Acting with Pankaj Tripathi today; Sometimes used to deliver tea and samosas in the play. Bollywood Actor Arjun Bonthiyal Sushil Bonthiyal Real Life Struggle Story; From Spot Boy To OTT Platform

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  • Bollywood Actor Arjun Bonthiyal Sushil Bonthiyal Real Life Struggle Story; From Spot Boy To OTT Platform

2 hours agoAuthor: Neeraj Jha

In director producer Ekta Kapoor’s TV serial, only handsome boys used to get the role of peon, ward boy, sweeper. I had completely gone. The one who looked like a hero, when he got the role of a ward boy, would have thought about what kind of role I would get.

Even after giving more than 3 thousand auditions, neither got work in any film nor serial. I had covered the sack bed. He had closed his acting shop, but the family members had told everyone that my son has gone to Mumbai to become a hero. So could not return.

It was completely broken inside. It seemed that now the dream of becoming an actor is over. I started doubting myself whether I am really able to act or not? This went on for many years.

In 2011, got a job in the serial ‘Phulwa’ based on Phoolan Devi. I got the role of father after 5 thousand people auditioned. Character of a father after 6 years of struggle… Now you can understand the pain.

Actor Arjun Bonthiyal (Sushil Bonthiyal) is in Bhopal for the shooting of Urmila Matondkar’s ‘Tiwari’ web series. He tells his story and goes back to the days of struggle.

Arjun Bonthiyal played the role of Phoolan Devi's father in the serial 'Phulwa'.  Actress Jannat Zubair played the role of Phoolan Devi.

Arjun Bonthiyal played the role of Phoolan Devi’s father in the serial ‘Phulwa’. Actress Jannat Zubair played the role of Phoolan Devi.

Arjun says, was born in a lower middle class family. We are residents of Uttarakhand. Papa used to work in Lucknow, so he shifted here. He was first a peon, then promoted to become a clerk.

I was an average student in school. I was selected for prayer in class 5th. After that he started participating in cultural programs like drama. He used to do drama and qawwali. I remember playing the role of a girl on Annual Day. After that it was fun to play.

I was forced to take science in 12th. I had become an actor by heart, but the family involved in maths, physics, chemistry.

So you didn’t tell anyone about the play?

Arjun says that he used to tell his mother about going to the play, because he was afraid of his father. Started performing in the stage Kriti Theater in Lucknow. Initially, there was no chance for any stage performance for two years. He used to do tea-watering, door-laying work.

After a year and a half, Narada got a small role in the play. Which was very much liked by the people there. Here he was also doing graduation from Lucknow University to show his family members. This thing is from 1997.

At that time there was no money to play. Received tea and samosas, got printed a little in the newspaper, that’s all, but Lucknow Doordarshan used to get the money for the play. Here I got one thousand rupees. When he gave it to his father, he was shocked and said, do you get money for drama and gimmicks?

Then how was the selection in NSD (National School of Drama)?

Arjun says, at that time there were very few students who were selected in the first attempt. Luckily mine did. If not, I might never have become an actor. Papa says – Enough drama and gimmicks, now do a job.

At that time the show ‘Mungerilal Ke Haseen Sapne’ used to come. Raghuveer Yadav was an actor, whose height was less. Didn’t even look that good. I used to tell all these examples to my mother. Used to ask him that when he can become an actor, why can’t I.

The selection was done in NSD, but Papa did not have money to fill the bond of one lakh. This money has to be given to the government that if a student leaves the course in the middle, then he has to pay the full fee.

When the chairman of Papa’s office came to know about this, he explained to Papa. Then the father felt that yes… the son has done something good. That chairman’s daughter was not selected in NSD.

Any story of NSD?

When asked, Arjun mentions a play. It is said that we did a play in the third year. Gulzar sahib had to write its lyrics. He was getting late for his arrival.

Mohan Agashe was the director of this play. He asked all the students of the group to write songs. I also wrote a song with impatience.

After passing out of NSD, he continued to do theater in Delhi till 2002-05. At that time, there was not much money in the play. Now money was also needed. Meanwhile, auditions were going on in Delhi for Farhan Akhtar’s film Lakshya. Didn’t get work, but got in touch with some people and I moved to Mumbai.

Actor Arjun remembers the struggle of those days. It is said that for those coming from poor households in Mumbai, the struggle is not only of acting, but also of roti-kappa-makaan. The one who does not even have money to pay rent, from where will he get spa and massage. There is a beauty game here too. To go to Mumbai one must have talent.

The money was not enough to eat 4 meals a day. He eats lentils, rice and pickles only once a day. If you want to eat bread someday, then buy it and bring it. A roti was available for two rupees. Four boys lived in one room. Everyone had come to Mumbai with the desire to become an actor.

Nobody used to tell anyone to audition. Everyone was ready secretly. When asked, everyone used to make excuses for each other, but it also happened that all four used to meet in one audition. Some get work, some don’t…

After 15 years of experience, I can say that to become an actor, it is necessary to have look and luck before talent.

When I could not get any work for 4 years, I started doing drama and script writing. I used to think that I came to Mumbai after fighting with my family members to become an actor and what am I doing.

This is also the biggest problem of middle class family that we do not do anything for ourselves. Every child does it for the parents and the society created by them. tries to live up to it.

