Boman Irani: “I lost my dad before I was born. He owned a wafer shop, and after him my mother took over. My sisters had to go to school, so my mother had to leave me at the fire temple with the wife of the priest, while she ran shop.
Years passed by as I watched her fight a tough situation, alone. Soon I started school, but I had speech and learning disabilities, and I was on low confidence. I remember, I had started singing to better my speech. And once my mom came to watch me perform. At the end of it, she recorded the applause I got. It was so loud! I kept hearing it — I got my confidence back!
Boman Irani: I studied science after school, but I’d still take part in theatre and other arts. When I got done with college, I knew I had to start contributing to the family, but I didn’t know how. So I met the manager of a Taj hotel and told him that I wanted to work at the rooftop restaurant. He said, ‘To reach the top, you have to start from the bottom.’ So he sent me to work in room service. Only after a year and a half did I finally become a waiter at that restaurant!
Soon after, my mom met with an accident, so I left my job and sat at the shop. And before I knew it I had spent 14 years there — during that time I met my wife, got married and even had kids. But throughout, something was amiss. So my wife encouraged me to set out and explore.
Boman Irani: I loved photography and my father was a photographer too. So I tried that out — at first I didn’t get any work, but I persisted, and finally started doing well. At the time, a friend asked me to audition for an ad. I gave it a try and got selected! They gave me a fat paycheck too! So I decided to pursue it, and within a few years I had done over 180 ads, and even some popular plays. I was also approached for a short film. It had a small budget and was going to be shot on a handycam, but for me it was a golden opportunity!
My life truly took a 360 degree turn when, while the film was being edited in a studio, Vidhu Vinod Chopra saw a clip of it. He got in touch with me, and asked to meet. When we met, he handed me a check of 2 lakhs and said, ‘This amount is for you to be in my next film’. I asked him about the film, but he said he didn’t know. He just didn’t want me to become famous and not give him dates!
That’s when Munnabhai MBBS happened and at 35, my dream career began. It was something I never expected – but I grabbed at the opportunity that came my way and didn’t let go. It’s been an amazing journey, one that did put me through some turbulence. But through all the good, the bad and the ugly, I learned to keep my hopes up and more than anything, know that it’s never too late to start over!”
Source: Humans of Bombay