Long before he won over the hearts of the nation as Circuit in the super-hit Munnabhai MBBS, Arshad Warsi’s own life read like a film script. From being orphaned, to losing his family property, struggling to make ends meet, discovering a love for dance and finding his groove as an actor, his life is the perfect example which illustrates that second chances need to be grabbed with both hands. Here are five times the actor rose like a phoenix from the ashes that life served him.
A lonely childhood: Sent to boarding school at a very young age, Arshad would often write letters to himself that he would ask his friends to post so that he would not feel alone. While still in his teens, he lost both his parents, and despite coming from a well-to-do-family, his brother and he were left without anything. Arshad, who is married to Maria Goretti, now has a son and a daughter and consciously puts family first.
Overcoming hardships: Although his family owned two buildings, the tenants cheated Arshad and his brother, who were forced to move to a one-room apartment. He had to drop out of school after Class 10, when he started working as a cosmetics salesman and in a photo lab to make ends meet. His first brush with Bollywood was as assistant to Mahesh Bhatt on Kaashand Thikana. All his savings were spent on his mother’s treatment but she passed away two years after he lost his father.
Choreographing success: Although he is making an impact in Bollywood, acting was not his first passion. Arshad was part of Akbar Sami's dance troupe and won the fourth prize in the Modern Jazz category in the World Dance championship in London at the age of 21.
Bollywood calling: Arshad was already known on the choreography circuit when director Joy Augustine asked him to act in his new movie being produced by Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Limited (ABCL). Arshad refused, not wanting to jeopardise his dance career. But soon after, he got a call from Jaya Bachchan and he got the role in Tere Mere Sapne without even a screen test. Jaya used to call him the Al Pacino of Bollywood, which is why Arshad plans to do a film like Scarface and dedicate it to her for motivating and supporting him.
Second to none: Some of Arshad’s greatest hits are in films where he was not the first choice for the role. Shah Rukh Khan was first approached to play the lead in Jolly LLB, but he was busy with Chennai Express. The film went on to win two National Awards. Even his most famous role – “Circuit” in Munnabhai MBBS –was first offered to Makarand Deshpande who turned the role down due to other commitments. Arshad may have been the second choice, but his first-class performance proved that it was the right choice.
Come find what keeps Arshad motivated as he talks about his journey from being a salesperson to becoming a superstar at the Signature Start-Up Masterclass series in Bangalore on Wednesday, November 29, 2017. Watch a LIVE performance by rock band Indus Creed.
The Signature Start-Up Masterclass series celebrates those who found their passion and dared to pursue it. It is a unique opportunity for people to hear their icons share the story of how they managed to successfully convert their passion into paychecks.
Held across 14 cities with an impressive line-up of speakers and hosted by actor Neil Bhoopalam, the series follows role models who became successful doing what they love. The Masterclass sessions are followed by a musical/stand-up comedy performance by the celebrities themselves or a local artiste.