In foreign countries, if a child wants to become a photographer, then the family members do not mind, but before sending us somewhere, the family members say, ‘Listen, do something in a manner. Everyone has hope from you.

Arjun says- It is also interesting that when someone comes to Mumbai, people think that he has gone to become a hero, not an actor.  If there is a girl, she will become a heroine.

Arjun says- It is also interesting that when someone comes to Mumbai, people think that he has gone to become a hero, not an actor. If there is a girl, she will become a heroine.

The people of my village used to taunt my father and say, ‘His boy has also gone to become a hero, but he has not appeared in any film yet.’

Papa used to call and say, ‘The villagers, relatives keep asking if your son is seen on TV or not.’ I used to say, yes… I have auditioned. Papa used to say, ‘Hey! It’s been so many years. When will you see?

Now tell me, how much pressure will a person bear? Mental struggle breaks us more than physical struggle. If you win it, then you can do anything.

Was called from Swastik Production House to audition for Phulwa’s father. I told him – everyone says that I do good acting, but I do not give any role. The audition is cleared in the first round, second round. In the third round, someone else gets a chance. I will not come

It is said that big actors like Anu Kapoor, Vijay Raj, Raghuveer Yadav were also approached for this role. There were 5000 auditions. I said, what will happen to me when 5 thousand people are not there?

Well… I got work in this, but I was not happy about the role of father. However, after playing the role of Phoolan’s father, people started knowing. If he went out on the road, he would have surrounded him. Saw stardom for the first time in his life.

When did you get a break in films?

Arjun says, not as an actor, people start recognizing according to the role. When I started refusing to play the father’s role, I stopped getting work. Didn’t get any work for 2 years. The situation in the house started deteriorating, so again he had to play the role of father in two or three big serials.

Arjun narrates an interesting anecdote of the opportunity he got in the film. It is said that during this time Shahrukh Khan’s film ‘Billu’ came. I was shot for 15 days with actors like Irrfan Khan, Rajpal Yadav, Ompuri. Did 4 scenes, but when the film was released, I was not there.

Then it came to know that the amount of shooting that happens in serials is shown, but it does not happen in films. No matter how many scenes an actor does in a film, till the time the film is not released, there is no trust.

After that I got the role of Sharma ji in Gulab Gang. Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla made a comeback in the industry through this film. I did five scenes. This happened for the first time that all the scenes were shown. Then people started knowing from there. Got a chance to work with Salman Khan in ‘Bharat’.

This is a scene from the set of the web series 'Kaagaz'.  It stars director Satish Kaushik, Arjun and actor Pankaj Tripathi.

This is a scene from the set of the web series ‘Kaagaz’. It stars director Satish Kaushik, Arjun and actor Pankaj Tripathi.

The industry has another problem, says Arjun. Film directors do not trust TV actors, but now they are getting work. Worked in Akshay Kumar’s film ‘Selfie’, which is about to release. I have worked with actor Pankaj Tripathi in Kagaz and Kagaz-2 web series. People are slowly accepting me now. The tag of being a TV actor has been removed.

I have also worked in web series like ‘The Chargesheet’, ‘Chacha Vidhayak Hai Hamare’, ‘Crash Course’. Right now ‘AK 47’ web series based on the background of Bihar is about to be released. Currently, the shooting of Urmila Matondkar’s web series ‘Tiwari’ is going on.

Arjun considers working with Pankaj Tripathi as his turning point. It is said that working in films has two meanings. One should get a character of the kind and the value of the scene I am doing.

With the advent of OTT (Over the Top), Arjun says about the opportunities that even small actors are getting, no one has had a stardom break in the industry. New stardom is being born. Earlier, only one type of films were served in front of the audience. The formula for making a film was fixed, but now people have started watching their life stories, things around them on screen.

Actor Arjun also talks about a major flaw in Bollywood, which was also pointed out by actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui a few months back. They say, in Hindi films, actors have a lot of difficulties in acting with scripts written in Roman.

If you want to say ‘Where are you going’ then it is written, ‘TUM KAHAN JAA RHE HO’… Man! When you are making a film in Hindi, then write in Hindi, don’t you? People in the industry who have nothing to do with Hindi. He is making Hindi films. Even on the shooting sets, the entire conversation takes place in English, but this is not the case in regional cinema. If there is a Tamil film, then they speak and write in Tamil only.

Now you can read some more stories of Khuddar Kahani…

1. Married at 15, Divorced at 21: Locked the kids at home and went on a shooting; I do stunts actresses can’t do today

Mother died at the age of 9. Married at the age of 15. 2 kids at age 19. Divorce at age 21. The struggle started as soon as he was born. I made 500 rotis a day, worked in a spa center for money. Danced at weddings. (read full story)

2. Father’s death before going to Cambridge: Mother would make papads, I would sell them in the streets of Patna; Started ‘Ramanujan Coaching’ with 2 children of the slum

It was the year 1993-94. There was an offer for admission in Cambridge University. I was getting ready to leave. The mother was happy that the son would go to Cambridge, but we did not even have money for a plane ticket. (read full story)

3. The initial phase was like Angulimal: Awadh Ojha had to do the job of a bartender to run coaching, today more than 1,000 students are being cracked by UPSC

Was preparing for UPSC in Allahabad (now Prayagraj). When he could not crack even in the last attempt, he went home. Mother said, your game is over. Now you will be alive with the help of me for the rest of your life. (read full story)

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