Actor Jackie Shroff, who ruled the silver screen in the ’90s, says he realised he had become famous when megastar Amitabh Bachchan’s children came up to him for an autograph. The 63-year-old actor said he was shooting in Chennai and Bachchans had booked an entire top floor of a five-star hotel he was also staying in.
“I asked the waiter what time does he (Bachchan) come, because I really wanted to meet him. But I find his kids coming to take my autograph. I said, ‘Wow, here I am waiting to see Bachchan sir and his kids want my autograph!’ I realised then that I had become famous,” Shroff said.
Coming from a chawl in South Mumbai, the actor said he never thought he would become an actor but his father, an astrologer, always believed that he was destined for better things in life.
“My father said that I will be an actor but I scoffed at him. I wondered, ‘How can a boy from Teen Batti (Mumbai) become an actor?’ I went to a hotel to become a chef and then tried becoming a flight attendant but no one took me.
“I then worked in a travel agency and got into advertising and modelling after someone spotted me. So I started doing ads. I did ‘Charminar’ ad, because of which I got two films. Dev Anand saab gave me my first film and then I got Hero.
The actor said thanks to his background, he did not fear failure because he “never had anything to lose”. “I used to live in Teen Batti. We used to have a queue for the washroom, what did we have? A cot, that too for ‘aai-baba’. We slept on the floor. So what came to me, has been more than enough.”
Shroff will next be seen in Phamous, directed by Karan Lalit Butani. The film, also starring Jimmy Sheirgill, Kay Kay Menon and Pankaj Tripathi, is set in Chambal with a power struggle between four principal characters forming the crux of the story. The film releases on June 1.
“I was bowled over by my character and the way Karan (director) saw me in the film. I can work with both the old, revered filmmakers and new directors. It is amazing how they see me in their world and then I adapt accordingly,” Shroff said.