to struggle and I want to struggle, but I am not. I believe there’s everything in me that’s needed to be the ‘one’ here. It’s just that I don’t know the process. I don’t know if sitting home for 24 hours, frustrated, trying to get in touch with people, writing a 100 emails, editing resumes – all this is struggle or not. I don’t know. I don’t know this process.

bollywood
It Truly Captivates You? Doesn’t It?

So Am I Falling Behind?

I’ve seen different things here. I’ve seen a 35-year-old struggling for the same thing as I am. I’ve seen a 20-year-old succeeding more than a 28-year-old. I know of people under 25, earning a lot more than those above 35. So are we all falling behind? Are we all not getting there right?

I’ve been trying hard to get my first project. It did come my way, the dream started to come true but I had to leave it two minutes before my first shot. I was depressed, I cried but I know nobody is to blame. Circumstances are not right. So am I falling behind now?

Networking. This is like porn for us. Its not just in Bollywood, but everybody wants to network, know people. Look at me. In the past 6 months, I’ve been following so many people whom I want to meet. Some friends, some acquaintances and some professional contacts. But neh. Here I am, trying desperately to reach them, to get 5 minutes of their time but getting none. And funnily, I don’t seek work or chances from them. Some I just want to sit and talk with. But again, nobody is to blame maybe. Circumstances.

bollywood
Aahh… Mumbai Meri Jaan

Am I Not Doing Something Right?

I am not earning a single penny, trying to work in the most brutal industry there ever was aka Bollywood and living totally out of my parents money in this most expensive Indian city apparently. It is discouraging. It is worrying.

I’ve loved the drama that I’ve been part of in this extremely short period. I’ve asked ‘why me’, cursed myself and cried myself to sleep. I’ve been misunderstood, misquote and disliked. So have I lost it already?

No. I don’t think so. I don’t think this is struggle. I’ve been lucky to know people here whose struggle stories I’ve heard, which are really inspiring. No, it was barely the drama and a lot more is yet to come. No. I don’t think I am not getting it right because whatever little I’ve done being 21, I am happy. No, I haven’t lost it already. None of us have.

We are not falling behind, it’s not just the right time. I am not falling behind. My merry go round will start again. Soon.


Iresh Gupta is a commerce graduate, who gave up on corporate opportunities and moved to Mumbai for varied opportunities in the film industry. With a vision to become a film director, he has served the Mumbai Film Festival as an Assistant Producer and has worked on brief projects for Red Chillies, Yash Raj Films and Viacom 18. He likes writing some closeted shayari, sitting on the sea front and watching films.


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