They say the film industry is a literal battleground where serious dreams are smashed, while there are others who see the glitter to their star.

Every ‘nobody’ comes in the industry in the quest to become a ‘somebody’. Several enter the film industry in search of luck but are mislaid in the battle, somewhere. Amidst all the incessant chaos of survival and crave for recognition and popularity, having no Godfather could be a deal breaker. There’s finally a time in the industry where it is addressing nepotism at big rods, but there are still a few faces that hammered all the odds and still rule the silver screen like they earned it for good. These enchanting stories of how these actors grabbed luck are a fairy tale in nature and almost unbelievable. They’re all true though. All of that may be attributed to luck or hard work, but yes it’s not that easy. Not easy at all.

Here’s our list of people who made it big in the Bollywood industry without a filmy background. In alphabetical order, they are:

Akshay Kumar: Who knew that the man who began his career as a chef would go on to become one of the most successful actors in the history of Indian cinema. He started his acting career with action films like the Khiladi series, ‘Mohra’, ‘Main Khiladi Tu Anari’, ‘Sapoot’ and ‘Angaaray’. Akshay’s father was a military officer and on the suggestion of a photographer, Kumar ventured into a modelling assignment. The versatile actor has appeared in over a hundred Hindi films and has won several honors including the National Film Award for Best Actor and two Filmfare Awards.

Amitabh Bachchan: The angry young man that has ruled the screens for so long, is the son of the renowned poet, Harivansh Rai Bachchan. However, with the influences of literature, it wasn’t really easy for Mr Bachchan to go against his father’s wishes and venture into the field of drama and films. Ironically, Amitabh who is famous for his baritone, got rejected from All India Radio because of his voice. The global icon first gained popularity in the early 70s for films ‘Zanjeer’, ‘Deewaar’, and ‘Sholay’. The Shahenshah of Bollywood is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential actors in the history of Indian cinema as well as World cinema. French director François Truffaut called him a “one-man industry.” Bachchan has won many awards at International film festivals and award ceremonies. He has won a total of four National Film Awards as Best Actor and fifteen Filmfare Awards.


Kangana Ranaut: Kangana Ranaut is the total badass we all love. She’s on the list of India’s finest actors currently, and it’s hard to believe that Kangana climbed the ladder of success all alone, considering she’s already a recipient of three National Film Awards and pretty much gets nominated for one every year. She’s one of the highest-paid actresses in India. Kangana was determined to create her distinct career path and she relocated to Delhi at the age of sixteen, where she became a model. Kangana hit her debut performance through ‘Gangster’, for which she was awarded the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut. Kangana got her big break doing intense characters in the dramas ‘Woh Lamhe’, ‘Life in a… Metro’ and ‘Fashion’.


Irrfan Khan: Sahabzade Irfan Ali Khan, comes with a bundle of talent and sheer expertise. He along with Nawazuddin Siddique, Rajkummar Rao and Nana Patekar have all redefined the requirements of and demands that an actor possesses. He is primarily known for his works in the Indian Film Industry but his recognition is also spread across in British films and Hollywood. Irrfan completed his MA after which he earned a scholarship to study at National School of Drama (NSD). With his extraordinary techniques at acting, film critics and other experts consider him to be one of the finest actors in Indian cinema for his ingenious and straightforward acting capabilities.


Nawazuddin Siddiqui: Nawazuddin is a classic example of hard work and the fine actor’s struggles doing odd jobs paid off when the industry finally noticed that he was unique from the crowded lot, but a gem of his own. Siddiqui’s unique sensibility in the roles that he did got him his recognition and his performances were unavoidable in films like ‘Kahani’, ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’, ‘Manjhi- The Mountain Man’, ‘Raman Raghav 2.0’. After graduating from Gurukul Kangri Vishwavidyalaya, Haridwar, in BSc Chemistry and few more years of struggle, Siddiqui enrolled himself in National School of Drama. He got his break in ‘Black Friday’ by Anurag Kashyap for which he won the Grand Jury Prize at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles and was a nominee for the Best Film (Golden Leopard) award at the Locarno International Film Festival.


Priyanka Chopra: The beauty-with-brains is the former Miss World and is currently popular all across the globe after Time magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world. She’s one of India’s highest-paid and most popular celebrities and has received numerous awards, including a National Film Award and five Filmfare Awards. She was also honoured with the Padma Shri, Forbes listed her among the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women. Chopra initially aspired to study aeronautical engineering or criminal psychology, but after being given film offers which came as a result of her pageant wins, accepted them. The super successful actress, singer and supermodel is the only Indian actress to be featured as a lead in a Hollywood show.


Rajkummar Rao: If there’s somebody in the industry who everybody is going gaga over, then that’s Rajkummar Rao. This National award-winning actor had no big banner to launch and promote him but Rao proved before his audiences that none of that was required anyway. His fine acting abilities can be seen with his performances in ‘Shahid’, ‘Kai Po Che’ and ‘Trapped’. Rao graduated from the University of Delhi and later studied acting at FTII, Pune. He is often regarded as one of the most talented actors of his generation and his recent releases ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’ was a box office hit, and he received acclaim for the black comedy ‘Newton’, which was an official selection to Academy Awards but wasn’t nominated.


Shah Rukh Khan: If we’re making a list of this sort, it is incomplete without SRK, the “Badshah of Bollywood”. After a nasty sports injury that killed his career in sports, SRK took up acting. He started acting in television series in the late 80s after which he made a Bollywood debut with ‘Deewana’. He was spotted eating Biryani by producer Vivek Vaswani who signed him for many films. Shah Rukh has a total of 14 Filmfare Awards to his credit. He has been included in the list of the most successful film stars in the world, in terms of popularity and income. The Government of France has awarded him both the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and its highest civilian honour, the Légion d’honneur.

Sushant Singh Rajput: Sushant started his career with television serials, including an award-winning performance in Zee Tv’s soap opera, ‘Pavitra Rishta’. He made his entry into films through critically acclaimed ‘Kai Po Che!’ which also featured Rajkummar Rao and Amit Sadh. Through the same movie, he won three Best Male Debut awards. He had secured admission in the Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical engineering) degree in the Delhi College of Engineering (DCE) and was also a National Olympiad Winner in Physics and secured the seventh rank in AIEEE. He dropped out after three years to pursue an acting career. His performance in sports drama, ‘M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story’, which portrayed the story of Indian cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni, was a commercial success and he was lauded.


Vidya Balan: Vidya Balan is from the lot that took the industry by storm and created a trend and demand for female-centric roles. She is a recipient of several awards including a National Film Award, five Filmfare Awards, and six Screen Awards. She was also awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India. Vidya dreamt of having a career in films from a young age and had her first acting role in the popular television ‘Hum Paanch’. After her graduation in sociology from the Mumbai University, she made several unsuccessful attempts to start a career in films. Rest is history, and she made her debut performance in the Bengali drama ‘Bhalo Theko’. She garnered praise for ‘Parineeta’ and it was through ‘Lage Raho Munna Bhai’ that bequeathed a mark in her career span.

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